New travelers to the Western USA have read about this popular destination, but want to know things like "Where is Monument Valley?"
Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park is located in extreme southeastern Utah, on the northern border of Arizona. It is operated by the Navajo Nation, not the National Park Service. The monument is reached via U.S. Highway 163 from the north or south. Moab lies 148 miles, or 3 hours, to the north. Monument Valley is about 5 hours driving time from Phoenix.
What can I expect to see in Monument Valley?
The valley is host to towering sandstone rock formations that have been sculpted over time and soar 400 to 1,000 feet above the valley floor. Combined with the surrounding mesas, buttes, and desert environment, Monument Valley is one of the natural wonders of the world.
|Scene at the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park|
Over the years, Monument Valley has been the locale for the filming of numerous movies starring such film legends as John Wayne. Scenes in movies such as Stagecoach, Back to the Future Part III, Easy Rider 2001: A Space Odyssey and Forrest Gump have been been filmed in the valley.
Can I drive my car or SUV through Monument Valley?
Visitors may explore the 17-mile scenic drive through the park in private vehicles or book a half-day or full-day jeep tour to explore the area's backroads and sacred lands with the help of a local guide.
The road passes many notable features, including the Mitten Buttes, Three Sisters, Yei-bi-chai, North Window, and the famous Totem Pole. Passenger cars can drive the road, although care must be taken in loose sand and rocky areas. No hiking or driving off the posted track is allowed.
We have driven the scenic dirt road twice, both times in a high-clearance SUV. We would not attempt the drive in a low-clearance sedan, although visitors do it all the time.
We have also toured the Goulding Film and Cultural History Museum at Goulding's Lodge.
|Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, with the 17-mile road seen below
During our most recent trip to Monument Valley, we stayed at the historic Goulding's Lodge, located across Highway 163 from the Tribal Park. It features a restaurant, large gift shop, swimming pool, sundeck, and museum on site, as well as an RV park. Phone the lodge at 435.727.3231 for more information.
Another option is The View Hotel, operated by the Navajo and situated adjacent to the park's Visitor Center. An RV park is also available onsite. Phone 435.727.5555 for information.
On previous visits to Monument Valley, we stayed at the Hampton Inn in Kayenta, Arizona, 23 miles to the south.
Lodging At Monument Valley
Other Lodging in the Monument Valley Area
|View from Goulding's Lodge
View of Monument Valley from Goulding's Restaurant
The "Classic" western view ... on the road to the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park
Entrance sign at the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park
Visitor Center at the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park
Three Sisters at the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park
Popular Utah National Parks
The Moki Dugway is a steep, gravel three mile road located in southeastern Utah, traversing 1,200 feet from the top of Cedar Mesa to the broad valley below. The road is actually part of Utah Highway 261, most of which is paved.
The gravel section of 261, the Moki Dugway, is well maintained and open all year, but road closures can occur, so be sure to check conditions before traveling to this area. During and after a rain or snow storm, the road may be impassable, even with a four-wheel-drive vehicle and can easily get muddy if it rains making it challenging to get through.
|Aerial view of the Moki Dugway in Utah, seen from the top of Cedar Mesa, with the Valley of the Gods below|