There's something mesmerizing about the Southwest, and it all starts in the Four Corners. You'll find this rugged-yet-resplendent destination at the intersection where New Mexico, Utah, Arizona, and Colorado meet. Here's a quick guide to visiting the Four Corners Monument on your next Colorado vacation.
Four Corners Monument
The Four Corners Colorado region is a special place with a deep history and an endless array of things to do. The Four Corners Monument is the only place in the whole country where you can be in four different states simultaneously and it's an essential destination if you're doing a road trip through the American Southwest. You can only access the monument by car or bus, so planning ahead is quintessential.
Where Is The Monument?
Four Corners Monument is about 85 miles from Downtown Durango, Colorado. Getting there is as easy as cruising US 160 W. You'll pass through breathtaking landscapes adjacent to the Mesa Verde National Park and travel through the Ute Mountain Reservation. The small city of Cortez, Colorado, marks the midpoint between Durango and the Four Corners. Cortez is a great place to stop for lunch on your drive to Four Corners or an even better place to stay when exploring Mesa Verde.
What Is The Four Corners?
The Four Corners is the only place in the U.S. where four states intersect and this land is rich in Native American legacy. While the official Four Corners Monument has welcomed tourists for over a century, this significant boundary point has also been the dividing line between the Navajo Nation and the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe Reservation for even longer. It's a unique example of a political boundary and even played a role in preventing the spread of slavery during the Civil War.
Is Four Corners Monument in the Right Spot? The old tales are true: Four Corners is a little off-center. The first stone to mark the Four Corners intersection was laid after state boundaries were surveyed in 1863. However, 19th-century surveying technology wasn't precise enough to accurately chart this rugged landscape. Despite a 1925 Supreme Court ruling upholding the initial survey as the official border, Four Corners isn't where Congress intended it to be back then. Using GPS, we now know the intersection is really 1,807 feet to the west of the standing monument.
Four Corners History
Four Corners Monument is a perfect place to learn about and reflect on the lives of the native and indigenous peoples who have called this area home for hundreds of years. In addition to taking in the granite structures and bronzed plaques you'll see here (which make perfect photo ops), you can also dive into the region's rich Native American culture at the small visitor center. There is also a nearby demonstration center and market with handmade Navajo crafts, jewelry, and traditional foods.
Today the monument is managed by the Navajo Nation and it is the heart of their sovereign nation. This means visitors must follow Navajo laws and customs. Alcohol and firearms are not permitted on the land, and it is customary and required to ask for permission before photographing a member of the Navajo Nation. Most members of the Navajo Nation speak Navajo, but many speak English as well. Just be respectful and polite.
Preparing For Your Visit
Four Corners Monument is in a remote, rural location. This means you won't find many nearby creature comforts and services, including wireless cell service, can be limited. There are self-contained restrooms at the monument, but no electricity or water. Weather conditions can also be extreme here, so it's important to pay attention to the forecast, dress appropriately, and stay hydrated. The closest gas station is about 30 miles from the monument, so top off your tank before the drive.
Are you ready to savor the spirit of the American Southwest? Start planning your next Durango, Colorado, adventure today! Browse Durango attractions and make the most of your time in the Four Corners region.