With an official address in Teec Nos Pos, Arizona, the whole draw of the Four Corners National Monument is, of course, that it’s technically located in 4 states – Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah. Furthermore, even though the official address is in Arizona, the entrance is actually located in New Mexico. It’s tucked back in the most northwest corner of the state, with the state lines for Arizona, Utah, and Colorado a stone’s throw away in opposite directions.
Important note: Make sure to pay attention to your GPS as you approach, because the entrance can be easy to miss. This was something I was warned about prior to going, so we were aware. We saw a car zoom past, only to slam on its brakes, clearly missing the entrance. They had to pull over and turn around. It’s something to know before you go (so you don’t end up on a stranger’s travel blog as a cautionary tale 🙃).
The monument is controlled by the Navajo tribe, as it technically sits on Navajo Land. They set the times, rules, and procedures, including letting in only one car as another car exits. When we left, there was a line of about 7 to 8 cars waiting for another 7 to 8 cars to leave. They were clearly doing it to limit the amount of traffic and people at the monument. Parking is basically first come, first serve, in a dirt lot without parking spaces.
I’d assume they also use this tactic to help mitigate the long line of people waiting to take that classic “stand in four states at one time” photo. That is basically the only thing to do at the Four Corners National Monument. 100% of people who visit this monument come to do so (myself and my brother included!). As expected, there’s a constant semi-long line. On top of that, you are in the middle of the desert, which everyone knows can get very hot during summer months. Very few people want to stand in a line under the searing sun for 30+ minutes (some of the line is shaded, but not all of it). Luckily, due to how they limit the traffic, we stood in line for only roughly 15 minutes.
There’s a sign that claims you can only take 3 pictures, buuut, with today’s phone camera capabilities, snapping many more than that is obviously possible. I would call it more of a “limit to 3 poses” rule. They have this rule to keep the line moving, and it’s much appreciated.
There is one other thing to do at the monument aside from waiting in line and standing in four states at once. Lining all four sides of the monument are booths with Native American crafts for sale. They offer things like handmade magnets, necklaces, bracelets, rings, keychains, dream catchers, pendants, ornaments, picture frames, and other handmade crafts. Most of the booths were selling the same things in different colors or styles.
As for the bathrooms, the actual bathrooms were closed to the public (I am unsure why), leaving only porta-potty style bathrooms available. So, if you have an aversion to those (I don’t blame you), be sure to go elsewhere before you arrive at the monument.
Last note: masks are still, allegedly, mandatory on all Navajo land. However, we saw maybe 1% of the people wearing one, including those selling crafts. One of the women we spoke to said they basically only put them on when the ranger walks up.
Overall, the Fours Corners National Monument is worth the stop, especially if you’re in the area or passing through. Luckily, it’s strategically located (thanks to the land surveyors of the mid-1800’s) and can easily fit into many road trip agendas. It’s within mere hours of numerous National Parks, including Mesa Verde National Park., Zion National Park., The Petrified Forest National Park and Painted Desert., Grand Canyon National Park (it’s really grand)., Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, plus countless other Southwest treasures like Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park., Shiprock, Gila National Forest and Glenwood, New Mexico: Catwalk Recreation Area., and Canyons of the Ancient National Monument. Frankly, it’s such a brief pitstop that it’d be silly to skip on any Southwest roadie. Plus, you’ll get to “stand in four states at the same time!”