Located along the Arizona-Utah border you will find the breathtaking Monument Valley. Featured in many movies over the years, you’ve likely seen the iconic scenery at some point or another. Seeing it in person is even better than you can imagine.
Although commonly thought of as a national park, Monument Valley is actually part of the Navajo Nation. (Your National Park Pass will not be accepted here!) This area is known as Tsé Biiʼ Ndzisgaii in Navajo, which means “Valley of the Rocks.” Some families still live here, with no access to electricity or running water.
You can take one of the tours offered here, or you can take the route that we opted for and drive yourself around the 17 mile loop and take a self guided tour. The grated dirt roads provide a fun and unique way to get around the park. Plenty of pull off areas are provided for when you want to get out, stretch your legs, and snap a few stunning photos.
Some of the dirt/sand can get a little thick at times, so we were happy to have rented a small SUV. Don’t let that stop you from giving it a try, as we saw many small cars that were making their way through the terrain as well.
There are several hiking trails you can take advantage of during your visit, with difficulties ranging from easy to strenuous. If you want to feel like you are in a Western movie, you can take advantage of the horseback riding that is offered by the Navajos.
Monument Valley does have a fairly early closing time for the park, so be sure to do your research before you make the drive out there!
I would recommend this geologically fascinating trip to anyone. It is a truly unique destination and you can help to support the Navajo Nation.