Travel to the Four Corners Region in the American SouthWest – Episode 278

categories: USA Travel


The Amateur Traveler talks to Erik Smith again about his trip to the Four Corners area in the American southwest.

Four Corners is the spot where 4 U.S. states meet: Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado. While the Four Corners spot itself is just a photo op (an probably at the wrong place), the area around it contains some amazing scenery and historic sites.

Erik gives us a state by state break down of the area. He tells us about National Parks nearby like:

  • Arches Canyonlands
  • Hovenweep
  • Moab
  • Canyon de Chelly
  • Rainbow Bridge
  • Mesa Verde
  • Chaco Culture
  • Black Canyon of the Gunnison
  • Petrified Forest
  • Aztec Ruins

The area also boasts the spectacular and iconic scenery of Monument Valley and a stretch of road known as the “Million Dollar Highway”. It has many Native American sites including those like Canyon de Chelly run jointly by the Navajo nation and the U.S.

right click here to download (mp3)
right click here to download (iTunes version with pictures)

Show Notes

Four Corners
Four Corners Monument
Four Corners Monument –
Navajo Nation Parks – Four Corners
Arches National Park –
Canyonlands National Park –
Arches National Park
Canyonlands National Park
Hovenweep National Monument –
Hovenweep National Monument
Gooseneck State Park –
Gooseneck State Park
Moab, Utah
Petrified Forest National Park –
Canyon de Chelly –
Canyon de Chelly National Monument
Monument Valley Tribal Park
Rainbow Bridge National Monument –
Rainbow Bridge National Monument
Moab Hot Air Balloon Rides
Black Canyon of the Gunnison –
Million Dollar Highway
Silverton, Colorado
Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad
Mesa Verde National Park –
Mesa Verde National Park
New Mexico
Taos Pueblo
Acoma Pueblo
Chaco Culture National Historic Park –
Chaco Culture National Historic Park
Pueblo Bonito
Aztec Ruins National Monument
Amateur Traveler, Episode 121 – America’s National Parks
Amateur Traveler, Episode 183 – Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks
Amateur Traveler, Episode 236 – Michigan
Amateur Traveler, Episode 15 – Antelope Canyon


Monterrey widow’s lawsuit: Continental Airlines lost late husband’s body
Bermuda to limit cruise ship passengers on public buses
Airline passengers removed to make way for extra fuel


Rob wants to know if I will do a new episode on Display land


Traveling Soon? These useful links will help you prepare for your trip.
Share this:
Chris Christensen

by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast. He has been a travel creator since 2005 and has won awards including being named the "Best Independent Travel Journalist" by Travel+Leisure Magazine.

2 Responses to “Travel to the Four Corners Region in the American SouthWest – Episode 278”

Brad W


I’m a little behind in my AT episodes, I blame all the travel I’ve been so fortunate to be able to do this year. πŸ˜‰

Anyway, a quick comment about the latest Disneyland happenings. I agree that Disneyland hasn’t been massively overhauled, but there are plenty of tweaks to keep things interesting. Besides the few things you mentioned, there is also the Tom Sawyer Island Pirate’s Lair overlay, the very recent overhaul of Star Tours (aka Star Tours 2.0), plus some new entertainment (Soundsational parade, etc).

The big news is over at Disney California Adventure, where they’ve just opened a lot of new stuff (Toys Story Midway Mania, World of Color and Little Mermaid), and a huge new area dedicated to the Cars franchise is supposed to open in 2012. The hotel area is also getting a massive overhaul. 2012 would be a better time to go if you want everything open, but there’s still plenty of new stuff to see now.

There are lots of Disneyland podcasts where you can get more info. is pretty good for news, but it’s definitely a fan podcast where they often debate what could be done to make the parks better. Skip those sections if you just want quick news, but there’s a lot of gems they throw in those other sections. My favorite is, which isn’t as newsy, but they have a lot of background material and interviews with folks who built the various attractions.

Hope this helps.

Craig Ferris


The Four Corners monument is in the exact spot where Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah meet. A good article about the history of the original survey of the monument and subsequent confusion can be found here:

Canyonlands NP, Moab, and Arches NP are roughly 150 miles from the Four Corners monument. While stunning and worthy of extensive exploration, I wouldn’t consider those areas to be part of the “Four Corners” area. Petrified Forest NM, Black Canyon of the Gunnison NP, and Acoma Pueblo are even further — four hour drives. Chaco Culture and Aztec Ruins are more in the flavor of what I would consider the “Four Corners” area and easy to do if Durango is your base for exploring.

The discussion on Monument Valley and Valley of the Gods was minimal. It would be nice to have a more focused podcast on the Four Corners area starting from Durango. There was no discussion of Canyons of the Ancients NM. Nothing on Shiprock. Ideas for future focused travel podcasts on the old Southwest: Moab — and surrounding area, Flagstaff — and surrounding area, Kanab — and surrounding area.

The Mesa Verde description was good. You absolutely should book yours tour at the visitor center unless you want to get out to the Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum 40 miles (the other location where you can buy tickets) and find out all the tours are sold out. Get to the visitor center early. There are rangers and other volunteers there that are very helpful in planning out your day, including what tickets to buy and when. You can do advanced planning by booking back country tours. If you get to the park later in the day during the summer months, there are very few good self guided tours. The best stuff you will only be able to see from viewpoints a long way away.

Spruce Tree House is described in some detail. This is the best cliff dwelling at Mesa Verde NP but has been closed since 2015 due to rock falls and there is absolutely no plan in place to re-open it anytime soon. The closure of Spruce Tree hurts the Mesa Verde experience. Not only was it the best of the cliff dwellings open to the public, but its closure pushes visitors to other sites causing overcrowding. Also worth noting are the lodges in the Park. Book ahead. Rooms are affordable and you are in the middle of the Park which is key since the park is 40 miles long end to end along winding roads. Book for one night and spend two full days in the park and you can see everything at a slow pace. If in a hurry, with good planning and lots of driving, the highlights can be hit easily in half a day.

Leave a Reply

Tags: , , , , , ,