Monument Valley gained popularity after the 1930s when it got featured in a handful of iconic movies. You might recall seeing the place as a backdrop in films like Easy Rider, Forrest Gump, and Eighth Sanction. It's most recognized for its use in John Ford films, including Stagecoach and The Searchers.
Thanks to its prominent appearance in the media, it has become a popular spot for many tourists. In this post, we'll be sharing the top four things you must see when visiting this incredible attraction.
Where Is Monument Valley?
Monument Valley is a valley of sandstones between Utah and Arizona. Many people get confused about whether Monument Valley is a part of Utah or Arizona–it actually lies on the borderline!
It is also noteworthy that the place is considered a national park and belongs to the Navajo Nation, which is one of the largest tribal governments in North America. If you’re taking a MaxTour Antelope Canyon tour–which is one of the best Zion, Bryce, and Antelope Canyon tours out there–you might be wanting to visit Monument Valley, too.
For that, you'll have to buy an entrance pass to Monument Valley on the spot or book it early from a representative online. The entrance fee per person is $10 per person and $20 per vehicle.
Four people are allowed per vehicle; you'll have to pay another fee if you want to drive through Monument Valley with an additional person. However, there's no entrance fee for children aged nine or younger.
What Should I See in Monument Valley?
If you wish to photograph, hike, or camp in Monument Valley, you'll have to get special permission from an authority. However, if you only wish to see the famous sights of Monument Valley, your entrance ticket will suffice.
We recommend seeing:
Tribal Park Loop
The Tribal Park Loop in Monument Valley refers to a seventeen-mile loop road around the 400- to 1000-feet-high sandstones of the valley. Taking this route allows you to check out this scenic drive and see the backdrops you’ve seen in countless movies.
The Mitten and Merrick Buttes are visible from the visitor center. From here, you can also buy guided tours. During paid tours, the Navajo tour operators will take you on a Jeep, car, or horseback ride. They'll drive through the Tribal Park Loop as you enjoy the surroundings. Note that a few landmarks like Ear of the Wind are only accessible via paid jeep tours.
You can also enjoy native Navajo and American cuisines at the Haskenneini restaurant in the summer months–the restaurant is located in the visitor center. Plus, there are a few Navajo vendors selling food, art, and collectibles about a mile before the visitor center. We recommend stopping by these stalls for souvenirs.
Buttes are flat-topped, tall rock towers. You'll find them in abundance in Monument Valley. We recommend visiting the ones with the following buttes:
- Elephant Butte
- Three Sisters
- John Ford's point
- Camels Butte
- The Hub
You'll receive a map at the beginning of your tour, which you can use to easily locate these buttes.
- Wildcat Trail
Wildcat Trail is a 3.2-mile-long hiking trail. It begins at the northwest corner of the visitor center's parking area and ends back at the same place; it’s a loop around the West Mitten Butte.
It takes about two hours to complete this trail. As you go, you'll see some very different species of big lizards, and you'll also come across a variety of small cacti and an abundance of distinctive narrow-leaf yucca. You can also see other stunning buttes nearby.
Forrest Gump Point
Also known as Forrest Gump Highway, the Forrest Gump Point is the road where Robert Zemeckis had his life changing realization. It's a nice, soothing, and beautiful drive.
We recommend visiting this point in the early hours of the morning or in the evening, as it gets quite hot in the afternoon.
Can I Take Pictures in Monument Valley?
Yes–but if you're capturing Navajo residents or taking pictures for commercial use, you will need a permit.
When Should I Visit Monument Valley?
Monument Valley is definitely worth visiting and is open to visitors throughout the year. However, we recommend visiting the landscape during spring or autumn, as summers and winters are extreme and a bit uncomfortable in this region.