forrest gump point Utah

Where did Forrest Gump stop running? How to find the hill and best time of day to photograph it

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The “classic” views seen on a road trip to the West Coast are countless and that of the so-called Forrest Gump Point (or Forrest Gump Hill) is certainly one of the most popular and recognizable views; near this famous viewpoint, it is very likely that you will find some tourists waiting for you to drive by to be able to stand in the middle of the road and take the iconic picture, the shot that best captures one of the most striking views of the entire Southwest.

Despite the popularity of this photo spot, there are many road trippers who miss it, even though they are just a stone’s throw away… and this is mainly due to the fact that most of the standard routes to reach Monument Valley do not pass by this magnificent viewpoint.

Nevertheless, as we will see, making a small detour to reach Forrest Gump Point is not complicated at all… so let’s figure out where it is, how to include it in your itinerary and how to organize yourself so that you will be in the right place at the right time.

What is Forrest Gump Point?

Forrest Gump View Point

As I have already mentioned, Forrest Gump Point is a scenic point that can also be seen directly from the car. It is characterized by a long straight road that runs towards a hill, on top of which sits the majestic profile of Monument Valley, the famous Navajo Tribal Park that, with its towering reddish rocks, frames the surrounding desert plain, thus creating an evocative landscape and exemplary image of the Far West (tip: when you’re in the area, turn on your car radio and play a soundtrack by Ennio Morricone from a Western movie).

This viewpoint gained considerable popularity after Robert Zemeckis used it for a scene in his film Forrest Gump, when the character played by Tom Hanks, after running for 3 years, 2 months, 14 days and 16 hours, suddenly decided to stop, leaving his faithful followers astonished.

In memory of the famous Forrest Gump running scene, there is a sign with the words “Forrest Gump finished his run at this point, 1980” (I also found a pair of shoes next to it…).

Where did Forrest Gump stop running? Location and Directions

Forrest Gump Point is located on Highway 163 Scenic Drive (also known as Forrest Gump Road or Forrest Gump Highway), in Mexican Hat County, just outside of Monument Valley. The exact point you can enter in your GPS is 37°06’09.5″N 109°59’21.1″W. However, you can simply type Forrest Gump Point (or Forrest Gump Hill) in Google Maps (US-163 Scenic, Mexican Hat, UT 84531) and you will easily find it.

Coming from Moab

Forrest Gump Monument Valley
Forrest Gump Point Mexican Hat

You usually pass through this point when you are traveling from Utah (Moab), after visiting Arches and Canyonlands, in the direction of Monument Valley. In this case, you’ll find Forrest Gump Point right on the road, just before you get to Monument Valley, of which this viewpoint is a splendid foretaste.

But what if you are traveling on a route that doesn’t include Moab? In this case (unfortunately, this includes most people), you will reach the famous Navajo Tribal Park from the south, without passing through Forrest Gump Point, and since Forrest Gump Point is outside Monument Valley you will miss it completely…

Coming from the Grand Canyon and Page

Forrest Gump Point Monument Valley Utah

In other words, if you arrive in Monument Valley from the Grand Canyon or Page (the most likely routes) you won’t pass Forrest Gump Point. But don’t worry, even if passing up seeing the beautiful landscapes in Moab is almost a crime, you can still find a way to see at least this viewpoint made famous by Zemeckis movie. Here’s how to get there:

Once you’ve reached the Navajo Tribal Park you’ll have to go straight for just over 12 miles, turn around at the valley (the view will be behind you) and enjoy the view. Then you can follow the same road to reach the entrance to the park. Calculate about 15-20 minutes to drive from the entrance of Monument Valley to Forrest Gump Point.

Best Time to Visit and Photograph It

monument valley forrest gump point

If you can, I suggest you to plan the trip so that you can pass Forrest Gump Point in a moment that fully enhances its beauty. I have passed by Forrest Gump Point in the morning, in the afternoon and at sunset and from my experience, I can tell you that the best time to go is definitely the first, when the light illuminates Monument Valley and you can distinguish well the colors of the rocky monuments in the background of this unforgettable panorama.

Also, when you compare pictures from different times of day, the difference is remarkable, as you can see below. The first photo was taken shortly after 3:00 pm, while the second one was taken around 8:30 am.

In the morning, the sunlight brightens the landscape and, if you arrive early, you will find even fewer cars along the way. In the afternoon or late evening, the profile of Monument Valley will be in the shade, which makes it less photogenic.

For a road cutting through the desert, Route 163 is quite busy. It’s important to be cautious and bear in mind that standing in the middle of the road to photograph the landscape can be dangerous, and unfortunately, there have been accidents and even fatalities in the past.

Nearby Attractions

forrest gump point photos

To conclude, I would like to quickly mention an attraction near Forrest Gump Point that is very often underestimated. In addition to Monument Valley here in the area you’ll also find Goosenecks State Park, similar to Horseshoe Bend, but with three bends in the river, carved out by the San Juan River. For those who like to visit the most remote places I recommend two other particularly scenic valleys, which are Mystery Valley and Valley of the Gods.

Where to Stay

Finding accommodation nearby can be an opportunity to fully immerse oneself in the unique atmosphere of this destination. In the closest towns such as Mexican Hat, Bluff, Kayenta, or even within Monument Valley itself, you can find motels, hotels, and campsites.

If you love direct contact with nature, you might opt for camping, taking advantage of the numerous available areas around Monument Valley. The chance to wake up immersed in this captivating landscape, enjoying the sunrises and sunsets of America’s most famous Indian reservation, is truly priceless. To search for campsites in the Monument Valley area, I recommend checking out this page.

If you want to have the same kind of experience but aren’t particularly fond of camping, you can stay at The View, the panoramic hotel within Monument Valley, which also offers bungalows located in a splendid position, perfect for admiring the scenery. Just outside the park boundaries, there’s Goulding’s Lodge, a historic accommodation in a panoramic location that also houses a museum of memorabilia from the western films shot in the park.

Lastly, as previously mentioned, there are the towns of Mexican Hat, Bluff, and Kayenta. For more details on all the mentioned accommodations and others nearby, feel free to read my guide on where to stay in Monument Valley.


At the end of his cross-country run, Forrest Gump simply says, “I’m pretty tired. I think I’ll go home now.”

Just before saying these words, Forrest Gump also remembers a phrase his mother: “You got to put the past behind you before you can move on.”‘ In this phrase Forrest identifies the reason for his long run.

Forrest Gump stops around mile marker 13 on Route 163.

Forrest Gump’s fictional route in the movie covered a substantial part of the United States. Although the exact details of his route were not explicitly depicted, it’s generally understood that he started his run in Greenbow, Alabama, then made his way through several states, passing places like Mississippi, Arizona, and ultimately reaching the Forrest Gump Point in Monument Valley, Utah, where he decided to stop running and return home.

His long run lasted 3 years, 2 months, 14 days, and 16 hours. So, just over 1169 days in total.

In the movie, Forrest Gump’s exact total running distance wasn’t explicitly stated. This website estimated a distance of over 15,000 miles (15,248 to be exact), averaging 91 miles per week, 0.54 miles per hour, and 13 miles per day.

Our Tip:
Looking for accommodations for your trip from California to other parts of the Southwest? Read our guide that contains reviews of hotels and strategic tips for finding accommodations near major attractions: Where to Stay: Our Tips for the SouthWest Area

Warning: Operating hours can change and closures for extraordinary events can occur, so we strongly suggest to check the venues official websites.

lorenzo puliti
lorenzo puliti

I am fascinated by the wonders of the world I never tire of going in search of them.

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3 thoughts on “Where did Forrest Gump stop running? How to find the hill and best time of day to photograph it”

  1. Nice article, definitely on my list when I can get out that way. Small issue — the photos under this comment seem to be swapped: “The first photo was taken shortly after 3:00 pm, while the second one was taken around 8:30 am.” The first is labeled “Early morning” and the second “Early afternoon”. Cheers!


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