During my recent road trip through Arizona, I had the opportunity of visiting Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. It had been a bucket list item for years, and I was so excited to tick it off my list. These iconic red rocks are a staple of America’s rugged southwest. They’re featured in a number of Hollywood movies, as well as my personal favorite, Forrest Gump.
Where is Monument Valley Located?
Monument Valley is located along the Arizona/Utah border. It is actually part of the Navajo Tribal Park, and is not a United States National Park. Visiting Monument Valley will definitely require a road trip as it is quite a remote location.
From Las Vegas, Nevada: roughly 6.5-hour drive
From Phoenix, Arizona: roughly 5.5-hour drive
From Albuquerque, New Mexico: roughly 5.5-hour drive
Accommodation is honestly a bit hard to come by on a budget. Most hotels online are located 30 minutes to over an hour away, and are quite pricey. For budget travelers, I’d highly recommend camping.
- Monument Valley Tipi Village (photographed above) – This is my favorite option and where I personally stayed.
Read more on Monument Valley Tipi Village
- Goulding’s Lodge and Campground – This is a great campground right next to Monument Valley.
- The View Hotel – This hotel is unique because it’s the only hotel on the Navajo Tribal Park. It books out fast, and rooms are extremely pricey. There are also campgrounds and cabins.
What To Do at Monument Valley
Monument Valley is made up of sandstone rock formations called mitten buttes. These are the iconic red rock that we love. Within the park, there is a scenic road where you can drive on the valley floor and admire the rock formations. This road is commonly known as Valley Drive. It’s possible to take your own car out for a self-guided tour, or you can purchase a guided tour.
You can see beautiful views from the main roads, but the best ones are on the 17-mile loop road through the valley. It’s possible to drive through the loop within 30-40 minutes, but many visitors take several hours to stop and enjoy the scenery. Keep in mind, the drive is on unpaved dirt road.
If you want to go without a tour, make sure you have a vehicle that can drive on a dirt road. I tried to venture out in my Toyota Prius, but turned back pretty quickly. It was extremely bumpy, and I was worried I might get stuck.
If you don’t have a suitable car, I’d recommend taking a guided tour. Check out the adventure options like horseback and jeep tours or the photo tours for iconic landmarks!
Read more: Monument Valley’s Most Instagrammable Locations
- Navajo Spirit Tour – inquire for times and prices
- Monument Valley Safari – inquire for times and prices
- Majestic Monument Valley Touring Co. – hours and price vary depending on tour
- Sacred Monument Tours – Jeep, horseback, or hiking tours available
- Scenic Driving Hours – Summer (May-Aug) 7am-7:30pm, Winter (Sept.-April) 8am-4:30pm
- Fees – $20.00 per car (1-4 people), $6.00 additional person
- Back Country Permit – $12.00 for 24 hours (hiking & camping)
- Use the bathroom before you leave the visitor’s center – there are no facilities along the driving route, except for the occasional outhouse.
- Bring plenty of water – this is a must! It is extremely hot, especially during the summer months
- Bring sunscreen or cover up – there is no shading and it’s important to protect our skin
- Wear comfortable shoes – if you go hiking, sand and rocks will get on, or inside, your shoes
- Be prepared for flash floods – they are particularly common June through August
- Motorcycles and RVs – these vehicles are not allowed on the driving tour
- No rock climbing – rock climbing is not allowed within the park.
- No ATVs or off-road terrain vehicles – these vehicles are not allowed within the park
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