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“You can easily do the 17 mile drive in a normal sedan” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park

Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park
US Highway 160 & US Hwy 163, Monument Valley, UT 86033
435 727 3353
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Top Rated
$699*
and up
Monument Valley Air and Jeep Tour
Type: Reservations, Tourist/ Visitor Centers, Geologic Formations, Nature/ Wildlife Areas, Specialty Shops, Landmarks/ Points of Interest, Outdoors
Activities: Hiking
Attraction details
Cape Town, RSA
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“You can easily do the 17 mile drive in a normal sedan”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 14, 2013

I read a number of the reviews on the 17 mile drive, how scary it is in a sedan, etc. Not so! I did the drive in a normal sedan (corolla), and providing you go slow, especially in the beginning, and you apply a little common driving sense, such as to avoid the odd pot hole, or large stone, it is certainly passable without too much fuss. And, without damaging your vehicle. The worst is the first half mile. After that, the road improves. Save yourself $90 upwards, and drive it yourself, rather than be bunched up on the back of an open vehicle, eating dust. Unless you want to experience beyond the conventional 17 miles, then go for a tour operator. I have driven far, far worse gravel roads in a sedan that would make the 17 mile drive seem like a tar paved highway. Just be careful on the initial descent, and go very slow. The views to be seen are AWESOME!!

Visited November 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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North, South Carolina
Top Contributor
459 reviews 459 reviews
158 attraction reviews
Reviews in 148 cities Reviews in 148 cities
167 helpful votes 167 helpful votes
“Beautiful formations”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 12, 2013

Amazing natural stone formations can be seen from a distance or by entering the park with a tribal guide. Sites used in many western and other films for decades. Worth going out of your way for this magnificent scenery. Great photo ops or just for looking.

Visited November 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Milan, Italy
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Very spiritual place.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 11, 2013

The most colourfull place, especially around sunset!!! Wow. Very spiritual if you close your eyes and just let yourself drift with the flow of energy from that place. There also a hotel there to stay overnight. This overlooks all the magnificent landscapes. Highly recommendable. Just take your time when making stops.

Visited October 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Massachusetts
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
13 attraction reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
50 helpful votes 50 helpful votes
“Jaw-dropping in many ways...”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 10, 2013

We visited Monument Valley as one of our stops on a grand tour of sites and parks in AZ and UT. We arrived in the late afternoon, had reservations to stay overnight at The View Hotel (which I reviewed separately), and would tour the park the following day. If your schedule allows, I highly recommend being in MV for both sunset and sunrise to see how the light transforms the valley. Really stunning, and great photography!

There is a nominal fee to enter the park, as it is on Navajo land. I believe it was $6 for our car. This is a very remote area of AZ, so be advised there is not much at all for hotels, restaurants, shops, or services. We arrived from the South, and Kayenta was the last town we saw before the park, which was 22 miles away.

In the morning, our big debate was how to see the park. There is a single hiking trail, horseback tours, guided tours, or a do-it-yourself tour. You'll see many comments and warnings about the condition of the road through the park, so we were a little intimidated with the thought of going it ourselves.

The way our schedule worked out, we ended up choosing our own guided tour. The map provided at the entrance to the park was detailed enough where we felt comfortable with the navigation. The road is a big loop with the different monuments labeled, and obvious parking at the different vantage points for photos. We had a Jeep Cherokee for a rental car, with 4 wheel drive if needed, so this increased our confidence in being able to handle a rough road. The entrance to the park road is near the far left of The View Hotel's parking lot. It is not well-marked at all, but thanks to the popularity of the venue, you can see the traffic. The first quarter mile is definitely rough and bumpy, with a tight turn or two to get your heart rate going. The road itself is well defined, but it is not paved, therefore a lot of dirt and rocks. They key here is to drive slowly, particularly if you do not have a higher clearance vehicle. We saw plenty of people in obvious rental car sedans doing just fine, and one brave couple in a Mini Cooper!

If you do drive yourself, there is a second smaller loop of the park that is off-limits and requires a guide. Another consideration on the guided tour is that most of the tour vehicles we saw were open, so you are exposed to the elements as you drive from site to site. The road does kick up some red clay dust and dirt, and I did not want to be breathing that in sitting in the back of an open truck. I also wanted to be able to set my own schedule of how long we spent at each site, and not have to wait for the loading and unloading of the tour buses. The big trade-off here was missing the narrative from the guides, many of whom are born and raised.

All in all, we spent about 4 hours making the loop, with plenty of time for photography. The size and scale of each Butte and Mesa is just incredible. If you're a fan of old Western movies, you may recognize the scenery, having been used as a backdrop by 1960s Hollywood Director John Ford, and others. It is hugely popular with Europeans, and I think I heard more foreign languages being spoken than English. With each mile, there are more sites to take in, and it all comes together at Artist's Point, where you have a breathtaking panorama of the entire valley.

At each parking lot, don't be surprised to see natives with tables set up selling jewelry, sometimes several at each site. I browsed one table and the woman was friendly, and engaging. She explained the symbolism of each piece, i.e. the turtle is for patience. I can't imagine there are many options for the natives to earn money, being in such a remote place, and I felt guilty walking away empty handed.

We did consider a guided tour, and had some very positive interaction with Michelle from Navajo Spirit Tours. She was helpful and very friendly as we planned our drive from our previous day's location to the park. There are plenty of options for tours, so reservations may not be necessary, but I do recommend them if you are on any kind of schedule.

While in AZ, as funny as this may sound, we struggled with knowing what time it was. We started in Vegas, which is on Pacific time, then drove to AZ which does not recognize Daylight Savings Time, but the Navajo Nation does. We had many laughs checking laptops and various mobile devices (which auto-adjust, but not always correctly), and then manually adjusting our watches after asking someone local or referring to our hotel room clock to get it right.

If you leave MV to the North, be sure to stop at Mile Marker 13 and take a picture of the valley behind you. For movie fans, this is the spot where Forrest Gump stopped running to turn around and go home. It is also a stunning view, and worth a quick stop for a final shot of this amazing venue.

Visited October 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Victoria
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
16 attraction reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
“What views”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 4, 2013

We went with the guided tour because of the condition of the road. Really good it was too. Excellent information from the Navajo guide and we were taken to some great viewpoints with numerous photo opportunities. You are taken on the back of a massive utility type vehicle with seating at the back for about 25 people. We had a real mix of nationalities and that added to the experience. Very good experience.

Visited October 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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