Monument Valley - Page 1 of 2

[Buttes in Monument Valley.]   [Monument Valley scene.]
These buttes are named "The Mittens" – if you look closely, you can see that each butte has a rock spire in just the right place to be the thumb of a mitten. The two buttes even make a matched pair of mittens!   Monument Valley scene, from an overlook on the park road.

Monument Valley has a spectacular arrangement of buttes and mesas that rise hundreds of feet from the desert floor. The area is the classic desert southwest scene, and has been the backdrop for numerous motion pictures over the years.

Monument Valley is on the reservation of the Navajo Nation and straddles the border of Arizona and Utah near Gouldings, UT. You can get there by heading north from Kayenta, AZ on US-163. Although the scenery from the public highway is spectacular, the REALLY spectacular scenery is in a Navajo Tribal Park southeast of Gouldings (there is a small admission fee).

The 17-mile road through the park is unpaved sand; RV's are prohibited and 4-wheel-drive is recommended. If your vehicle can't handle loose sand, you can hire a Navajo tour guide who has an appropriate vehicle. We managed just fine with John's 4WD Subaru – despite overloaded tires and low ground clearance, the Subaru plowed through the sand like a miniature Sherman tank. The tribal park also has a visitor center with a museum and snack bar. There's a water fountain, but they don't have enough water for flush toilets (they use outhouses instead).

[Monument Valley scene.]   [Monument Valley scene.]
Monument Valley scene.   Monument Valley scene.

[Monument Valley scene.]   [Monument Valley scene.]
This is the view approaching Monument Valley.   This is a famous and oft-photographed rock formation in the park.

Previous Page   Next Page   Desert Southwest Page   Paddling Page   Home Page