April 30, 2017

NAVAJO NATION : The American Southwest - South 163

South 163

US Route 163 near Oljato-Monument Valley, Oljato-Monument Valley, Navajo Nation

Road to Oljato-Monument Valley

U.S. Route 163

U.S. Route 163 (also U.S. Highway 163, US 163) is a 64-mile (103 km) U.S. Highway that runs from US 160 northward to US 191 in the U.S. states of Arizona and Utah. The southernmost 44 miles (71 km) of its length is within the Navajo Nation. The highway forms part of the Trail of the Ancients, a National Scenic Byway. The highway cuts through the heart of Monument Valley and has been featured in numerous movies and commercials.

The southern terminus of US 163 is located at a junction with US 160 south of Kayenta in Navajo County and Navajo Nation. The road continues to the south of this junction as Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Route 591. US 163 heads north from US 160 to the west of the Kayenta Airport as it passes through the town of Kayenta. The highway curves towards the northeast in Kayenta before it curves back towards the north. As it continues towards the north, the highway goes through an s-curve, resulting in a northeasterly heading. US 163 continues this heading as it heads toward Monument Valley and crosses the border into Utah. An 18-mile (29 km) stretch of the highway from approximately 5 miles (8 km) north of the US 160 junction to the Utah border has been designated as a scenic route by the state of Arizona.

The Utah portion of the highway begins in Monument Valley, in San Juan County. Just after entering Utah the highway junctions with the Monument Valley Visitors center. The highway proceeds northeast until the town of Mexican Hat where the highway both crosses the San Juan River and exits the Navajo Nation. From Mexican Hat, the highway travels due east to towards its signed terminus in Bluff. Formerly, the route continued along what is now signed US 191 to I-70, however the portion north of Bluff was not signed after the creation of US 191 and was formally removed in 2008. The length of US 163 in Utah has been designated the Bluff to Monument Valley Scenic byway by the Utah State Legislature and forms part of the Trail of the Ancients National Scenic Byway. All highways in Utah are codified in law; US 163 is defined at Utah Code §72-4-122(3).

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