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Monument Valley Hitchhike

Morgan Oliver-Allen


Behind the Shot

Monument Valley, located near the Arizona-Utah state line within the Navajo Nation, contains some of the most iconic landscapes in the United States. Instantly recognizable, the towering buttes have become a visual shorthand for “American Southwest,” appearing in thousands of films, television shows, commercials and music videos. From John Ford’s 1939 Stagecoach with John Wayne to 1990’s Back to the Future III, the million-year-old sandstone formations are among the most-photographed symbols of the West.

In 1994’s Academy Award-winning film Forrest Gump, the title character ends his famous run just north of Monument Valley. Specifically, mile marker 13 on Highway 163, just outside of the tiny town of Mexican Hat, Utah, is where Forrest ended his iconic run, with Monument Valley’s distinct formations showing in the background.

Morgan and his girlfriend visited this area on the way back from visiting his family in Colorado. “I always wanted to ride my bike on this stretch of Highway 163 through Monument Valley. We were goofing around at the spot, and wanted to play with the nostalgic hitchhiking trope. We got a lot of honks, but no one offered us a ride.”