Four Corners: Four Fun Facts
Four Corners is the only place where you can be in four states at once (although you can ‘see’ seven states from Rock City near Chattanooga) and the area is considered the middle of the Southwest. The point where Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah meet also happens to be in the ‘middle of nowhere.’
This rugged desert bulges with enough cactus to poke each of your fingers twice. If you’re visiting some of the other monuments and parks strung across the Colorado Plateau (Monument Valley, Mesa Verde and Canyon de Chelly), Four Corners makes for an interesting stop, if only for another cheesy photo op.
If you live in a place where you can see other buildings from your window, this section of the country comes as a shock. The level of desolation surrounding the Four Corners makes you wish you were the kind of person with the ability to survive in the wilderness with just a coat hanger, a plastic bag, and an Old West dime novel.
Some things to know before striking out: gas up. Seriously. Also take plenty of water, but try not to drink so much that you are forced to use the facilities here, which run the gamut of gross to vomit-inducing Port-A Potties.
Native American tribal members (Navajo and Ute share the land) sell their wares in the parking lot (a dirt grid with potholes). If fry bread is available, we highly recommend it. Think ‘elephant ears’ at the county fair.
Four Fun Facts About Four States:
- Billy the Kid shot his first victim, ‘Windy’ Cahill, in Bonita on August 17, 1877.
- In 1913, Cecil B. DeMille came to Flagstaff to film his movie, Squaw Man, but a raging storm forced him to continue on to Hollywood instead. This effectively established the Hollywood film industry.
- Labor leader, César Chávez, was born in Yuma on March 31st, 1927.
- The Saguaro cactus of the Sonoran desert (southern Arizona) can grow up to five-stories tall.
- The federal government owns one third of the land in Colorado.
- Pikes Peak inspired Katherine Lee Bates to write ‘America the Beautiful.’
- Colorado has more microbreweries per capita than any other states.
- It also has more than three hundred ghost towns.
- More than 25,000 Anasazi (Native American) sites lay across the state.
- In 1963 the state legislature adopted the bear cub as the official state animal. This was to honor Smokey, the cub found in the Lincoln National Forest, after the 1950 wildfire. That’s how Smokey the Bear came to symbolize fire prevention.
- Las Vegas was the largest city in New Mexico in the late 1900s. It was established in 1835, seventy years before the more famous Nevada version.
- In the isolated villages of the northern central part of the state (example: Chimayo) the people speak a 16th century form of Spanish, learned from the conquistadors.
- In 1868, Zion’s Cooperative Mercantile Institution opened in Salt Lake City. It was the nation’s first department store.
- The Great Salt Lake is three to five times saltier than the oceans. The only aquatic animals are brine shrimp.
- Thirty complete dinosaur skeletons, and intact dinosaur eggs, have been recovered at the Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry.
- The state song of Utah is ‘Hooray for Sacred Undergarments!’ (Yes, really).
Have you visited all four states?
One paw! As you could tell by the intro photo, I went, I saw, I thought there were too many people.
Lane & Juliet
The writing and photography team behind Southwest Compass, the travel blog for the American Southwest.