Another destination for your bucketlist
Monument Valley is something out of this world. It’s a breathtaking 92,000-acre landscape where you see nothing but vast desert carrying on for miles and miles and then, out of nowhere, massive sandstone rock formations explode out of the valley floor. It’s no wonder dozens of movies have been filmed here and more than 250,000 sightseers visit per year. There’s magic felt on these lands, and it’s one of those places you must see for yourself to really feel it.
WHERE TO STAY
AKA WHERE TO FIND THE MOST EPIC CAMPSITE
Are you ready for it? The most epic campsite is…. IN THE PARKING LOT! The Visitors Center offers overnight parking in their lot for fairly cheap! The cars can pull up and get front-row scenic views, like you see above. Tent camping is also available with the same scenic views and is located just below where I’m sitting in the van. Behind me, the parking lot continues and there are RV spots (no hook up). Simple as that!
WHAT TO DO
Guided Jeep Tours! If you want to explore more of the land, you must do a Jeep tour! It takes about 3-4 hours and takes you to spots that you otherwise could not get to.
Photo op! Upon arriving to the park, you will get a sweeping panoramic view of Monument Valley. Don’t worry about missing it, there will be 25 cars pulled over, too. ;)
Hike! The only hiking trail in the park that’s hikable without a Navajo guide is the Wildcat Trail, which loops around West Mitten Butte. The trailhead is at the edge of the visitor center parking lot. Allow 2.5 hours and carry plenty of water!
Go horseback riding! I loved seeing all of the free-roaming horses in the area - really felt like the wild west.
THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE VISITING
Contrary to popular belief, Monument Valley is not on public land and, despite its name, it is not a National Monument. Unlike many nearby National Parks in Arizona and Utah, Monument Valley is a tribal park owned and operated by the Navajo nation. As soon as you step inside the park boundaries, you are on Navajo land. It is vital to not go off trail as these are the homes and property of the Navajo people.
Monument Valley’s navajo name is Tsé Biiʼ Ndzisgaii, which roughly translates to the ‘Valley of Rocks’.
Be prepared for “res dogs.” Unfortunately, within the reservation community, there tends to be a large population of unhealthy stray dogs. It’s extremely heartbreaking, but if you’re up for it, take one home with you and help it find a home! That’s what we did when a stray wandered up to our van to get some shade! He traveled across the country with us and we found him his furever home. ;)
Entry is $10/person or $20/vehicle. They do not monitor the entry booths after 4pm, so you will not receive a map upon entering if that is the case.
Here, you will witness some of the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets, so be sure to stay for one! :)