Monument Valley is a well-known tourist destination and is considered to be one of the best and most recognizable natural sights in the U.S.
Although you can drive your way around through some of the more familiar sites, there's so much more to Monument Valley. So, without the right tips, you might miss out on some of the most thrilling and intriguing parts of the valley that are perhaps less well-known.
But don’t worry–in this article, we will be taking you through the best way to visit Monument Valley so you can make the most out of your trip!
What Is Monument Valley?
Monument Valley is located on the Utah-Arizona border. It is part of the Colorado plateau that is centered on the Southwest's four corners region and encompasses much of Arizona, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico.
It covers an area of 12.32 square miles and has a floor elevation of 5,000 to 6,000 feet above sea level. The valley is defined by massive sandstone buttes–the largest of which towers 1,000 feet above the valley floor–and by dry sagebrush-dominated grounds.
Prior to the 1930s, the valley was a relatively undiscovered and unexplored region. What really brought about its popularity was a film by John Ford in which it was featured; since then, it's become one of America's most famous tourist spots, featured in countless Hollywood productions.
How To Reach Monument Valley
The most difficult part of planning a trip to Monument Valley is figuring out how to get there. This is because the valley is not close to any major city or location, which is also why it has remained off the radar for so long.
To get to Monument Valley, you can take U.S. Highway 191 to Highway 163, passing through the cities of Bluff, Blanding, and Monticello. All three of these cities are excellent choices for lodging while visiting the valley, as they offer a variety of dining and hotel options.
However, because the valley is so remote, it might be a better idea to book a guided tour if you’re a first-time traveler. MaxTour has a wide range of tours–such as our Zion Canyon tour–so you can easily find one that fits your needs.
The best time to visit the valley is around sunset or sunrise as the valley’s beauty truly shines out during these times of the day. Another aspect to consider when planning your trip to the valley is what time of year you want to visit–ideally, you should go during the autumn and spring seasons as the weather is most pleasant during this time. In summer, the valley can get quite hot and crowded because many tourists come to visit during their summer vacations.
What Are the Best Things to See at Monument Valley?
To say Monument Valley is full of incredible landmarks and breathtaking scenery would be an understatement. The following are some of the valley's best attractions:
- Goulding Trading Post and Museum
Through their contributions, the Goulding family was one of the most influential groups of people who helped put Monument Valley on the map. As a result, the location displays the family's lineage and artifacts. Visitors can see the family's historical artifacts as well as the trading posts where they once operated.
- The Mitten Buttes
The Mitten Buttes are a sight to behold. They get their name from the way they resemble a pair of mittens rising from the surface of the ground. If you stop to see these buttes, you will be rewarded with a sight of the Merrick Butte, which is located just south of the Mitten Buttes. Together, these three rocky structures form an eye-catching spectacle.
- Camel Butte
The Camel Butte is another stone structure located near the valley–you can see it alongside the valley as you take the valley drive. By driving up close to the monument, you will be able to witness the extensive erosion and layers that make up these rocky structures.
Monument Valley is a beautiful natural sight that is worth visiting. The best time to visit the valley is during the autumn and spring as the weather and crowds are best during these seasons. The fastest way to reach the valley is through U.S. highways 191 and 163, but the journey is long because the valley is located in a remote area, so it’s better to book a guided tour, like those available from MaxTour.