What are the Four Corner States: Visiting the Monument

In New Mexico, Outdoors, Transportation & Border Crossings, United States by ErikLeave a Comment

The Four Corners Monument is the only place in the USA where you can stand in four states at the same time. Find out what are the Four Corners states and why its worth a visit. 

What are the Four Corner States?

In case you weren’t sure, the Four Corner states are:

  • Colorado
  • New Mexico
  • Arizona
  • Utah
Four Corner States
Welcome to the Four Corners Monument!

Visiting Four Corners Monument

The 4 Corners Monument has become a remote highway attraction with a steady flow of visitors. The entrance fee is $5 per person. Find out below if this is a tourist trap, or worth the detour.

Four Corners USA
Can you hike at 4 Corners? We’re not sure but it looks like it…

If you need to rent a car, click here for great rates.

Inside the Four Corners Monument, there are stalls selling Navajo merchandise, food trucks, and portable toilets until the permanent bathroom is finished. Future improvement will hopefully include a better parking lot as it was filled with mud upon our visit.

Surrounding the 4 Corners is a central plaza with the respective state flags of New Mexico, Utah, Colorado and Arizona flying high.

Check out the perimeter plagues describing the history of how each state was formed. We summarized it below along with the multiple placement controversies over the years.

When you are done brushing up on your history, wait in line to get a photo standing – or contorting your body – in all the Four Corners states at the same time.

The best time to visit is noon so you have less shadows from the surrounding handicap ramp rails, flags, and fellow visitors. The Four Corners Monument hours are 8 am to 4:45 pm daily.

Four Corner States
Have fun taking photos at the Four Corners!

Four Corners History

Although the 4 territories joined the USA between 1876 and 1912, the boundaries that would later form the Four Corners started in 1850.

The 37th parallel north was set as the border between the Utah Territory and New Mexico Territory by the Compromise of 1850. The other key boundary was created in 1861, when part of the Utah Territory was taken to form a new Colorado Territory.

The southern border remained the 37th parallel north, while the new border between the Utah and Colorado Territories became the 32nd meridian west from Washington.

In 1863, the 32nd meridian west from Washington was used to divide the New Mexico and Arizona Territories, thus creating the Four Corners, USA.

Four Corners Controversy

The surveys marking the future states’ boundaries were conducted between 1868 to 1901 by the General Land Office. However, there were numerous inaccuracies from the 37th parallel north and 32nd meridian from Washington. The technology they used at the time was not as accurate as our methods today.

This has led to arguments over the location of the Four Corners Monument and state boundaries. In 1925, the Supreme Court ruled that the initial survey markers are the official borders despite not following the intended parallel and meridian lines.

What is Four Corners
Plaque at Four Corners USA

The next controversy occurred when the media stated the Four Corners Monument was 2.5 miles west of the 32nd meridian west. Although they are correct that it is off from the true meridian, they forgot that the Washington meridian was used until 1912 which explains the 2.5 mile difference.

Ironically, the Four Corners marker is actually east of the intended intersection. However, the current survey marker at the Monument is the legal marker for all four states.

The Birth of the 4 Corners Monument

If you’re wondering ‘where is four corners?’, the technical answer is that it’s on Navajo land.

It started to become a tourist attraction in 1962 when the Bureau of Indian Affairs poured a concrete pad with the state names and boundary lines around the brass survey marker.

The latest reconstruction was completed in 2010 with upgrades to the bathrooms finishing soon. Although people may assume this is a National Monument, it is owned and run by the Navajo.

4 Corner States
Despite the sign, you can’t actually park here – but those are the porta johns at the back of the Monument

Is It Worth it?

Sheena and I learned about the Four Corners Monument in our guide book while we were researching our New Mexico road trip.

Although Sheena was on the fence, she was glad I convinced her to visit since it is a unique attraction. A lot of reviews on TripAdvisor say not to go since it is out of the way and not worth the $5.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but I feel the experience was worth the time and money if you’re in this part of the country. We had old fashioned fun taking pictures in all Four Corners states at the same time. It was like playing the real life version of Twister.

An excellent way to cap off the day is to drive into New Mexico and see the sun setting behind Shiprock.

Although New Mexico and the US are relatively safe places to travel in, medical costs are high so we always recommend purchasing travel insurance before any trip. Keep in mind that you’re pretty much out on your own at places like the Bisti Badlands too

For more details, check out our World Nomads review here.

Get a quote for travel insurance now

4 Corners Monument
Hanging out in all 4 states!

Hotels near Four Corners Monument

New Mexico

The closest hotels to the Four Corners Monument in New Mexico are in Farmington, which is 60 miles or a 70 minute drive away.

There are around 37 properties there, ranging in price from $35-115.

We stayed at Motel 6 for $38 ($45.28 w/ tax), and booked it on Expedia just before checking-in. The room was clean and the bathroom was huge, but there were some shady characters in the parking lot. It probably didn’t help that it’s located next to the main highway.

Best Western and The Comfort Inn look like much nicer options if you have a larger budget.

Airbnb lists around 18 rentals from $20-130.

There are no hostels in Farmington though you could try staying with a local on Couchsurfing.

Farmington hotels
We stayed at Motel 6 in Farmington.

Colorado

The nearest hotels in Colorado are in Cortez, which is 39 miles or a 45 minute drive from the Four Corners.

There are around 18 hotels/motel ranging in price from $39 at Travelodge by Wyndham and $125 at Kelly Place Bed & Breakfast.

Airbnb lists around 5 homes from $40-93 but there are many other properties in the surrounding area.

There are no hostels in Cortez but there seems to be a few active hosts on Couchsurfing.

Utah

The closest Four Corners hotels in Utah are in Bluff, which is 48 miles or a 55 minute drive away.

They are: Mokee Motel ($45), Canyon Wren Bed & Breakfast ($93) Desert Rose Resort & Cabins ($129), and Bluff Garden ($129).

Airbnb lists around 5 rentals from $89-289.

There are no hostels or Couchsurfing hosts in Bluff.

Coonawarra Airbnb
There are lots of Airbnb rentals near the Four Corners.

Arizona

The nearest properties in Arizona are in Kayenta which is 80 miles or a 70 minutes drive from the Four Corners Monument.

They are: Wetherill Inn ($78) Kayenta Monument Valley Inn ($106) and Hampton Inn Kayenta ($110).

Airbnb lists 2 homes for $60-70.

There are no hostels but suprisingly there are a few Couchsurfing hosts in Kayenta.

Check hotel prices now

Where to Next?

While in northwestern New Mexico, check out our related posts for an adventurous weekend:

Four Corners Monument
Standing in line for a photo

Find more inspiration in one of the New Mexico guide books below!

Know Before You Go

  • Hours: 8 am to 4:45 pm
  • Fees: $5 per person
  • Duration: 30 minutes
  • Nearest Large City: Shiprock, NM at 40 minutes; Cortez, CO at 45 minutes by car
  • Best Time to Visit: Noon
Four Corners Monument

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links which means that we receive a small commission if you click on a link & purchase something that we’ve recommended, at no extra cost to you.

Visited in October 2018
Updated August 2019

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