Tour the Beautiful Monument Valley

529253159The Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park is an expansive and majestic valley in Arizona and Utah, situated inside the Navajo Nation. The naturally formed sandstone towers stand 400 to 1,000 feet tall. The valley is an impressive 91,696 acres and extends into Utah. This historic location is often featured in print and film, including postcards and advertisements.

History

This valley was originally a basin, but over a process of millions of years, sediment formed and was pushed up from pressure below. This sediment formed a plateau, and over the next 50 million years, water and wind eroded the land. What remains are the majestic towers, including the Mitten Buttes and the Merrick Butte. The Monument Valley has been a popular shooting location for films, particularly old Westerns, such as those for which John Wayne became famous.

Tourist Activities

Off US 163 and north of Kayenta is a visitor center where you can book tours, eat in the Navajo restaurant, and peruse the gift shop. Navajo residents who work as tour operators lead Jeep tours inside the park. If you would rather drive yourself, you can follow the 17-mile road that takes between 30 minutes and one hour to traverse. There are also hiking tours, which can be up to several days in length, many of which also incorporate horseback riding. One mile from the visitor center are local vendors who sell arts and crafts, souvenirs, and Navajo food.

Lodging and Accommodations

Camping is available inside the park at the Mitten View Campground. Visitors can also stay in the View Hotel, which has a great view of the Mitten Buttes. In order to ensure lodging, you’ll want to book your room in advance. Options outside the park include hotels and camping in Page, which is three hours away, and Kayenta, one hour away.

How to Get There

Monument Valley is near the southeast corner of Utah, along the Utah/Arizona border. Find the entrance slightly east of Highway 163. There is a five-dollar fee to use the park, and specific tourist activities are dependent upon the time of year.

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