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Monument Valley Scenic Drive – A Complete Guide

(Last Updated On: April 9, 2021)

Monument Valley is an iconic vacation spot with its scenic drive within the coronary heart of Southwest America. Monument Valley scenic drive has bestowed many travelers with a truly adventurous experience. Nature lovers frequently go back in the lap of Monument Valley for enchanting scenic drives. This article will give a detailed guideline of Monument Valley scenic drive.

The likelihood is when you have seen an outdated Western movie, Forrest Gump, Westworld, or any variety of different motion pictures, then you realize Monument Valley.

Monument Valley scenic drive

And maybe now, greater than ever, due to social media, locations like Monument Valley which might be fairly far from a serious city, are extra well-liked than ever.

Our expertise was a little bit of a blended bag, however, there’s no denying the fantastic thing about the vacation spot, and it’s one we are going to keep in mind for years to come back.

Monument Valley Scenic Drive: Particulars

Location: Northeast border of Arizona/Utah

Nearest Bigger Cities: Moab, Utah – 152 miles; Web page, Arizona – 127 miles

Park Open: 12 months-spherical – there’s a small customer heart on the View Resort, open seven days every week.

Elevation: 5,564 ft.

Park Measurement: 91, 696 acres encompassing elements Arizona and Utah

Admission: $20 for non-commercial automobiles with as much as Four passengers, $6 per particular person after.

Industrial automobiles vary from $35-300 based mostly on a variety of passengers. $10 per particular person for walk-ins, bikes, and bikes. Make sure you at all times verify with the park’s web site for extra data.

Climbing: Permits are required for any backcountry climbing and will not be included inside the Basic Admission buy. As a result of that is sacred tribal land (and basically a Nationwide Park) you will need to apply to Depart No Hint and respect and deal with the park higher than you discovered it.

The park doesn’t enable climbing, drones, tenting (and not using a allow), littering, or cremation inside the park boundaries.

Excursions: Excursions operators are plentiful in Monument Valley and might actually broaden your expertise when you have the time and curiosity to take action.

We opted towards a tour since we have been solely within the space for 24 hours and as an alternative loved the park in our personal car.

You could find an inventory of tour suppliers on the official web site and each motel additionally supplies excursions.

Monument Valley Utah Climate – The best time to visit

Monument Valley has a dry arid local weather and is sizzling in the summertime and chilly within the winter months with little or no rain all year long.

The climate in Monument Valley in November, once we did the scenic drive, was chilly within the mornings and evenings. In the course of the daytime, the climate oscillated between heat and chilly. It was additionally extraordinarily windy once we went in November for Monument Valley scenic drive.

Beneath is a graph of what the climate is like in Monument Valley from NOAA. So when is the very best time to go to Monument Valley? I might suggest spring and fall as a result of it isn’t as crowded and never as sizzling.

Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park Entrance Payment

How a lot does it price to get into Monument Valley? To enter the self-drive scenic loop at Monument Valley the fee is $20 per car.

This may be paid on the entrance to the park or the Monument Valley customer heart. Sadly, we didn’t get to pay the payment as a result of there was nobody on the entrance to the park or the customer’s heart!

We went to the Monument Valley customer heart throughout open hours however nobody was there. Although somebody was capable of giving us a map of Monument Valley Utah.

The associated fee to get into Monument Valley is nicely definitely worth the worth as it’s a scenic drive!

Monument Valley Map

Contained in the Monument Valley customer heart, you possibly can decide up a map of Monument Valley that lists every one of the scenic viewpoints.

There are additionally indicators alongside the street contained in the valley. Additionally, Monument Valley scenic drive as a result of Google Map additionally has labels of the viewpoints. Mobile protection isn’t excellent within the valley so downloading the map beforehand could be very useful.

11 Stops on the Monument Valley Loop Drive

The scenic drive in Monument Valley consists of 11 numbered stops, that are notated on the free map supplied by the Guests Heart. Plan on spending a minimum of two to 4 hours to get probably the most out of the expertise.

After negotiating the steep (and generally tough) first half of mile down Mitchell Mesa into the valley, the Monument Valley street ranges out. Though you’ll learn recommendation {that a} 4-wheel-drive car is important, that’s not the case.

Nevertheless, you do not need to be in a low using car as you can expertise just a few clearance points. And don’t rush—this journey is about taking it gradually to understand (and {photograph}) the view.

1. The Mittens and Merrick Butte

In all probability probably the most simply recognizable of all of the Monument Valley formations, you’ve seen East Mitten, West Mitten and Merrick Butte in numerous pictures. Right here’s your likelihood to take one in your reminiscence guide.

2. Elephant Butte

The street veers to the suitable right here and climbs barely. The sheer sandstone Elephant Butte sits atop a pine ridge. Go gradual, the street is bumpy!

The three sisters (sandstone formations) stand tall in Monument Valley.

Discover the earth’s layers on the base of The Three Sisters

3. Three Sisters

As you possibly can see from this photograph Three Sisters makes an incredible photograph cease. It’s value spending a couple of minutes right here questioning simply how nature completed such a sculpture.
Horses in a corral surrounded by Monument Valley surroundings.

These horses have a beautiful view of John Ford’s Level (cease #4)

4. John Ford’s Level

One other well-known—and barely touristy—cease in Monument Valley, this spot is called for John Ford, director of the film, Stagecoach, starring John Wayne.

Monument Valley has been the situation for a lot of motion pictures and tv exhibits.

Simple Rider and Forrest Gump are two acquainted motion pictures with scenes that have been shot within the valley. However, do you know that Clint Eastwood was filmed atop one of many spires for The Eiger Sanction?

A spur street brings you to John Ford’s Level the place a rocky promontory juts out over the desert providing a commanding view of the place you’ve simply pushed.

The big car parking zone makes for a preferred tour bus cease so arrive early to keep away from the gang.

Spend a short while searching within the Navajo jewelry retailer. You may as well pay $2 to {photograph} a Navajo rider posed on the finish of the promontory.

Even if you happen to aren’t into vacationer spots, it’s nonetheless value spending a brief period of time right here in the Monument Valley scenic drive.

From this level on, the street turns into one-way.

5. Camel Butte

Not as picturesque as a number of the different stops nevertheless it’s value noting that you’re on the highest level of the drive.

You’ll discover filth tracks main off in a number of instructions. It’s tempting to enterprise off to discover them however don’t as your entry solely permits entry to Valley Drive.

Pink rock pinnacle formations at cease #6 in Monument Valley.

6. The Hub

You’ve arrived at a 150-foot excessive solitary spire that sits in the course of a valley. You may as well see Rain God Mesa, Elephant Butte, and The Three Sisters.

Totem pole formations with Hunt Mesa rising behind in Monument Valley.

Hunt Mesa looms behind Yei Bi Chei and Totem Pole formations (cease #7)

7. Totem Pole and Yei be Chei

When you’re on the lookout for a photogenic spot in Monument Valley, that is one in all my favorites.

The Totem Pole spire sits beside the Yei be Chei formations with Hunts Mesa hulking within the background.

The bottom turns into more and more sandy on this a part of Monument Valley.

8. Totem Pole and Sand Spring

The orange-red dunes of Sand Spring are the rationale for pulling into the parking space on the fringe of Spearhead Mesa. After admiring the dunes flip 360 levels for extra views of Totem Pole and Yei be Chei.

Blowing sand is usually a drawback on this a part of the drive. However, that sand additionally supplies the chance for photographing some cool patterns.

The sandstone formations as seen from Artist’s Level in Monument Valley.

Closeup view from Artist’s Level (cease #9)

9. Artist’s Level

Sitting on the sting of a plateau, Artist’s Level supplies views of East and West Mittens, Merrick Butte and an enormous expanse of desert. Deliver your zoom lens and keep awhile. Or maybe it’s time for the picnic lunch that you simply packed.

View of Monument Valley wanting via a tree department.

A creative look via North Window (cease #10)

10. North Window

When you’ve parked the automotive, taking a photograph of East Mitten—you possibly can’t see the thumb from this angle—via the branches of an outdated tree stump is a should.

Stroll the 1/Three mile filth path to see precisely why North Window is the most well-liked, and probably crowded, cease on the drive. Now you realize why I recommended unpacking your lunch at Artist’s Level.

11. The Thumb

A stone monument that’s true to its title, The Thumb is the final cease in your Monument Valley driving journey. However, I’ve yet another suggestion.

As your car climbs up the rocky street onto Mitchell mesa, look again in awe at on the pure surprise that you simply witnessed. Do you continue to have sufficient power for a hike?

Earlier than leaving Monument Valley, get out of the automotive for the three.2-mile Wildcat Nature Stroll around West Mitten Butte. Don’t neglect to carry water!

How A lot of Time Do You Want in Monument Valley

We might suggest staying a minimum of one night time in Monument Valley. The Valley Drive will solely take you 2-Four hours so it might be a cease in your street journey.

However, the benefit of staying in a single day is you may have the prospect of catching dawn and sundown.

Utah is filled with gorgeous parks and hikes, so when you have the time I’d try a number of the finest hikes in Arches Nationwide Park.

Monument Valley Scenic Drive vs Guided Tour

Depends upon your choice, if you think to drive by yourself, you can, otherwise having a guide is good. Monument Valley scenic drive SUV, as well as Sedan or Regular Automotive, are available.

Driving the Scenic Loop at Monument Valley

So what’s it like driving via Monument Valley? The descent into the valley was relatively steep however after that, it was just about a bit of cake.

The roads via unpaved have been fairly easy and weren’t an issue for any of the automobiles driving via. Driving via Monument Valley was in contrast to something I’ve skilled earlier than.

The buttes and mesas elevating out of the bottom positively look prehistoric. At each flip, I anticipated a dinosaur to come out at us with Monument Valley scenic drive.

monument valley scenic drive

Favorite Monument Valley Scenic Drive View Factors

Of the 17 factors of curiosity alongside the Monument Valley scenic drive loop, our favorite was the primary cease which supplies you grand views of the Mittens and John Ford’s level.

At John Ford’s level, there’s a bit of stand that sells scrumptious Navajo fried bread and sizzling espresso. Positively cease right here for a chew in your Monument Valley scenic drive as a result of the fried bread dusted with powdered sugar was scrumptious.

Monument Valley was tremendous windy in November once we went so we ate this within the automotive as an alternative of the benches within the space.

How lengthy does it take to Monument Valley scenic drive

We spent around Three to three.5 hours doing the Monument Valley scenic drive and this was greater than sufficient time.

This included stopping off and taking photos at every level and driving at a relatively gradual pace. You possibly can completely do it in 2 if you happen to have been a bit extra frugal together with your time than us.

You’ll positively need to make it again in time to catch the sundown at The View Resort although as a result of it’s spectacular.

Monument Valley Excursions

There are a number of Monument Valley excursions provided by Navajo tour guides. There are areas in Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park that solely Navajo guides have entry to and are allowed to take vacationers.

These restricted websites positively value a go-to if we had extra time, however, we solely had one full day right here. We additionally thought-about doing a dawn images tour however the Monument Valley scenic drive was sufficient for us.

Dawn and Sundown at Monument Valley

Although dawn and sundown are each speculated to be spectacular at Monument Valley, we noticed neither as a result of it was overcast for each.

So even if you happen to do guide a dawn tour, simply keep in mind you possibly can’t management the climate and there could also be no dawn or sundown to see at Monument Valley due to thick cloud cowl.

Even without the dawn and sundown views, Monument Valley was unbelievable expertise and I might suggest a minimum of sooner or later right here to discover throughout your Arizona or Utah Street Journey.

Extra Monument Valley Journey Suggestions

When is the very best time to go to Monument Valley? Fall and spring present probably the comfiest temperatures, particularly September/October and April/Might. Keep away from the summertime months, if you happen to can, as it’s sizzling within the desert.

Is a Monument Valley Guided Tour value it? As I discussed earlier, these selecting the Monument Valley self-guided tour should keep on the primary street.

The following time Alan and I go to the realm, we’ll guide a piece of Navajo information for a visit on the Thriller Valley Tour.

Personal excursions supply entry to petroglyphs, Anasazi dwellings, a few sandstone arches, and extra rock formations.

Some excursions embody an evening of communing with nature whereas tenting below the celebrities on Hunts Mesa during Monument Valley scenic drive

Though the surroundings are gorgeous in its personal proper, the true that means of a visit to Monument Valley comes when one learns in regards to the tradition and historical past from the Navajo viewpoint.

Monument Valley Scenic Drive: Forrest Gump Level

Our final ceases on the way in which out of Monument Valley was at Forrest Gump Level. The spot made well-known by the film is the situation the place Forrest Gump stopped working at Monument Valley scenic drive.

Situated simply north of Monument Valley alongside the way in which to Mexican Hat, and our eventual vacation spot of Moab, an indication marks the spot so you possibly can’t miss it.

And naturally, you possibly can anticipate a variety of vacationers and photographers to be stopped right here as nicely.

Issues to Do Close to Monument Valley

Irrespective of the way you arrive, it takes effort to go to Monument Valley. So that you may as nicely benefit from being on this space of the American West to go to close by points of interest. Right here’s what to see and do:

Canyon de Chelly Nationwide Monument, about 1.5 hours away in Chinlé, AZ, gives one other scenic have a look at Navajo historical past.

Drive the rim street by yourself, with a cease to hike all the way down to White Home Ruins Path (the one permitted canyon entry and not using a piece of information).

Nevertheless, I like to recommend reserving a guided tour into the canyon to see Spider Lady Rock or Mummy’s Cave. Guests can’t drive into the canyon unescorted.

Navajo Nationwide Monument, about 1 hour away close to Shonto, AZ, is dwelling to 2 prehistoric Pueblan villages: Betatakin and Keet Seel.

The villages are constructed into the partitions of Tsetgi Canyon. A paved rim path close to the customer’s heart gives good views.

Or take one of many guided, strenuous hikes (5-mile-round journey or 3-mile-round journey) for a more in-depth have a look at Betatakin.

Situated within the backcountry, climbing the 17-mile-round-trip hike to Keet Seel is restricted to 20 folks per day and requires a allow.

Valley of the Gods, about an hour up the street in Mexican Hat, UT, is a mini Monument Valley. You’ll discover the identical stunning surroundings without the crowds or distributors.

The loop street is tough in locations, plus it crosses a number of washes. Nevertheless, the isolation is nicely definitely worth the trouble. High off your drive by staying at Valley of the Gods Mattress and Breakfast.

Pure Bridges Nationwide Monument, about 1. 5 hours away in southern Utah, gives three sandstone arches to discover, in addition to loads of climbing.

Named the primary Worldwide Darkish Sky Park, Pure Bridges gives gorgeous views of the night time sky. Add to the journey by driving the Moki Dugway to Cedar Mesa and on to Pure Bridges in Monument Valley scenic drive.

Monument Valley Scenic Drive: Getting There

Monument Valley sits on the northeast border between Arizona and Utah, on Navajo Tribal Lands. Irrespective of the vacation spot you’re touring from, anticipate a reasonably lengthy drive to succeed in the distant location.

On our journey, we left from a Web page, Arizona and made the simply over two-hour drive into Monument Valley.

A web page is a comparatively good-sized city, contemplating its location, however, if you’re looking for a bit extra, the choices are Flagstaff, Arizona (Three hours, southwest) or Moab, Utah (2 hours and 45 minutes, northeast).

When you’re flying in, the very best airports are Las Vegas (411 miles, 6 hours and 45 minutes), Phoenix (326 miles, 5 hours – we flew in right here), Salt Lake Metropolis (390 miles, 6 hours and 30 minutes), and Albuquerque (329 miles, 5 hours and 20 minutes).

Remember the fact that regional airports like Flagstaff and Grand Junction, Colorado additionally exist, however flights are typically much less frequent and extra pricey.

Monument Valley Scenic Drive: The place to Keep and Eat

Situated on the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, means that you’re in essence visiting a Navajo Nationwide Park. As with most U.S. based mostly National Parks, lodging choices are restricted for many who need to keep close to or within the park as well as in Monument Valley scenic drive.

The 2 fundamental choices to select from are The View Resort, which is situated inside the park’s boundaries, and Goulding’s Lodge.

We opted to remain on the latter, on account of our considerably last-minute journey plans. Driving from the Lodge to Monument Valley is a straightforward 7.5 miles and took us about 20 minutes.

Goulding’s Lodge: The Room

Our expertise at Goulding’s Lodge was blended. The room we booked was Queen mattress, and whereas purposeful for our one night time keep, was additionally comparatively small.

For a lodge, you might depend on this room within the motel class, which was high quality given the size of our keep and the shut proximity to the park for the best Monument Valley scenic drive.

Their web site advertises just a few villas and “residence” type choices which look to be a bit extra spacious, and one thing we’d possibly go for if we discovered ourselves within the space once more.

Goulding’s Lodge: Eating

In the identical vein as most Nationwide Parks, you’re usually on the mercy of the motels for eating lodging, and Monument Valley isn’t any exception. Stagecoach Restaurant is its three meal-a-day choices.

They provide a salad bar, and whereas we often like to combine in a salad on our street journeys, the choices didn’t look appetizing.

Goulding’s Lodge: Every little thing Else

With Monument Valley being situated a little bit of a drive from the whole lot, yow will discover fairly a bit at Goulding’s Lodge at Monument Valley scenic drive

Along with the lodging and eating choices described above, in addition, they supply: gasoline, groceries, laundry amenities, RV and tenting, a museum, an Earth theater heart, and excursions.

Do you have to choose to remain on the View Resort, know that in addition, they have a restaurant, museum, buying and selling submit (i.e. native presents), RV and tenting, in addition to excursions?

On the View Resort, since you are bodily inside the borders of Monument Valley, the views from the rooms will likely be spectacular, which suggests you possibly can roll away from bed to catch the dawn.

View Resort is good for its location. Bringing personal meals is a good option during Monument Valley scenic drive.

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