Landscape with Rudolph and Santa Claus butte, Valley of the Gods, Mexican Hat UT, May 16, 2018

Valley of the Gods

Mexican Hat UT

May 16, 2018

Valley of the Gods

The Valley of the Gods is a scenic sandstone valley near Mexican Hat in San Juan County, Southeastern Utah, United States. Formerly part of Bears Ears National Monument, it is located north of Monument Valley across the San Juan River and has similar rock formations to Monument Valley with tall, reddish brown mesas, buttes, towers and mushroom rocks —remnants of an ancient landscape—standing above the level valley floor. On December 4, 2017, President Donald Trump issued a proclamation that reduced the area of Bears Ears National Monument (proclaimed by President Barack Obama in December 2016), with new monument boundaries that exclude the Valley of the Gods. The area remains protected public land administered as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern and managed by the Bureau of Land Management, as it was before the monument designation.

The Valley of the Gods area may be toured via a 17-mile (27 km) gravel road (FR 242) that winds around the formations. The road is rather steep and bumpy in parts but is passable by non-four-wheel drive vehicles in dry weather. The western end joins UT 261 shortly before its 1,200-foot (370 m) ascent up Cedar Mesa at Moki Dugway, while the eastern end starts 9 miles (14 km) from the town of Mexican Hat along US 163 and heads north, initially crossing flat, open land and following the course of Lime Creek, a seasonal wash, before turning west towards the buttes and pinnacles. In addition to the gravel road, the area is also crisscrossed by off-road dirt trails.

The valley is public land managed by the Bureau of Land Management. There are no entrance fees and no services of any kind in the valley. Dispersed camping is permitted at previously disturbed sites, though campfires are not allowed.

Wikipedia

Rudolph and Santa Claus Butte

The butte to the left is called Rudolph and Santa Claus and looks very much like them from the other side. From here I see a native couple with neat hats. Pareidolia is such fun.