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Ways to Experience Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park
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3,374 - 3,379 of 6,585 reviews
Reviewed August 26, 2012

We toured in total 23 national and state parks in our 18 days vacation. But monument valley is our best memory. We stayed at the view hotel and that was a fantastic start as indeed the view is fantastic and you can easily watch the sunset. Their restaurant was not expensive and both diner and breakfast were really good. But this experience would not have been the same if we had not do the sunrise jeep tour. Our Navajo guide picked us up at 5:15am and sure kids had a hard time to wake up. But this was worth the early rise. Even if sunrise could have been less cloudy, the peaceful view was one of a kind. Impossible to do it with a standard car anyway. Then the guide introduce us with the back country and it was full of surprises. I highly recommend this activity. It was expensive but I would do it again.

Date of experience: July 2012
1  Thank JC_CharlotteNC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 21, 2012

Since nobody else wants to say it, I will: the Navajo nation's management of this scenic gem is disgraceful.

Oh, sure, I could live with the overpriced gift-shop and lack of proper "interpretation" that you'd get at a National Park Service site. And I don't even begrudge the Navajos from charging more than the NPS would for admission (hey, might as well make a buck off the tourists). But where things get out of hand is with regard to the road through the Park. It's terrible, and everytime I visit, it seems to get a bit worse. The tribe obviously had enough money to build a nice new (expensive) hotel on the site; can they really not afford to properly maintain the dirt road? If that's TRULY the case (and I doubt it), just raise admission a buck and hire a road grader (or just pave the road).

As others also suspect, it's quite possible the road is INTENTIONALLY kept bad to boost the sale of expensive guided tours (which are run in open-air trucks, and run by tribal members). Other than absolute mismanagement, I can't think of another reason why they would let the road get in as bad a shape as it is. It is almost certainly the worst widely-travelled road in America (I've been on many dirt roads in remote places in poor countries that were FAR better than the Monument Valley road!).

I did get through the loop in a regular sedan without major incident. I am also an experienced dirt road driver, though. I saw many other drivers make it in regular cars as well. I wouldn't attempt the road in an ordinary car after a recent rain. I also probably wouldn't drive the road in my own car -- I've always done it in a rental. With a 4-wheel drive SUV, you are unlikely to have a problem.

The scenery in Monument Valley is exceptional, and is one of my favorite spots in the West. Too bad they don't let you walk around in many places (but I guess it's Navajo land and it's their choice how much to share). It's certainly worth a few hour stop, but I really wish somebody or some thing would compel the Navajos to manage the Park properly for the benefit of all.

Date of experience: August 2012
5  Thank Dave R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 20, 2012

Daniel's Tours did an amazing job of showing us the Park on a sunrise tour. I would highly recommend his tour. If he isn't available, try to do a sunrise tour with another company. The colors of the rock formations as the sun rises are much more spectacular than after the sun is fully up.

Date of experience: July 2012
Thank Kevann L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 20, 2012

Yes you can take your car through the drive, but you won't know what you are looking at and the road is really rough. The guides are Navajo and are very knowledgeable. Joe was a stand out. He also took us to some of the places not available if you drive yourself. The formations are interesting, but most of the guide is telling you what they look like. Kind of like seeing faces in the clouds. We loved it anyhow. Shower later, not before. It was hot, windy and dusty--but what! It's a desert.

Date of experience: August 2012
Thank mablumberg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 20, 2012

It was just as beautiful as we had expected it to be. This is the "old west" that we had seen in so many movies. With the land being so flat, these very large formations just seem to pop out of the ground. Simply amazing. However, please take all warnings from us and others seriously - do not to attempt to take the 17 mile trip in a car. It was sandy and lots of pot holes or ruts. We just traveled real slow which wasn't a problem. However, 2/3rds way around the loop we hit a sandy spot that wasn't like the rest and got stuck. None of the tours stopped to help, but noticed that they drove extremely FAST to get through this sandy area. However, a very nice driver of a SUV did stop. Needless to say, after getting out of the sand, we decided to turn around and go out the way we came. It was a little dissapointing that we didn't get to see that last little bit.
With that said - I would go again, but pay the extra to take a tour.

Date of experience: May 2012
1  Thank 518Mungi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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