July 2, 2017

Everything You Want To Know About The Monument Valley Utah

Where is the Monument Valley?
It is located at the border between Utah and Arizona. It is in Utah.

Is 1 Day Enough to Visit the Monument Valley?
Yes. You will need at least 1 day in order to experience what the Monument Valley has to offer. A day trip from nearby destination such as Page is also possible if you start out early.

Are There Entrance Fees to the Monument Valley?
There's no fees to drive through the Monument Valley town, but if you want to see the rock formations, which are the highlights of the Monument Valley, you will have to go through the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park - there's a $20 entrance fee per vehicle. However, there's a way to get that fee waived is to attend the native guide tour for the Monument Valley, keep on reading.

Is the $20 Entrance Fee Included in the National Parks Passes (a.k.a America Beautiful Passes)?
No, it's a separate fee. The Monument Valley is a Navajo Tribal Park. It's not a National Park nor it's affiliated with any of the National Parks.

The Monument Valley

What Are the Highlights of the Monument Valley to see?
If you decide to tour the park on your own (but be careful), you can drive through the 17-mile loop of Monument Valley which you get to see the The East and West Mittens, John Ford’s Point, Three Sisters, the Totem Pole, the Artist’s Point, and the North Window viewpoints. These are rock formations, but they are very well known as they were filmed in several western movies (photos below).

If you decide to drive on your own, do keep the following park's hours for the 17-mile scenic drive:
Peak Season (May 1-Sept 30) 6:00am - 8:30pm
Off Season (Oct 1 - Apr 30) 8:00am - 4:30pm

Iconic East and West Mittens
Totem Pole
Our Favorite John Ford's Point
The Three Sisters Rock Formation
North Window View Piont
If you would like to see beyond the 17-mile loop, you will need to hire a tour guide. The Monument Valley is a sacred place that belongs to the Navajo tribe. Therefore, in order to go back-country, you will need to be accompanied by a Navajo tour guide. The back-country is an experience in itself and you will also get to see more rock formations such as the Sun’s Eye and Ear of the Wind, Natural Arches, and different viewpoints than the 17-mile loop road.

Back Country Tour: Ear of the Wind
You See the Native Man?
Is Tour Needed For the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park?
No, not for the 17-mile loop. However, keep in mind that the road is an unpaved dirt road. It is recommended that your car is four-wheel drive. The road is rough, so drive carefully and be aware that driving a rental car there will void your contract in case of any damages. So it's best to join a tour. You will be transported by the native guide tour. The tour price itself includes the park's entrance fee of $20 per vehicle, and the guide will show you all the highlights of Monument Valley. Let the guide does all the driving and you can just enjoy the viewpoints without worrying about the car.

If you desire to go beyond the 17-mile loop for the back-country experience, you will definitely need the native tour guide.

Here's our full review on Monument Valley Tour Review With Goulding's Tour

17-Mile Loop - Unpaved Dirt Road
How Much is the Tour?
The tour price varies by the tour company. For the famous 17-mile loop, you are looking around at least $60/adult and more for the back-country tour. Tour price includes the park's entrance fees and hotels pick-up and drop-off services. The tour typically takes about 2 and half hours for the 17-mile loop.

Any Recommended Tour Company? 
There are a few tour company. Your best chance is to check with the hotel that you are staying with to see if they can arrange a tour for you or they offer any tours. We were staying at the Goulding's Lodge at the Monument Valley and they offer both the 17-mile loop and back-country tour. We did both tours and the $73/adult price that we paid was well worth it.
*Note: If the tour company does not provide pick up and drop off services, please make sure the tour price does include the $20 park's entrance fee. It's always good to inquire the tour company what the tour price does and does not include.

Do I Need to Reserve the Tour in Advanced?
If your travel plan is concrete and the tour offers easy cancellation policy, why not? One more thing you do not need to worry about when you get there. However, it's absolutely fine if you want to wait until you get there. There will always be tour available.

Tour isn't my thing. Can I See the Highlights such as the the Mittens, John Ford's Point, Totem Pole without going on the 17-mile dirt road to avoid going on a tour? 
Unfortunately not. The Mittens can be seen from the paved road, especially once you enter the park, the view of the East and West Mittens can be seen from the View Hotel inside the park. However, in order to see the other viewpoints, you will need to be on the 17-mile loop drive. If tour is not your thing, consider renting a four-wheel drive car.

Where Should I Stay While Visiting the Monument Valley?
Monument Valley is not a developed town. There are only two hotels that are at the Monument Valley. One being the Goulding's Lodge outside the park and another one being the View Hotel inside the park. Both hotels offer amazing view of the Monument Valley. The View Hotel is nice as each room offers the view of the Mittens. Because the View Hotel is inside the park, I am not sure if you have to pay for the park's entrance fee to stay there or the room rate already includes the fee, so do check with them. Other lodgings are also available, but they are outside of the Monument Valley.

Money Saving Tip: If you decide to stay with either Goulding's Lodge or the View Hotel, they both are available to book through third party travel sites such as Orbitz, Hotels.com, Expedia, etc. These sites are available on cash-back shopping portal. You will get cash back and earn their rewards program instead of booking directly with those two hotels. Also, don't forget to use a credit card that earns the best points with travel. For more information:

How About Restaurants?
Given the Monument Valley is not very developed, restaurants are also limited. Both hotels mentioned above have onsite restaurant and you don't have to be guests to eat there; however, please keep in mind that because Monument Valley is on the Navajo Reservation, alcoholic drinks are not available.

Our full review on Monument Valley Tour Review With Goulding's Tour

Check out more articles on the Monument Valley

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1 comment:

  1. I doo see the native man. When I was there two years ago, we had to lie on our backs and see the eagle. Interesting there is another picture there!