Scenic driving information adapted from Scenic Driving Utah (Globe Pequot Press). Otherwise, no real seasonal distinctions can be made, and driving poses no impediments for any sort of vehicle. The visitor center parking lot teems with local jeep tour companies, eager to whisk you off on guided tours of varying duration and difficulty. There were areas that were a … The road veers to the right here and climbs slightly. To make the most of a Monument Vally drive, arrive before the sun rises. Monument Valley, a red-sand desert region on the Arizona-Utah border, is known for the towering sandstone buttes of Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. The namesake formation for the town of Mexican Hat is actually about 1.5 miles north of town on the left, well marked and with good dirt roads leading right to it. After 21 miles you reach the well-marked turnoff on the left for the tribal visitor center at Monument Valley. The paved road to Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park crosses the Utah-Arizona stateline, passes the entrance booth … Please visit the park website for up-to-date information - https://navajonationparks.org/tribal-parks/monument-valley/ Users have reported that this trail passes through private property. Here are the viewpoints: 1. Additionally, the park has two trails for hiking and 11 lookout points. 2 h 9 m. Note: As of December 2020 the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park is closed due to COVID-19. Highway 261 will take you south back to U.S. 163, but there are some things to see along Highway 261 so consider taking more side trips. The park features an unpaved 17 mile loop drive which travels through scenic Monument Valley. And don’t rush—this journey is about taking it slow to appreciate (and photograph) the view. The Totem Pole spire sits beside the Yei be Chei formations with Hunts Mesa hulking in the background. The 17-mile loop drive on (mostly good) dirt road is suitable for all but the most low-slung passenger vehicles in good weather. Elephant Butte. We've visited monument valley several times over the years, we never got to do the tribal loop drive. The tour brochure is usually available there. Not as picturesque as some of the other stops but it’s worth noting that you are at the highest point of the drive. The main thing to do in Monument Valley, in winter or otherwise, is driving the Tribal Park Loop, a 17-mile scenic loop drive taking in all the best scenic viewpoints around Monument Valley. Although you can drive the road through Monument Valley yourself, for a deeper experience, hire a guide. 11:51. General admission to drive the 17-mile scenic loop road is $20 per car for up to 4 people, ages 9 or younger are free (make sure to confirm information before you go!) Another well-known—and slightly touristy—stop in Monument Valley, this spot is named for John Ford, director of the movie, Stagecoach, starring John Wayne. Review of Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. All Navajo Nation parks, including Monument Valley, are currently closed until further notice. You’ll notice dirt tracks leading off in several directions. Near Goulding's Lodge (west of the Monument Valley Tribal Park), this road divides into two, one called Oljeto Road, and another called Rock Door Canyon Road. For access to the loop road through the valley a fee of $20 per car has to be paid. THE TRIBAL PARK IS CLOSED FOR OCTOBER, 2020. © 2020 MY ITCHY TRAVEL FEET | DESIGN BY KALEIDOSCOPE DESIGN STUDIO | DEVELOPMENT BY RTW LABS, A boomer travel and lifestyle authority who is exploring the world one activity at a time. After driving through the gap in this striking formation, it is definitely worth stopping to look back and study the impressive natural barrier more carefully. To escape the tourist crowd, drive 33 miles north on Highway 163 to Valley of the Gods Bed and Breakfast. WE WILL STILL BE OPERATING SCENIC TOURS IN OTHER AREAS IN MONUMENT VALLEY. Trailers and large RVs will find the long climb to Muley Point nerve-racking, but the steep switchbacks and unbeatable scenery make this one of the most thrilling drives in the state. It’s one of our all-time favorite adventures in the American Southwest. For access to the loop road through the valley a fee of $20 per car has to be paid. There is a park entrance fee ($20); it is definitely worth a visit. Of course we have plenty of travel tips to make your trip to Oljato-Monument Valley (the official Navajo name), the best it can be. According to Tripadvisor travelers, these are the best ways to experience Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park: Monument Valley Tour (From $90.00) 2.5 Hour Guided Tour of Monument Valley (From $75.00) Sunset Tour of Monument Valley (From $85.00) Monument Valley Extended Backcountry Tour … Monumental Valley OHV Loop [CLOSED] is a 5.1 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Kayenta, Arizona that offers scenic views and is good for all skill levels. Monument Valley, Utah, USA Tribal Park Loop This 17-mile loop, also referred to as the Valley Drive, is a scenic drive past some of the most popular sites in Monument Valley. The Hub. It is incredibly quiet, and watching the moon rise here is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It is hot at the height of summer in this corner of the state. Although Gouldings doesn’t have the same killer view, you’ll be surrounded by legends of the historic trading post turned lodge. You will descend into theValley and walk entirelyaround the […] Read our DISCLOSURE. Or continue even a few miles farther north to Desert Rose Inn in Bluff, Utah (a step above the rest quality wise, in my opinion). It’s tempting to venture off to explore them but don’t as your entry only allows access to Valley Drive. Monument Valley & Four Corners are currently closed until further notice. A scenic drive in Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park on the border of Arizona and Utah places you in the middle of nature’s wonderland of spires, buttes and red rock creations. Located in the Navajo Nation within the Navajo Tribal Park, Monument Valley is a spiritual place held sacred by the Navajo people. The loop finishes on Highway 261 (paved) just south of the descent from the Moki Dugway and north of the turnoff for Goosenecks State Park. According to Tripadvisor travellers, these are the best ways to experience Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park: Monument Valley Tour (From US$90.00) 2.5 Hour Guided Tour of Monument Valley (From US$75.00) Sunset Tour of Monument Valley (From US$85.00) Monument Valley Extended Backcountry Tour (From US$90.00) You can drive the loop and wander around within reason, but do not go off the tracks. It would be a shame to miss this fascinating attraction. About Monument Valley Tribal Park. As your vehicle climbs up the rocky road onto Mitchell mesa, look back in awe at at the natural wonder that you’ve just witnessed. The sheer sandstone Elephant Butte sits atop a red ridge. That’s how Alan and I began our boomer travel adventure. Avoid the summer months, if you can, as it is hot in the desert. National Park passes will not be accepted. All Rights Reserved. I like Coppertone Sport (click here for current price on Amazon) because it’s water resistant so it doesn’t sweat off. It is known to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world! The small, basic (no drinking water) campground here fills up quickly. The turnoff for Goosenecks State Park is on Highway 261 about 8 miles south of the Moki Dugway on the right (on your left if coming up from U.S. 163). The red rock formations range from 100 to 1,000 feet tall. Please adhere to local guidelines for safe and responsible travel, including following the statewide mask mandate. AVAILABLE TOURS. You can also see Rain God Mesa, Elephant Butte and The Three Sisters. In 1864, after a long period of hostility between the Navajo and white settlers, the Navajo were forcibly evicted from their home in the Four Corners region and made to march east across New Mexico. But the best part, driving in Monument Valley is easy to do on your own. This is a 17 mile/25 km guided tour of the Valley Loop Drive taking 1.5 hours to complete. Many travelers approach the park via historic Bluff, Utah: This stretch of road on U.S. 163 is beauty on a grand scale. After negotiating the steep (and sometimes rough) first 1/2 mile down Mitchell Mesa into the valley, the Monument Valley road levels out. Although the scenery is stunning in its own right, the real meaning of a trip to Monument Valley comes when one learns about the culture and history from the Navajo point of view. Numbers indicate the main stops along the Valley Drive - the scenic road through Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park: The Mittens and Merrick Butte. Perhaps more than any other Native American group, the Navajo have adapted to modern American society while retaining much of their traditional way of life. We report on active travel adventures so that you know what to expect. Before leaving Monument Valley, get out of the car for the 3.2-mile Wildcat Nature Walk around West Mitten Butte. Hiking in Monument Valley The Wildcat Trail is the only hiking trail inside the Tribal Park that visitors can hike unescorted by authorized Navajo guides – it departs from The View Hotel. Length: 5.4 mi • Est. Here’s what to see and do: Planning a trip to Utah? Check for official details. Probably the most easily recognizable of all the Monument Valley formations, you’ve seen East Mitten, West Mitten and Merrick Butte in countless photographs. The little town of Mexican Hat has depended largely on several minor oil and mining booms; today it benefits from the fair stream of tourists to this remote corner of Utah. There is a nice picnic area with a few primitive campsites (free) here but no water. There are no established campgrounds and no facilities, but there are plenty of places to camp in the wild. Are you planning a road trip in the American Southwest? The trail is primarily used for nature trips and ohv/off road driving. Monument Valley is a Navajo Tribal park (not a USA National Park) - National Park passes will not be accepted. On the unpaved roads of the scenic drive, high-clearance vehicles are recommended: Those who travel by tour bus, motorcycle, low rider and most regular passenger vehicles, however, will find this scenic drive inaccessible. Bluff is a peaceful place whose biggest attraction is San Juan River excursions. When the medicine man learned of the affair, he turned the vaquero to stone. Monument Valley, UT/AZ – The Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park spans the Utah/Arizona Border near Four Corners and is located off of Utah Highway 163. Local legend tells of the love of a young Mexican vaquero for a Native American maiden who, alas, was already married to an evil old medicine man. Totem Pole and Sand Springs. and includes a free Monument Valley drive map. Its mesas and spires are formed of the same Cedar Mesa sandstone as the somewhat larger formations at Monument Valley. The overlook at the park will reward you with one of the most impressive views of entrenched river meanders in all of North America. Definitely consider driving this beautiful, lonely loop—though not in a large RV and not dragging a trailer. Length 5.1 miElevation gain 269 ftRoute type Loop (If you haven’t taken the Valley of the Gods option, turn right off U.S. 163 and head north on Highway 261 for about 9 miles to get here.). The orange-red dunes of Sand Spring are the reason for pulling into the parking area at the edge of Spearhead Mesa. This sandy preserve bathes the region between Arizona and Utah in rich red hues, adding to its reputation of having some of the most dramatic and mesmerizing light. Still, the perpetual wave of tourism must at times seem annoying; perhaps some feel somewhat uncomfortable with the idea that the homeland for which they struggled so hard remains subject to constant invasion, albeit of a more friendly sort. The landscape overwhelms, not just by its beauty but also by its size. You are experiencing one of the most majestic – and most photographed – points on earth. If you’re looking for a photogenic spot in Monument Valley, this is one of my favorites. Four Corners Monument - CLOSED until further notice. Additionally individuals wishing to hike in the valley or to visit sites not on the loop road must hire a Navajo guide for an additional fee. Both accommodations make a great headquarters for visiting other sites in the area such as Valley of the Gods, Goosenecks State Park, Cedar Mesa, Natural Bridges National Monument, and Canyon de Chelly among many others. Love Your RV 20,114 views. Watch carefully for the Sand Island Road, on the left, just before the major turnoff for Mexican Water. However, you do not want to be in a low riding vehicle as you could experience a few clearance issues. As mentioned, the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park is the land of the local Navajo. It’s considered the heart of the earth to the Navajo; a land with arguably the most breathtaking view in … The loop includes 11 numbered viewpoints and you can expect to spend between 2-4 hours in the park. It’s worth spending a few minutes here wondering just how nature accomplished such a sculpture. When done with these side trips, return south to U.S. 163. Besides writing and publishing, Luxury Cruise Reviews for Small Ship Cruisers, The Ultimate Guide to a Monument Valley Scenic Drive, Arrive early in the morning for a sunrise photo shoot, The 11 Stops on the Monument Valley Loop Drive, Frequently asked questions about Monument Valley, How to Visit Valley of the Gods in Southeastern Utah. No, you won’t be able to begin the drive, but you don’t want to miss the chance to photograph the sun rising behind East and West Mittens. Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park | Austen Diamond Weather: Mostly Clear, 28F The Wildcat Trail is a 3.2-mile loop hike (4 miles total, including the return) into one of the most scenic areas that Monument Valley has to offer. Although you’ll read advice that a 4-wheel-drive vehicle is necessary, that’s not the case. If you agree with me, then plan to stay at The View (the Navajo hotel at Monument Valley) or Gouldings Lodge. Note especially the Bluff library, a fine old stone building. Easy Rider and Forrest Gump are two familiar movies with scenes that were shot in the valley. Kayenta is the closest town (23 miles to the south) with lodging; but I’d rather wake up with a Monument Valley view outside my window.If you agree with me, then plan to stay at The View (the Navajo hotel at Monument Valley) or Gouldings Lodge. It is a dirt and gravel road that starts and ends at the Monument Valley Visitor Center. You’ll learn about Navajo history and culture, plus have access to off-limit areas. Admittance hours change according to the season, so check here when planing your trip. Boomer travelers rely on our weekly email newsletter for fresh travel inspiration, tips, and advice. The Navajo comprise the largest Native American tribe, and the Navajo Nation is the largest reservation in the country. The valley’s more out-of-the-way spots can only be reached with a guide, but you can hike the Wildcat Trail to get an up-close view of some monuments. Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park is located on the Navajo Nation—one of the largest American Indian tribes. Even if you aren’t into tourist spots, it’s still worth spending a short amount of time here. One excellent example of this is embodied in the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. But that sand also provides the opportunity for photographing some cool patterns. Monument Valley tours from Native American guides take you deeper into Monument Valley, with areas only accessible by guides. Plan on spending at least two to four hours to get the most out of the experience. Walk the 1/3 mile dirt path to see exactly why North Window is the most popular, and potentially crowded, stop on the drive. Today the Navajo are a friendly, hospitable people, proud of their desert home, rich culture, and beautiful crafts. Inspiring boomers one adventure at a time. Spend a short time browsing in the Navajo jewelry store. So you might as well take advantage of being in this area of the American West to visit nearby attractions. Three Sisters. The San Juan River snakes for more than 5 miles here in its deeply cut canyon to cover just 1 mile as the crow flies. Monument Valley has been the location for many movies and television shows. There is little question you'll love Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park's world-renowned scenic drives, whether you explore the self-guided part or book a deeper exploration with a Navajo guide. Valley of the Gods is like a miniature version of Monument Valley without people. Go slow, the road is bumpy! A spur road brings you to John Ford’s Point where a rocky promontory juts out over the desert offering a commanding view of where you’ve just driven. The dirt road is a bit rough -- not recommended for low-slung sports cars or vehicles longer than 24 feet, although it is passable for smaller motor homes. To see the impressive Muley Point overlook’s expansive views, turn right on Highway 261 off the Valley of the Gods scenic drive and immediately climb the 1,000-foot graded gravel road up the Moki Dugway. Monument Valley Road leads to the Monument Valley Tribal Park itself and the Monument Valley visitor center. Wildcat Trail Walking Tour: Greet Father Sun by taking the Wildcat Trail Walking Tour. While the Navajo have long been considered one of the most peaceful of the Native American nations, during the middle part of the 19th century they were a fierce and powerful people who caused more trouble for the invading white Anglo-Americans than almost any other indigenous group. It’s about 16 miles from Bluff to the eastern entrance, on the right, of Valley of the Gods, a highly recommended side trip. The fragile pinnacles of rock are surrounded by miles of mesas and buttes, shrubs and trees, and windblown sand, all comprising the magnificent colors of the valley. Monument Valley from the valley floor Monument Valley is officially a large area that includes much of the area surrounding Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, a Navajo Nation equivalent to a national park. Once you’ve parked the car, taking a photo of East Mitten—you can’t see the thumb from this perspective—through the branches of an old tree stump is a must. Monument Valley is a special place for other reasons, too. This tour excursion includes cinematic/movie locations and the famous scenic overlooks every visitor should experience and see. Monument Valley Tribal Park Welcome to the Navajo Nation’s Monument Valley Park. The park, frequently a filming location for Western movies, is accessed by the looping, 17-mile Valley Drive. No spam, unsubscribe anytime. Good literature on the park and the drive is available at the visitor center. You’ve arrived at a 150-foot high solitary spire that sits in the middle of a valley. Yet the beauty of this land spirals well beyond the borders of the Navajo sacred lands, no matter where you start. Tribal Park Loop. Some tours include a night of communing with nature while camping under the stars on Hunts Mesa. Goulding's will continue to offer tours in the surrounding areas such as Tear Drop Arch, lodging, restaurant, grocery store, convenience store, museum and theater. The next time Alan and I visit the area, we’ll book a Navajo guide for a trip on the Mystery Valley Tour.Private tours offer access to petroglyphs, Anasazi dwellings, a couple of sandstone arches and more rock formations. Do you still have enough energy for a hike? Grab your camera (I use a Panasonic Lumix) and let’s get started! After admiring the dunes turn 360 degrees for more views of Totem Pole and Yei be Chei. Lodging tips and other travel suggestions are included at the end so keep reading. As I mentioned earlier, those choosing the Monument Valley self-guided tour must stay on the main road. Monument Valley is located about 50 miles south of Bluff, UT on US highway 163. The next 25 miles are among the most attractive highway stretches in the entire country, memorialized in many films over the years. At nearby Sand Island Recreation Area, 2 miles past Bluff, an excellent Anasazi petroglyph panel features five representations of Kokopelli, the humpbacked flute-player. Arriving early also gives you a chance to try Navajo fry-bread for breakfast at the View Restaurant in the Visitors Center before the 17-mile road through Monument Valley, opens for traffic. Visitors must stay near the road and are not allowed to hike toward any of the formations unless accompanied by a paid guide. Valley Drive, Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. Don’t forget to bring water! The Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park maintains a visitor center, campground and restaurant, with Navajo-guided tours operating from the visitor center and Goulding's Lodge. Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, USA in 4K Ultra HD - Duration: 10:43. Kayenta is the closest town (23 miles to the south) with lodging; but I’d rather wake up with a Monument Valley view outside my window. Don’t forget to sign up for our Road Trip Newsletter for the best road trip itineraries, interesting destinations, valuable tips and road trip gear. You can also pay $2 to photograph a Navajo rider posed at the end of the promontory. The Utah section of the 25,000-acre Navajo Nation is home to a small portion of the Navajo’s nearly 300,000 members. Continue straight on U.S. 163. Oljato, for example, is also within the area designated as Monument Valley. Sitting on the edge of a plateau, Artist’s Point provides views of East and West Mittens, Merrick Butte and a vast expanse of desert. Further determination will be made on January 1, 2021. Information - https: //navajonationparks.org/tribal-parks/monument-valley/ Users have reported that this trail passes through private property did know... - Duration: 10:43 Forrest Gump are two familiar movies with scenes that were a … Monument Valley or. On spending at least two to four hours to complete the main.. 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