John Wayne’s Cabin At Goulding’s Lodge ~ Oljato-Monument Valley

John Wayne’s Cabin At Goulding’s Lodge ~ Oljato-Monument Valley

Monument Valley is one of the most picturesque places in the west.  This panoramic landscape of tall red rock pillars and mesa buttes that touch the sky is recognizable worldwide.  The reason why this region rose to global fame was because many classic cowboy western films were filmed here in the mid 1900s and the audience simply fell in love with this place. Monument Valley is the definitive landscape that is most often pictured when the wild west is mentioned. This valley of red rock pillars has always been a sacred spiritual place and it is fitting that this majestic landscape is so often depicted as a symbol of the west.

Director John Ford and John Wayne filmed several great western movies in Monument Valley.  The John Wayne Monument Valley western films that were shot in color effectively immortalized the American west.  Visitors can relive the golden age of classic western films when visiting Monument Valley just by taking a short side trip to Ojato, Utah, which is just across the Arizona border. U.S. Borders are pretty much meaningless in this region, because this entire territory is in the heart of the Navajo Nation. Navajo Tourism has made great advances in recent years and Oljato-Monument Valley has become a prime attraction.  

There is no better place to rekindle the old wild west that was portrayed on the big screen than John Wayne’s Cabin at Goulding’s Lodge in the village of Ojato!  This old red rock cabin was featured in many John Ford westerns, where it served from everything from a shed in the background to a calvary captain’s quarters.  When looking in the old rustic cabin, one can almost hear the voice of John Wayne echoing inside.  

John Wayne and the cast of the classic John Ford westerns nearly always stayed at Goulding’s Lodge when filming in Monument Valley.  Goulding’s Lodge offers all modern amenities with classic old western charm.  This lodge is located high against a red rock bluff that overlooks part of Monument Valley and the views are as relaxing as can be.

Goulding’s Lodge has a museum that offers insight into the past, which both children and adults will find interesting.  A trading post gift shop is located on sight, which features Navajo art, jewelry and crafts.  There are plenty of outdoor spots on the property where visitors can sit down and relax while taking in the majestic scenery.  Camping, RV spots, a general store and a car wash are also located nearby in the village of Oljato. For those who plan to do the automobile tour on the red dirt roads through the Monument Valley Tribal Park, knowing where a car wash can be found is a real plus!

The restaurant in Goulding’s Lodge is spacious and there is plenty of comfortable old fashioned booth seating.  The views from the dining room overlook Monument Valley and it is all too easy to fall into a dream of how the west once was, while looking out the window in this place.  Goulding’s has been in the hospitality business for a long time, which shows in the high quality of food and table service.  The menu offers classic old west favorites and Navajo specialties.  All I can say is that the big Navajo Taco at Goulding’s restaurant was simply as good as it gets!

If lodging at Goulding’s is in the plans when visiting Monument Valley, then it is best to make reservations well in advance, because this is a popular vacation spot.  Goulding’s caters to tour buses, so this place can become quite busy during holiday weekends.  During an average weekday, Goulding’s offers the peace and quiet that the old west is famous for.  Just one look inside John Wayne’s Cabin is all it takes to step back into a simpler time and forget all about the modern world!                 


Author: wildwestdestinations

I worked as a chef in remote resorts and National Parks, which provided the time to explore western travel destinations. I have a BA Degree in Culinary Management with high honors and currently I am working on a Masters Degree in Adult Education. My food and travel blog writing began as a means to generate income during college and now photo journalism has become my lifestyle.

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