The Four Corners, a famous and popular tourist spot in the American Southwest, is and isn’t where it should be. Confused? Read on.
Four Corners — the only place in the United States where four state boundaries come together — was first surveyed by the U.S. government in 1868, during the initial survey of Colorado’s southern boundary line. Its intended location was an even 109 degrees west longitude and 37 degrees north latitude. However, due to surveying errors, it didn’t come out that way.
According to readings by the National Geodetic Survey, today’s official marker sits at 109 02 42.62019 W longitude and 36 59 56.31532 N latitude. That means the current monument marking the intersection of Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona is approximately 2.5 miles west of where it should be. According to three different Internet sites for distance calculations (including an FCC site and GPS visualizer) the readings were 2.493; 2.484; and 2.499 miles. A member of the Utah Association of Geocachers in Price also came up with 2.5 miles by using two other Internet sites, Google Earth and the Great Circle Calculator. (Geocachers routinely rely on GPS data to find exact locations.) The true location would be downhill to the east of U.S. 160 in Colorado and northeast of the San Juan River as it flows into New Mexico.
Four Corners Monument is open year-round, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Entrance fee is $3 per person.
But what’s a couple of miles between states?