Monument Valley is an area of free standing sandstone rock forms that rise majestically from the desert floor. Up to 1,000 feet tall, they create a truly magical desert landscape. The beauty of the area is a fact well documented by the numerous Western movies and television commercials for which Monument Valley has served as a backdrop. (So whether or not you were aware of it, you have very likely already seen Monument Valley.)
One of the easiest ways to see the area is along an unpaved 17-mile road which provides a scenic drive through the dramatic vistas. Although the drive is along a dirt road, most cars should be able to handle the path even if they are not 4 wheel drive (excluding low clearance vehicles, and, of course, weather permitting). The route can be completed from 30 minutes to an hour, but allow yourself a few hours to truly enjoy the views and stop for photos. Visitors are not allowed to stray from the main road or otherwise explore without a guide. To access the road, a modest entrance fee ($5 per person) must be paid at the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park Visitor Center. Some of the highlights along the route include John Ford’s Point, East and West Mitten Buttes, Artist’s Point, Totem Pole, The Three Sisters, and Elephant’s Butte.
You can also take a number of vehicle tours through the park with highly authoritative guides. Such guides also lead groups through unforgettable hiking experiences, often several days in length. Tours (provided by local Navajo guides) are an excellent way to see rock formations up close and learn the geology and history of the area. Tours are offered via jeep, horseback riding, hiking, and in some cases a combination of more than one. The cost of tours varies depending on type and duration, and there are usually upwards of 20 tour companies or personal guides to choose from in the Monument Valley area.
Most Monument valley hotel and lodging options lie outside the park in nearby towns such as Bluff (47 miles), Blanding (81 miles), and Monticello (102 miles) in Utah, and Kayenta (26 miles) in Arizona. However, there a couple hotel options inside the park or very nearby, as well as campgrounds and RV Parks.
Where is Monument Valley? It is located along the Utah/Arizona border towards the southeast corner of Utah, just east of Highway 163. The nearest towns are Mexican Hat, Utah—24 miles north east on Highway 163, and Kayenta, Arizona—26 miles south on Highway 163. The Monument Valley area is not only encompassed in the Navajo Tribal Park but is spread across the Utah/Arizona border, and includes the town of Oljato. There are several national parks and monuments near Monument Valley including Canyonlands National Park (216 miles), Four Corners Monument (105 miles), Hovenweep National Monument (91 miles), and Navajo National Monument (56 miles).
To learn more about Monument Valley lodging, tours, activities, and more, select a topic of interest from the list on the left.
Time Zone Note: The Navajo Reservation adjusts their clocks for daylight savings time, while the rest of Arizona does not.