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Mesa Verde or Monument Valley Navajo Park

Kinnelon, New Jersey
5 posts
Mesa Verde or Monument Valley Navajo Park

We have one night to play with between Moab and Lake Powell and are wondering which might be a better use of the night. We are two parents and 4 twenty-somethings. Suggestions?

Destination Expert
for Colorado
Level Contributor
8,442 posts
121 reviews
1. Re: Mesa Verde or Monument Valley Navajo Park

When is your trip?

Mesa Verde is one of my top "must-do" recommendations and a World Heritage Site, but it really deserves more time than just an overnight stop. It could be done if you could leave Moab by 10 or at least noon, stop in Cortez at the visitor center to get ranger tour tickets for Cliff Palace or Balcony House for the first thing the next morning, Spend the night at Far View Lodge in the park so you can spend the afternoon/evening seeing what you can that evening, attend a ranger talk, stargaze, etc. and do a ranger tour the next morning before departure. I guess a little bit is better than nothing, but it would really be better if you could arrange for a full day there.

Parkland, Florida
Level Contributor
200 posts
19 reviews
2. Re: Mesa Verde or Monument Valley Navajo Park

Never been to mesa verde but monument valley is quite awesome. mesa verde's reputaiton blows monument valley away.

Consider this though.... In one day, and more efficiently, you could see Monument Valley and either Natural Bridges National Monument or Hovenweep National Monument. Code Talkers museum at the Burger King and Kayenta as a small throw in.

Just a thought..........

Kinnelon, New Jersey
5 posts
3. Re: Mesa Verde or Monument Valley Navajo Park

Thanks for the reply. We're looking at the first two weeks of August and this would be in the middle of the trip. We could certainly leave Moab very early to be at Mesa Verde by 10 a.m. and give us most of the first day and a good part of day two.

Colorado Springs...
Level Contributor
4,865 posts
1 review
4. Re: Mesa Verde or Monument Valley Navajo Park

I agree with missWestSlop that Mesa Verde takes more than one overnight stay. Thus, if there is a chance that you will come back some time to our beautiful State, Moument Valley is probably a more proiductive use of your limited time.

In that case, make a reservation at the The View hotel ASAP. This well-run native American owned hotel is truly an experience and justifies its name, especially when standing on a balcony early in the morning and again at sunset time.. monumentvalleyview.com/theViewHotel/fact-she…

On the way from Moab, be sure and take the short detour into Gooseneck State Park as far as the Muley Point Overlook. The turnoff from US163 is 17 miles west of Bluff; the detour is about 25 miles R/T.

Atlanta, Georgia
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
Level Contributor
19,526 posts
328 reviews
5. Re: Mesa Verde or Monument Valley Navajo Park

We did both last September and loved both but if you only have part of a day then you can do Monument Valley. We spent the whole day in Mesa Verde and could have even spent longer but we don't hike and didn't do the more strenuous climbs to some of the dwellings.

Destination Expert
for Colorado
Level Contributor
8,442 posts
121 reviews
6. Re: Mesa Verde or Monument Valley Navajo Park

It sounds like you'd have enough time to get a good sample of Mesa Verde, then, and that would be my pick. I just think it is not to be missed if there's any way to fit it in. Just my 2 cents!

Are you headed to Page next? I'm not sure how long the drive would take from Mesa Verde, but in the summertime with long daylight hours, it seems possible that you might be able to do both. Leave Mesa Verde, see some of Monument Valley, if only just a stop at Gouldings or The View--or even just views of the monoliths from the highway, and then drive on. If there's anywhere in your itinerary to eke out another night, you could stay at The View for sunset/sunrise, then head out early the next morning.


Thibodaux, Louisiana
Level Contributor
84 posts
7 reviews
7. Re: Mesa Verde or Monument Valley Navajo Park

I agree with previous post of Mesa Verde, it is a "must" see. I previously squeezed in the same amount of time there, staying at Far View Lodge. It will leave you wanting more, but I'm always glad we got to see what we did. Well worth it, sorry I don't have experience at Monu. Valley to compare it to.

Level Contributor
425 posts
222 reviews
8. Re: Mesa Verde or Monument Valley Navajo Park

UGH! This is a tough choice. My family and I did both in the same trip a couple years ago. Both are amazing and yet so different in their own ways. Here are the pros and cons of each. Hopefully, it helps in making your decision:

Monument Valley Pros: Breath-taking views and a real "must do" if you're a fan of the old west movies (John Wayne) since the vast majority were filmed here. There is a 14+/- mile dirt road that makes a loop through the valley for close up views of the buttes. There is a 3.5 mile loop hiking trail (Wildcat) around one of the "Mittens" which is a real treat and fun to do. The View hotel located right in front of the Mittens can't be beat (all rooms have balconies and face the Mittens. FANTASTIC and the perfect place to watch the sun rise and the sunsets. You can take a tour by a Native American of the valley and see things off the beaten track. CONS: The road into the valley is dirt and a bit of a challenge to drive (a lot of ruts and such in the beginning and it can get quite muddy during and after storms - thus, the reason many choose to take a tour). We were lucky to have a dry road and so drove it ourselves without a problem. Because this is on a reservation, the only hiking allowed is on the Wildcat trail (stated above).

Mesa Verde Pros: Wonderful cliff dwellings to view and explore. Many trails to hike upon throughout the park and surrounding areas. Beautiful views. CONS: Many of the cliff dwellings don't allow you to access or tour on your own. You therefore have to purchase a ticket to tour with a ranger (I think they cost around $3.50/$4 each). This is great in that the rangers supply you with wonderful information, however, tickets are sold first come, first serve so you have to get to the visitor center in the park early in the morning to ensure a space or purchase your tickets at the visitor center in Coretz the night before. Since you won't be in the area, this may create a challenge for you. If it's possible for you to be in the park by 9am instead of 10am, you would have a good chance at obtaining tickets the day of your arrival. If you have mobility issues, it might be difficult to access the cliff dwellings.

I don't think you could go wrong with either option. You could stop in at Monument Valley to take in the view before heading to Cortez to pick up tickets to some of the cliff dwellings for the following morning. Enjoy Mesa Verde for the remainder of the day and to the tours of the dwellings the following day before leaving.

Destination Expert
for Wisconsin, Colorado Springs
Level Contributor
5,423 posts
111 reviews
9. Re: Mesa Verde or Monument Valley Navajo Park

I haven't been to both yet but have been to Monument Valley. Monument Valley is easily in my top 10 of my travels so far. But we took the three hour tour via Goulding's and saw an amazing side to the Valley not offered any other way. Driving in on your own (to the parts you can) is just not worth the risk. Also our stay at Goulding's was equally memorable for it's idyllic location nestled in the rock and with a gorgeous overview of the Valley.

Mesa Verde is on our must do list!

I don't think you can go wrong with either, I do think that if you do Monument the most memorable way to view it is the tour! It's been years since I did it but if it's the same as it was then it's amazing!

10. Re: Mesa Verde or Monument Valley Navajo Park

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