Monument Valley is a National Tribal Park on the Navajo Reservation with impressive rock formations on the Arizona-Utah border.
Monument Valley, also called Oljato-Monument Valley, is near the Four Corners area along highway UT-163. If coming from the north, head south from Blanding and Mexican Hat. Be sure to make the quick detour to Goosenecks State Park. You’ll pass right next to Mexican Hat Rock.
About 20 minutes north of Monument Valley, pull over at the iconic Forrest Gump Point.
Monument Valley has a fee of $8/person each day.
The Monument Valley scenic drive lets you get closer to the towering rock formations. You can begin the drive in a private vehicle between 8 am – 2:30 pm. They also run tours that will go all day, including sunrise and sunset.
It is 17 miles on a graded, but unpaved road. I wouldn’t attempt it if it’s muddy, but in dry conditions it should be fine in any car. They give you plenty of time to complete the loop, but it should take only an hour unless you stop frequently to take photos. Hiking isn’t allowed in the loop, so you could just get out for photos. The only hiking trail in the park is the 3.9 mile Wildcat Trail from the Visitor’s Center (moderate because it’s sandy).
The views are very iconic in western movies and southwest landscape photography.
The View is a nice hotel that looks over the most iconic views of Monument Valley. It also has a gift shop. You do not need to be a guest to go there and take photos any time of day or night. “Photographers Point” and “John Wayne Point” are labeled along the back of The View.
Along the side you can also get a fantastic view. Here is a series of sunset from The View.
Sunset at Monument Valley
These three large rock formations are called West Mitten Butte, East Mitten Butte and Merrick Butte.
You can see why the two have “mitten” in their name.
Here are a few more photos taken at The View.
We stayed in Goulding Lodge a few minutes from The View. We all loved it! Ours was like a little cabin!
Monument Valley is a beautiful place for Night Photography. Since we were there in October there was only a tiny window of Milky Way Core visibility. Unfortunately it was precisely where the moon was rising. I figured they wouldn’t turn out well, but since it was only 8:30 pm. I thought it was worth a try. If you look closely you can see the Milky Way behind the moon.
I took a few photos of the car too. There wasn’t much traffic, but I caught a few trails.
Sunrise in Monument Valley
I returned to The View for sunrise photos.
Stats: Distance – 0 to view, but 17 mile loop for scenic drive
Approximate hiking time – 30 minutes for views or 1-3 hours for scenic drive (depending on how long you want to admire the view)
Difficulty – Easy (or improved dirt road)
Bathrooms – Yes
Seasons to drive – Year-round
Permits needed – $8/person
Pets allowed – Yes (leashed)