Highlights: iconic landscape, hiking, Navajo culture, the perfect place for artists, crimson mesas
Who: Everyone, especially travelers and artists
What: Monument Valley
Where: remote area on the Utah/Arizona border
When: May to September: 6:00 a.m.–8:00 p.m. / October to April: 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Entry Fee: $8 per person, per day.
Monument Valley is undeniably one of the most iconic landscapes in the American Northwest. Although not so popular, this place offers many possibilities: from crimson mesas drawn with natural colors to beautiful pristine desert topography. It is located on the remote border between Utah and Arizona. It’s full of monolithic wonders – Mittens, Elephant Buttes, and Totem Pole, to name a few.
It is not considered a typical national park but it is still worth seeing and offers plenty of things to do. For instance, you can go for a Monument Valley scenic drive, abundant with breathtaking stops that will surely sweep you off your feet. Alternatively, you can opt for Monument Valley guided tour since the park has so many hidden gems that are absolutely worth visiting! This is just a small taste of what you can expect from this fantastic place, but rest assured, there are a lot more things to do in Monument Valley!
History and Culture
History tells about the Navajo Nation who lived in these areas. There are still remnants of this civilization that speaks of their architecture, legends, tradition, homemade jewelry, crafts, and cuisine. This nation also had a talent for painting, and there are many interesting drawings that are testament to that. Because art has seemed to be a constant feature of this majestic place, Monument Valley poses a haven for painters and photographers, especially those with a deep passion for capturing outstanding landscapes.
What Is The Best Time To Visit Monument Valley?
Summer days are the most crowded, and temperatures climb to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. If possible, try to avoid the summer period, especially midday.
Additionally, there are better times to visit than winter. The temperatures are freezing, and many parts of the area are often difficult to pass.
For the best experience, choose the months from March to May or September to November. Enjoy long shadows created by nature itself and rocks. The average spring and fall temperatures are 80 degrees and 70 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively.
How To Get To Monument Valley?
The closest cities are Kayenta, Arizona, or Mexican Hat (20 min ride).
One of the most feasible options is a car or a rental car.
Take advantage of Monument Valley if one of the following airfields is your layover station. The airports mentioned are Flagstaff Pulliam Airport and Grand Junction Reg Airport.
Public transport: not available.
Guided tour: There are several Monument Valley guided tours found in the nearby towns, and they usually depart by jeep or bus. If you’re feeling more adventurous, you can also rent a campervan and spend the night! Finally, the surrounding area of the Valley is a great place for campers, so you can plan a night out of the ordinary with your closest ones.
Моnument Valley has its own campground, so you can use this option. Also, RV parks are available near Moab. However, if you prefer more standard options and require detailed information about vacation rentals near Monument Valley, visit our website – there’s something for every liking!
5 things to do in Monument Valley
The park offers a 17-loop spectacular Monument Valley scenic drive with numerous stops that will sweep you off your feet! It takes you through famous mesas, buttes, and towering rock formations. During the 3-hour drive, stop to admire the following attractions:
- The Mittens and Merrick Butte: Monument Valley’s most recognizable symbols.
- John Ford’s Point: panoramic view of the valley.
- Three Sisters: A trio of towering buttes that stand side by side, presenting a remarkable and photogenic perspective of the valley.
- Artist’s Point: the perfect spot to capture sunrise and sunset.
- Totem Pole and Yei Bi Chei: erosion patterns that have shaped Monument Valley’s distinctive features.
- Wildcat Trail: A short hiking trail.
Guided Tours: While the scenic drive can be done in your own vehicle, guided tours led by Navajo guides offer deeper insights into the culture, history, and significance of the land.
Entrance Fee: Don’t forget to calculate the entrance fee in your budget.
As expected, Monument Valley hikes are quite the experience. All kinds of trails are available, ranging from beginner to challenging climbs. You will wind your way through the sandy desert, through forested mountains, to reach the deep canyons. Here are some of the most popular trails:
Natural Bridges Owachomo Trail
Highlights: Owachomo Natural Bridge, the most beautiful natural bridge with a stunning view
Hovenweep Cajon Group
Highlights: Puebloan Ruins offer a glimpse into the treasures of the old civilizations
Hovenweep Cutthroat Castle Group
Highlights: Cutthroat Castle Ruin
Butler Wash Ruins
Highlights: Butler Wash Ruins
Highlights: long, physically demanding hike with colorful scenes
If you are fond of painting, take painting brushes as additional equipment besides walking shoes. During the walk, the scene will make you stop everywhere and start taking pictures, but a particular spot is reserved for you. Head to Artist’s Point of Monument Valley and feel its artistic essence. In front of you stands a real natural masterpiece in the form of a monument and a whole expanse of remarkable colors. Your postcard from this trip will be the most unique after you turn it into a painting.
Horseback riding in the valley is suitable for all levels. Tours are available from 1-hour rides and half-day tours to full-day round-trips. Your guides will select a horse ideal for your riding skills. You can even book your reservations ahead of time to ensure your spots since they’re flying rather quickly.
The Monument Valley Visitor Center offers all the information for curious visitors. The friendly staff will explain the history of the place, introduce you to possible routes and give you a map of the area. History buffs can also have a hoot here since the tales of this place are all featured here! You can also get a lot of insight into Navajo culture – just ask the front desk!
As you can see, opportunities abound when it comes to the things to do in Monument Valley, meaning that this is a place that you shouldn’t miss out on! Whether you’re a patron of the arts or like getting your hike on, Monument Valley is the perfect location to indulge in all of your passions!
Now you have all the information you need to plan your trip to Monument Valley. Check out our site’s vacation rentals near Monument Valley and prepare for a journey beyond your wildest expectations.