Monument Valley and the Grand Canyon are two of the most iconic attractions in the American Southwest. Both have breathtaking landscapes with soaring cliffs and unique rock formations. There's plenty to see within these attractions, but what about between them?
Guided tours will include stops but, when you're planning your own road trip from Monument Valley to the Grand Canyon, you might be unsure where to go.
If you want to know how to get the most out of your Monument Valley–Grand Canyon trip, we've got you covered! Buckle up and get ready to explore must-visit spots that will make your journey even more memorable.
How Far Is Grand Canyon From Monument Valley?
Grand Canyon National Park is roughly 160 miles (257 km) from Monument Valley. The drive from one to the other takes about 3 to 3.5 hours. That's a pretty decent road trip.
Some places on this list are more out of the way than others. If you were to stop at all of them (which you probably won't be able to!), you'd cover about 320 miles (515 km) and spend about 6 hours driving.
Grand Canyon and Monument Valley are both in northern Arizona, with Monument Valley actually being on the Arizona-Utah border. Monument Valley is located on Navajo land. The Grand Canyon is expansive and stretches across Navajo, Hualapai, and Havasupi land.
As you leave the Monument Valley and head towards the Grand Canyon, your first stop should be Church Rock. This impressive rock formation, shaped like a cathedral spire, rises proudly from the vast desert landscape and is easily visible from the highway.
Church Rock is steeped in Navajo history and culture, holding deep spiritual significance for the local community. Take a moment to appreciate the beauty of this natural wonder and learn about its cultural importance. You can also capture some fantastic photos here.
Navajo National Monument
As you continue your journey, make sure to visit the Navajo National Monument, a true hidden gem. This national monument is home to well-preserved ancient dwellings that showcase the rich history of the region.
The monument features two main ancient villages: Betatakin and Keet Seel. While visiting these archeological wonders, you'll have the opportunity to learn about the daily lives and culture of those who inhabited the area centuries ago.
If you have time, guided tours are available. Also, the surrounding landscape is great for hiking.
No journey between Monument Valley and the Grand Canyon would be complete without a visit to the world-famous Antelope Canyon.
It's by far the most popular attraction on this list of things to see between Monument Valley and Grand Canyon, so be sure to buy your tickets in advance!
Antelope Canyon is quite far off the route and you may not be able to squeeze in a tour if you're in a time crunch. If you can, though, the tours are definitely worth it.
Located near Page, Arizona, Antelope Canyon is a mesmerizing slot canyon carved by centuries of wind and water erosion. The canyon features narrow passageways with smooth, flowing curves and light beams that filter through the top, creating an ethereal atmosphere.
Antelope Canyon has two main sections: Upper Antelope Canyon and Lower Antelope Canyon. Upper Antelope Canyon is the more popular and easier to traverse of the two, but Lower Antelope Canyon offers more adventure.
There are also smaller, lesser-known sections of Antelope Canyon, such as Canyon X and Cardiac Canyon.
If you want to see the best of the Southwest in a single trip, you can visit Monument Valley, Grand Canyon, and Antelope Canyon (as well as Bryce and Zion National Parks) in a 3-day Southwest US tour.
Ha Ho No Geh Canyon
A short detour from your route will lead you to the stunning Ha Ho No Geh Canyon. It's near Tuba City, one of the most significant Navajo towns in the area.
Ha Ho No Geh Canyon, which is actually on Hopi land, is a shallow canyon with bright white and red banded rocks. It also has striking hoodoos and spires. The canyon is 12 miles long but not much of it has roads, so it can be difficult to get a good view of the most beautiful parts.
Coal Mine Canyon
Very close to Ha Ho No Geh Canyon, you'll find Coal Mine Canyon. It's the more popular of the two but is still a hidden treasure. It's split between Navajo and Hopi land.
Although not nearly as vast or well-known as the Grand Canyon, some would say Coal Mine Canyon rivals the Grand Canyon's beauty. The peace and quiet of this remote location will leave you feeling connected to nature and its incredible forces.
The canyon's vibrant red, white, and orange hues are stretched across valleys, mesas, and buttes. They contrast against the deep blue sky, making it a photographer's paradise.
Note that, to access the rim of the canyon on Navajo land (where you can take the best pictures), you'll need a permit from the nearby Cameron Visitor Center.
Navajo Moenave Dinosaur Tracks
Before you reach the Grand Canyon, don't forget to make a pit stop at Navajo Moenave Dinosaur Tracks. If you're a fan of prehistoric creatures, this is a spot you shouldn't miss.
Hidden within the sandstone cliffs, you'll find well-preserved dinosaur tracks dating back millions of years. These tracks offer a fascinating glimpse into the world of dinosaurs that once roamed this very land. Follow the designated trails to observe the tracks closely, but remember to leave them undisturbed for others to enjoy.
You can beeline from Monument Valley to the Grand Canyon, or you can slow down and experience all the amazing sights to be seen between them.
From impressive stone spires to vast canyons and even dinosaur tracks, it's crazy how many remarkable experiences await on the journey between Monument Valley and the Grand Canyon.
As you probably noticed, much of the area is on Native American land. So, as you hit the road on this trip, make sure to respect the natural and cultural heritage of the places you visit. Keep the environment clean, follow any guidelines or restrictions, and be mindful of the local communities and their traditions. And, of course, have fun!