Monument Valley simply hits otherwise. The red-sand desert flooring stretches over 92,000 acres throughout the Utah-Arizona border, dotted with sandstone buttes and filth roads. This area is finest identified for Monument Valley Tribal Park – a as soon as frequent filming location for outdated Western films. You’ve already seen the valley in your TV display. It has featured as a backdrop for all of the John Wayne movies, plus classics like Forrest Gump. But there may be extra to the valley than simply attractiveness. You can go to sights just like the Navajo Shadehouse Museum and revel in unbelievable mountaineering trails.
Researching Monument Valley is a lot enjoyable. It is likely one of the most well-known sections of any Arizona highway journey and one of many main US highway journeys. Between the red-sand surroundings and Hollywood-worthy scenic drive, Monument Valley has wiggled its means onto tens of millions of bucket lists.
How to Visit Monument Valley
In this information, we’ll cowl every part you should know in order to have a incredible go to. Get prepared for an intensive ‘how to’ information; by the tip of this text, you’ll be well-equipped and raring to go. We’ll train you all about the primary sights in the valley, like Elephant Butte and the Wildcat Trail. But we’ll additionally present all of the logistics you want, like tips on how to get there and when is finest to go to. One of the most effective components about Monument Valley is its location, so skip to the tip when you’d like some insights into combining your journey with different memorable sights, just like the Grand Canyon.
Are you prepared? Here’s what you should find out about visiting the valley.
What is Monument Valley? A Quick Introduction
So, what’s Monument Valley? Well, this 92,000-acre area is a very stunning space of red-sand desert. The valley sits on the border between Utah and Arizona, with land in each states. It is most often known as Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, which has a stupendous assortment of sandstone buttes that attracted Hollywood’s consideration. Chances are, you’ve seen Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, John Wayne films, or the well-known ‘Run Forrest run’ scene in Forrest Gump.
You can drive by the valley on the 17-mile Valley Drive, a year-round accessible tarmacked freeway. During your go to, you might want an off-road car to sort out a dust highway or two.
The valley is filled with pink rock formations, and you’ll guide experiences like guided horseback excursions. You may also embark on hikes to miss factors like John Ford’s Point or take guided mountaineering excursions with a Navajo information to peaks like Totem Pole or the West and East Mittens. Most sights are off the primary Valley Drive, and there are many designated pull-in locations to admire views of particular rock formations. Or you possibly can cease by the Monument Valley Visitor Center and enquire about guided tour choices.
How to Get to Monument Valley
So, how do you get to Monument Valley? The easiest method is to fly into one of many main cities in Arizona or Utah, renting a automotive to highway journey your approach to this distant valley.
Las Vegas and Salt Lake City are the 2 most famed worldwide airports and round a 7-hour drive from the valley. Flagstaff is one other wonderful airport to fly into, solely a 3-hour drive away and ideally positioned to mix Monument Valley with the Grand Canyon. You can guide home or worldwide flights to one of many airports, hire a automotive, and drive the rest of the best way to Monument Valley.
Alternatively, you could possibly catch an Amtrak prepare to Salt Lake City or Las Vegas if touring from inside the United States. This would lower pointless flights and supply extra adventurous, gradual journey. You might then hire a automotive for the rest of the journey.
Reading this, you possibly can spot the recurring issue – automotive rent. You should journey with somebody with a license when you can’t hire or convey a automotive your self. The valley is likely one of the most distant locations to go to in the US. And you’ll have to drive if you wish to see it independently. You can verify the most effective costs right here on our favourite web site.
With that stated, there’s a caveat slash loophole to this. If driving actually isn’t an possibility, you could possibly guide a guided tour of Monument Valley. These excursions are costlier, and also you’ll be restricted in free time, however they’re the right answer for these with out licenses. You can guide Monument Valley day excursions from Flagstaff and from Sedona. Budget round $250-300 for a bunch tour, together with transfers, and prepare to kick your toes again with a guided tour expertise.
In abstract, your choices to get to the valley are as follows:
If you’re brief on time and wish low cost flights, Fly to Salt Lake City or Las Vegas after which hire a automotive to drive 7 hours to Monument Valley. If you’re brief on time, Fly to Flagstaff after which hire a automotive to drive 3 hours to Monument Valley. If you’ve loads of time and wish to keep away from flying: Travel by Amtrak to Las Vegas, Grand Junction, or Salt Lake City after which rent a automotive to drive to Monument Valley in 4.5-7 hours. If you aren’t in a position to rent a automotive, Fly into Flagstaff and keep there or in Sedona. You can then guide a guided tour to Monument Valley on a day journey for between $250 and $300.
Best Things to do in Monument Valley
The sheer scale of issues to do in Monument Valley is awe-inspiring. It is way from only a place to drive by and passively gaze on the surroundings, though we received’t knock road-tripping its 17-mile Valley Drive. Monument Valley has a wow issue that conjures up you to become involved with outside actions, whether or not mountaineering to buttes or horse using by Monument Valley Tribal Park.
In this part, we’ll allow you to embrace all the thrill that Monument Valley affords. Get prepared for pure sights, trails, and sightseeing alternatives. These are the easiest issues to do in the unbelievable valley.
1. Experience Monument Valley Tribal Park on Horseback
One of the most effective methods to expertise Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park is undoubtedly on horseback. You can drive the loop highway, however horses go the place autos can’t or aren’t permitted. You can guide a 2-hour Monument Valley tour by horseback, getting up near the buttes. We did this and completely cherished it. We do suggest you’ve a bit horseback expertise, although.
2. Take a Jeep Tour
An effective way to expertise the valley is by way of jeep. Book a jeep tour throughout the desert flooring and previous vital sights just like the West Mitten butte. Most excursions final 1.5 hours to three hours. And you’ll get a hassle-free driving expertise with narrated sightseeing. This is a good possibility in case you are touring with the household.
3. Navajo Shadehouse Museum
Navajo Shadehouse Museum is a cultural attraction in Monument Valley value visiting. It explains all of the tradition, traditions, beliefs, and historical past of the Navajo tribe, together with issues like how Navajo drugs males pray and what hogan houses seem like. While the museum is small, it gives unbelievable perception into the Navajo Nation. And because the valley is located on Navajo Tribal park land, it’s a must-have addition to your itinerary.
4. Visit West, East, and Merrick Butte
If you need beautiful rock formations, West, East, and Merrick Butte are the most effective formations to see up shut. This iconic trio of buttes juts up from the valley flooring in stunning pink sandstone. The East and West Buttes stand over 6,000 toes above sea degree and are a dramatic sight to see up shut. It is illegitimate to climb the formations, however you possibly can stroll round their bases.
5. Drive Monument Valley Drive with Photo Stops
We can’t point out the attractive Monument Valley Drive. In 17 miles of freeway, you embrace a few of Monument Valley’s iconic landscapes and rock formations. This scenic drive passes Forrest Gump Point, a.okay .a. the well-known Forrest Gump Highway. The large sandstone buttes additionally appeared in Western films just like the Wayne movies. It’s simply one of the crucial well-known scenic drives in the US. Allow 3-4 hours to finish the drive, relying on how lengthy you need at every cease.
6. Elephant Butte
This stunning butte is famously formed like an elephant and is a wonderful possibility if you wish to see the rock formations exterior of the usual trio. Again, climbing is illegitimate, however you possibly can stroll to its base and admire the pure landmark. Visit simply earlier than sundown for the most effective views.
7. John Ford’s Point
This is the cash shot overlook. It’s named John Ford’s Point after the American producer and director John Ford. Ford directed tons of films, together with a number of that includes John Wayne. John Ford featured this viewpoint in a number of outdated American West films. You’ll acknowledge the sweeping views of the buttes and desert panorama.
8. Wildcat Trail
Wildcat Trail is an roughly 4-mile loop hike that crams in the most effective of Monument Valley’s views on foot. It takes round 2 to three hours and is rated as average issue resulting from sections with thick sand. You can simply navigate the path independently if in case you have a primary health degree. Your efforts might be rewarded with up-close views of the famed Mitten Buttes and Merrick Butte.
Set off early in the day to keep away from the tough warmth in spring and summer time. Make certain to convey a digicam, too, as Wildcat Trail is certainly one of Monument Valley’s finest issues to do.
9. Climb Mexican Hat
While climbing isn’t allowed inside the valley, you possibly can skip minutes over the border to climb Mexican Hat. This bizarre-looking sandstone rock seems to be like a tower with a sombrero on prime – therefore its identify. Mexican Hat is well-liked amongst skilled climbers. If you’re skilled sufficient to sort out medium difficult climbs confidently, you possibly can tackle the Bandito Route, a bolted, clip-up route.
If you aren’t a climber, you possibly can nonetheless go to to see the rock up shut. Plus, you possibly can watch as others sort out the distinctive rock face.
10. North Window Overlook
Finally, there’s North Window Overlook to go to in the valley. This is good if you’d like a viewpoint expertise in the valley. North Window Overlook affords an alternate view of Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park to John Ford’s Point. It is positioned simply minutes from the Monument Valley Visitor Center and is ideal to expertise at dawn or sundown.
When to Visit Monument Valley
It goes with out saying that summer time is a more difficult time to go to the valley. The sky-high temperatures can attain 94 Fahrenheit in July and August, which isn’t conducive to abandon hikes or lengthy drives. Furthermore, summer time additionally means floods of crowds. It is the busiest time of 12 months to go to the valley. So in case you are contemplating visiting in summer time, we suggest shifting to the beginning or finish of the season. It is generally crowded and scorching, with fewer parking areas and shared viewpoints.
So, if not summer time, when do you have to go to the valley? Ideally, you must go to in the autumn or spring. Winter can get a bit too chilly, dropping to 25 Fahrenheit generally, so fall and spring are an ideal compromise. September to early November and March to May are the most effective intervals to expertise the valley. You’ll have delicate temperatures in the higher 70s Fahrenheit and fewer crowds – a win-win.
Keep in thoughts what time of day you enter the valley, too. Visiting in the shoulder seasons like fall and spring helps to cut back the crowds. But you can too be tactical with what time of day you go to. Early morning is finest if you wish to spend a complete day in the park, heading to the preferred websites first. Meanwhile, when you want to go to just a few websites, late afternoon is an effective time to dodge the worst of the crowds.
Of course, selecting lodging in the valley itself will allow you to get forward of the crowds. You’ll additionally get to tick off dawn and sundown viewpoints from the consolation of your individual dwelling away from dwelling, particularly at locations like The View Hotel and Campground.
Where to Stay in Monument Valley And Surrounding Area
Where to remain in and round Monument Valley is a superb query. There is one essential factor to notice, although. There are minimal lodging choices contained in the park itself. You’ll must guide in advance to remain contained in the park boundaries. There are additionally extra B&B or camping-style lodging choices inside the valley.
Fortunately, there are numerous extra choices for these staying simply exterior the park boundaries. The small city of Kayenta close to the south entrance has a number of inns, and the city of Bluff close to the north entrance additionally has loads of lodging selections.
Staying in Monument Valley
Staying inside Monument Valley’s park boundaries requires pre-planning and advance reserving, but it surely’s undoubtedly nonetheless attainable. If you wish to make your expertise much more distinctive, snagging these sought-after lodging reservations is effectively value it. You might be bathing in an infinity pool overlooking a stupendous pink rock formation or tenting in a conventional tipi village. Let’s try the highest choices for staying inside the valley.
Goulding’s Lodge is a beautiful property inside Monument Valley and simply one of many main locations to remain. Get your reservations in fast. Guests get pleasure from an indoor pool and a terrace – from which you’ll be able to truly see the buttes of Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. It is a stupendous place to remain and revel in scenic sunsets and sunrises.
Monument Valley Tipi Village
Monument Valley Tipi Village is a stupendous lodging alternative for experiencing conventional tipi and hogan stays in Monument Valley. The village is run as a part of the Navajo Nation and is a superb approach to make investments in the area people.
The View Campground/The View Hotel
The View Campground and View Hotel are two adjoining properties in the center of the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park – essentially the most scenic part of the valley with the dramatic butte surroundings. Each visitor room in the lodge has a balcony to get pleasure from non-public dawn and sundown views over the Mitte buttes. And you can too enquire about tenting experiences in conventional tipis.
Staying Outside Monument Valley
As we defined, the most effective locations to remain exterior Monument Valley are Kayenta and Bluff. There’s additionally Mexican Hat, a tiny census-designated place proper on the north entrance with a number of resorts. Still, we wouldn’t suggest staying right here because it lacks amenities.
This part will have a look at the most effective locations to remain in Kayenta for inn-style lodging and a quiet vibe. Then we’ll have a look at the most effective locations to remain in extra luxurious and touristy Bluff.
Kayenta is the smaller, quieter possibility of the 2 cities. It is positioned close to the south entrance of Arizona. It is a greater possibility for these desirous to go on day journeys to Arizona sights just like the Grand Canyon or Navajo National Monument. Kayenta has a number of city amenities, like Amigo Cafe, the Kayenta Recreation Park, and primarily 3-4-star inns.
Wetherill Inn is a modest 2-star property perfect for anybody on the lookout for budget-friendly lodging close to Monument Valley. It does have its comfy perks, although, together with an indoor heated pool and a continental breakfast.
Hampton Inn Kayenta
Hampton Inn Kayenta is a 3-star property, finest for these wanting a extra mid-range to luxurious possibility. It is a contemporary property with a tasteful desert-color palette that’s excellent given the rationale on your keep. It has an onsite restaurant, which is handy after an extended day in Monument Valley, and a fitness center and outside pool.
Bluff is barely larger and finest for individuals who need a busier base whereas visiting the valley. It has extra luxurious locations, like Bluff Dwellings Resort and Spa. Bluff additionally has just a few sights, just like the Twin Rocks Trading Post, the Bluff Great House Museum, and the Sand Island Petroglyphs. It is positioned in Utah, close to the north entrance to Monument Valley.
La Posada Pintada
La Posada Pintada is first up. This 3-star property is gorgeous, with conventional rooms, log cabin options and views over the encompassing pink rock surroundings. A every day continental breakfast is included in your reserving price. Overall, it’s perfect for these with a mid-range price range.
Desert Rose Resort & Cabins
Desert Rose Resort & Cabins is as luxurious because it comes. The property has a deluxe indoor pool, an onsite enterprise heart, and thoughtfully adorned rooms that includes conventional stone and wooden particulars. You have all of the Bluff amenities in your doorstep and a base the place you possibly can rejuvenate between sightseeing in Monument Valley.
Bluff Dwellings Resort & Spa
Bluff Dwellings is one other gem in Bluff. The resort has completely glowing critiques and a shocking combination of rooms and suites. The resort is about inside a piece of rock formations, giving it a distant attraction regardless of its central Bluff location. As if that wasn’t sufficient, you additionally get an onsite pool, fitness center, and scorching tub. Plus, there may be an onsite restaurant for these days whenever you want a fast meal.
Excursions Near Monument Valley
One of essentially the most unbelievable issues about visiting Monument Valley is how completely it combines with different bucket checklist experiences in Utah and Arizona. As you realize, the valley is located on the Utah-Arizona border, that means it has nearly unbridled entry to a number of the state’s most sought-after locations and excursions.
You might be trekking by Canyonlands or snapping images in Arches National Park. You might head south to spend just a few days across the Grand Canyon and Sedona. Or you could possibly take longer, multi-day detours by Utah to go to Las Vegas. There are tons of excursions and worthy locations close to Monument Valley.
In this part, we’ll introduce you to the most effective of those. Here are the highest ten excursions – and multi-day detours – you must mix with a go to to Monument Valley.
1. Goosenecks State Park
Goosenecks State Park is a stupendous park simply north of the valley. The San Juan River splits the park and accommodates over 300 million years of geology. Goosenecks is a good day journey if you wish to spend a day admiring geological sights and canyon river views. Pick a hike from the a number of path choices. You may even camp there in a single day if you want.
2. Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands National Park is likely one of the main nationwide parks in the US, with some good mountaineering trails, together with the path to Druid Arch and Lavender Point. You can admire loads of viewpoints. There’s the beautiful Needles District and Green River Overlook. Canyonlands National Park is break up into 4 foremost zones, together with the Island in the Sky mesa.
The nationwide park is simply a 3-hour drive from the middle of Monument Valley. It is finest skilled at sundown when the pink rock surroundings is much more stunning.
3. Dead Horse State Park
Dead Horse State Park is simply over a 2-hour from Bluff, close to the valley’s north entrance. This state park is known for its desert panorama and critically beautiful canyon surroundings. While it’s adjoined to Canyonlands, it affords a way more intimate expertise, with fewer trails and fewer than 5,400 acres in comparison with practically 340,000 acres.
If you need a extra bitesize chunk, Dead Horse State Park is the right place to expertise related landscapes with out the size of Canyonlands.
4. Grand Canyon
Who doesn’t wish to see the Grand Canyon? The canyon is a good expertise so as to add to your Monument Valley itinerary. You can go to the canyon in a single day from Monument Valley, taking 4 hours to achieve a method. Or you possibly can fly into Flagstaff and spend just a few days visiting the canyon and its surrounding sights earlier than driving to Monument Valley. Either means, you possibly can mix the 2.
5. Visit the Four Corners Monument
This monument is extraordinary, marking the purpose the place all 4 states – Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado – all converge. The Four Corners Monument is positioned in the Navajo Nation and has its personal customer heart. If you need a novelty expertise, you possibly can’t beat this monument. After all, you possibly can say you stood in all 4 states without delay.
It takes round an hour to achieve Bluff, making it one of the crucial accessible self-guided excursions from the valley.
6. Antelope Canyon
Antelope Canyon is a superb tour to take from Monument Valley. Once you’ve spent a few days exploring the valley, you possibly can drive underneath 2 hours to Antelope Canyon – the well-known canyon that appears prefer it has rock waves in its partitions.
As the canyon is sacred in Navajo tradition, it’s important to guide by an organization providing a Navajo information for a guided tour.
7. Mesa Verde National Park
Mesa Verde National Park is a superb tour from the valley. It is most identified for its abundance of Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings, most famously Cliff Palace. A go to to Mesa Verde is right for increasing your data of Puebloan historical past after visiting the Navajo Nation. You can rapidly drive to Mesa Verde National Park from Bluff, which takes round 1.5 hours. It is certainly one of Colorado’s finest nationwide parks and definitely worth the detour.
8. Arches National Park
Arches National Park is a should in case you are visiting Monument Valley. It is simply too shut by to overlook out on. The park is called after its dozens of pure arches and is certainly one of Utah’s most stunning locations to go to. It is slightly below a 2-hour drive from Bluff, close to the valley’s north entrance. And you possibly can get pleasure from beautiful hikes to see the pure landmarks.
Look into nationwide park passes for a number of parks when you’d like to mix just a few of the nationwide parks close to Monument Valley.
9. Canyon de Chelly National Monument
This National Monument is likely one of the finest areas of pure magnificence inside the Navajo Nation. And as a bonus, it’s simply over an hour’s drive from Kayenta. You can take guided excursions, find out about sacred websites, and go to a cliff dwelling and petroglyphs.
10. Horseshoe Bend
Horseshoe Bend is one other main attraction and tour from the valley. It is simply over 1.5 hours from Kayenta by automotive by the valley’s south entrance. The park is finest identified for its dramatic river canyon panorama, that includes a curve in the Colorado River that appears like a horseshoe form.
While there, you could possibly go mountaineering or boating. Or sightsee different sights close to Page, like Antelope Canyon.
Visiting Monument Valley: FAQs
Are you enthusiastic about visiting Monument Valley? Whether you go to Mystery Valley, drive the Monument Valley loop highway, or detour to close by Goosenecks State Park, you’ll love seeing the a part of the US. Monument Valley is a tiny part of fiery, red-rock depth. It is the surroundings of the outdated West that generations of individuals grew to like on their TV screens. From a sightseeing perspective, it is likely one of the nation’s most spectacular areas of rock formations. That’s earlier than you even get to the cultural facet of Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, with all its historical past of the Navajo folks.
Before you rush to understand Monument Valley in particular person, try these widespread FAQs. These FAQs might give you that further info that transforms your journey.
Why is Monument Valley so well-known?
Hollywood has immortalized Monument Valley. Sure, its tradition and geology would have nonetheless attracted guests even when Hollywood hadn’t scouted it as a film set. However, its look in John Wayne movies and blockbusters like Forrest Gump is what has made Monument Valley well-known worldwide.
What city is closest to Monument Valley?
Kayenta is a brilliant shut city to Monument Valley on the Arizona facet of the border. On the Utah facet of the border, Bluff is the closest city to Monument Valley. Bluff has extra vacationer infrastructure, with resorts, inns, and some sights.
Can you continue to drive by Monument Valley?
Yes, Monument Valley is open to drivers. The Monument Valley Loop Road is open all 12 months spherical, though it does limit its hours in winter, sometimes opening between 8 am and a pair of pm. The Scenic Drive is offered from 6 am till 8 pm in summer time.
Is Monument Valley in Utah or Arizona?
Monument Valley straddles the border, that means it’s formally in each Utah and Arizona, not only one or the opposite. However, a lot of the park falls inside the state boundaries of Arizona.
Monument Valley is outstanding; there’s no doubting that. These 92,000 acres include a lot pure magnificence and tradition. You can study in regards to the Navajo Nation and pay for a guided tour to embrace Monument Valley with the Navajo folks. You can take a highway journey by Monument Valley by way of Highway 163, passing Forrest Gump Point, Hollywood film scenes, and beautiful rock formations. Or, you possibly can enterprise out on excursions close by, like visiting Goosenecks State Park, the Grand Canyon, or close by nationwide parks. A go to to Monument Valley is one you received’t quickly overlook.
You now know all the sensible info vital to prepare a visit to Monument Valley. We hope you’ve a beautiful time and encourage you to increase your keep to understand the broader area and its surrounding sights. In want of some further inspiration? These are essentially the most beautiful locations to go to in Arizona. And we have now a whole information on Utah’s ‘Mighty 5’ nationwide parks. Make essentially the most of visiting a vacation spot proper on the Utah-Arizona border.