One of the most impressive places to see in Utah is Monument Valley . You cannot travel here and miss this natural wonder. It is even one of the most beautiful landscapes in the entire country.
This Valley is located on the border of Utah with Arizona. And it’s on the reservation of the Navajo, the largest indigenous nation in the United States .
HOW TO VISIT MONUMENT VALLEY, UTAH
Monument Valley is one of the essential places to see in Utah. In addition, it will give you the opportunity to learn about and immerse yourself in the Navajo culture.
The Navajos already lived in the area long before the arrival of the Spanish in the year 1581. But until the year 1930, Monument Valley was a completely unknown landscape, a wild desert. The only ones who knew the area perfectly were the Navajos.
This Valley became known thanks to the Western movies that were recorded in this area. The popular movies directed by John Ford and starring John Wayne.
Now it is one of the great wonders of the State.
How to Get to Monument Valley
Monument Valley is far away from everything and when planning your route through the State you should take this into account.
You’ll need to go on Route 163 and it’s right on the southern border between Utah and Arizona. The entrance to the park is in Utah, but the valley itself is in the state of Arizona.
If you intend to reach the valley from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, it will take about 3 hours and a half approx.
Another option is to make a stop in Page before arriving at the Park. It is a city in Arizona, about 2 hours from Monument Valley where you will find restaurants, shops and accommodation.
Another option, for those of you who are not considering a trip to Utah or Arizona, but to the state of Colorado , is to visit Monument Valley from Las Vegas. It is a long route of 6h one way + 6h return. And it is quite common to do it on concerted trips, which include full-day excursions. (Although it must be a real beating).
Hours and rates to visit Monument Valley
Rates, annual bonus
The first thing I recommend if you are going to travel to Utah is that you buy the annual pass to access all the national parks in the United States . It’s a real bargain. It costs about 80 dollars, but with it you will have access to all the National Parks of the United States for 12 months. If you are thinking of doing a road trip through Utah, keep in mind that the state is full of them, so if you buy the entrance in each park you will spend 10 times more.
Monument Valley Visitor Center Hours
From April 1 to September 30, access is from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. It is the period considered high season and in addition to higher temperatures. I recommend getting up very early and starting your day in the park at 6 o’clock.
From October 1 to March 30 , it is considered low season and the hours are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Although there are not so many people, nor so hot, it is advisable to start the day early to make the most of your time in the Park.
Thanksgiving – 8am – until noon
Monument Valley Closed December 25 and January 1
Schedules for the Scenic Drive (drive inside the enclosure)
From April 1 to September 30; from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
From October 1 to March 30; from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Fees to enter Monument Valley
General admission: $20 Children 6 and under: Free Per vehicle admission: $20 (up to four people) Additional people: $6
How to visit Monument Valley
You can get to know Monument Valley in different ways:
Tribal Park Loop
It is the best option for those who have a car in good condition. If you are thinking of renting a car to get to know Utah, it is advisable to rent a 4×4.
If you are going to access with your car you will have to pay only 20 dollars per vehicle and you can visit the park at your own pace and stop wherever you want. I assure you that you will be stopping every second, because the entire park is very photogenic.
The Tribal Park Loop is a 27-kilometer scenic circuit where you can see the most popular places in Monument Valley. Although not all the essential places are found, most of them are, and it is a good option where to start to get to know the Park.
It is a circular tour that starts and leaves from the visitor center.
The road is made of dirt and gravel and not very well smoothed, you can find some rocks or vaches, for this reason, it is advisable to rent a 4×4 car. If you opt for a simple car, nothing happens. It is not essential to take a 4×4. You just have to go slower and more carefully in some areas.
Do you want to do a walking route? In Monument Valley you have this option. Although there are several routes of different difficulties and lengths, the Wildcat trail is a very simple path of about 5 kilometers and is the most recommended , especially if you travel in high season (which is when it is hotter) and you don’t feel like walking a lot either.
Apart from accessing the Park with the car throughout the day, in the afternoon before closing, we decided to do this route at sunset. Spectacular! There were not many people, since it is more popular first thing in the morning, and the views of the valley dyed red and the play of lights make this place a very magical place.
Get to know Monument Valley with guided tours
If you do not go with your own car or you go with it but you prefer to do the tour with a guided tour, you have this good alternative.
They are tours guided by the Navajos themselves that take you to the most beautiful points of the valley. You can do them in 4×4 or on horseback. If you can, try to avoid the horseback ride!
These tours are guided at all times and you cannot go on your own. And the tours are not exactly very cheap…the cheapest are usually around 80 dollars, even packages with several activities for about 200 dollars. (Not counting the cost of access to the park).
On the other hand, it is positive to hire a tour, since you will learn more about its history, traditions, legends… and you will stop at beautiful places that you may not see on your own since they go more unnoticed.
We did not reserve any type of activity, after requesting all the information at the visitor center, we preferred to do the first two options, since the guided activities seemed a bit expensive to us. If you dare to do any of these activities, tell me when you come back.
Essential things to see in Monument Valley
Forest Gump Point
If you arrive at Monument Valley from Utah, before entering the Valley you have an impressive viewpoint that you cannot miss. is well signposted and the views will leave you speechless. It will be the perfect letter of introduction to enter a spectacular National Park.
Actually it is not a viewpoint as such, but rather a stop on the side of the road from where you can take a picture of the kilometer-long road in the middle of the desert and the mountains in the distance.
John Ford Point
It is one of the most popular places and you will find it marked on the map (which you can ask for at the visitor center). You can do it with the car route, Tribal Park Loop, or if you book some of the tours. Since it is one for essential.
This viewpoint is known thanks to the western movies directed by John Ford (hence the name).
The viewpoint of the Hotel The View
This is probably the viewpoint with the most beautiful views of the entire Park. From here you will have fantastic and panoramic views of all of Monument Valley.
It’s okay if you don’t stay at the hotel, the viewpoint is free to access. At sunrise and sunset the viewpoint becomes very popular. It is the moment where you will find more people. Still worth a visit.
Tear Drop Arch
To visit this arch you must book the guided tour. It’s a shame you can’t see it for yourself. We could not see it, but impossible to leave it off the list having seen some photos. So if you like it, and you want to see it, you know, you’ll have to book one of the tours.
If you decide not to do any guided tour and you miss it, don’t worry, there is a National Park in Utah that you will love and it is full of reddish rock formations with beautiful arches; You cannot miss The Arches National Park.
West and East Mitten Buttes
West and East Mitten Buttes are two beautiful geological formations. From the viewpoint of The View hotel you can see them well, although from various places in the park they can be seen. Several of the previous photos are of this place, from different points of the park and different times.
What to see near Monument Valley
If you decide not to enter the park, you have other options nearby. Although I recommend that you do not miss Monument Valley, you will enjoy it!
You can visit the Valley of the Gods
There is an alternative if you do not want to visit Monument Valley or if when you visit it you see that there are many people and you prefer something quieter. It is a panoramic route of about 48 km where you can see rock formations identical to those found in Monument Valley Park.
That if, to do this route it is necessary that the car is 4×4 yes or yes. This route is completely free.
Natural Bridges National Monument
Very close to Monument Valley you will find this national monument. It is a curious rock formation that creates a kind of bridge, which you can cross under.
In this area you can park your car nearby and enjoy a nice walk. There are some routes that go deeper, and if you feel like doing a more intense trekking you have the option.
In order to access it is necessary to pay entrance or have the annual National Parks pass. Also, if you have the annual pass, the visit is free.