Monument Valley Logistics
Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park Logistics
Location: Monument Valley and Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park is located in southeast Utah and northeast Arizona on the border. The monument is reached via US-163 from the north or south. It's 148 miles, or 3 hours, from Moab Monument Valley. Bluff to Monument Valley, on Highway 163, is 48 miles or 50 minutes. Monument Valley is about 5 hours from Phoenix. Check ahead for current conditions and entrance fees.
Fees and Permits: The entrance fee for Monument Valley Navajo Tribal park is $10 per person or $20 per vehicle. Children 9 and younger are free. Permits are required for backcountry hiking, camping, filming, and various special uses such as weddings. Visit the park’s website for more information on current fees.
Monument Valley climate and weather: Visitors come to Monument Valley year-round, but most come during spring and autumn to best enjoy the high-desert environment. The onset of searing summer heat usually begins in late May, and it can persist into mid-September. Autumn provides some of the most stable weather of the year. Temperatures may reach mid-90s F in July and August. Clear, warm, sunny days and cool nights make this one of the most delightful seasons to visit. Winter in the region can be cold and windy, although there will be some nice days. Average highs in the winter are in the 40s, meaning carrying layers and water for serene, sometimes snow-dusted, panoramas.
When to visit
The visitor center is open 7 days a week. Hours during peak season (May 1 - September 30) are 6:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.; hours during off season (October 1 - April 30) are 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. Scenic Drive hours during the peak season are 6:00 a.m. - 8:30 p.m. and during the off season are 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Note for Scenic Drive: High-clearance vehicles are recommended to navigate the dirt, gravel and red rock road because of very rough surfaces and a steep incline: Those who travel by tour bus, motorcycle, low rider, or some passenger vehicles, however, will find this scenic drive inaccessible.
If you're a photographer, consider planning or booking a sunrise or sunset tour to travel the park during the "golden hour" to capture photos of the park's monuments, needles, spires and other attractions in their full glory.
Geography and geology: The rock monuments in Monument Valley are excellent examples of erosion. The De Chelly Sandstone has been completely dissected, leaving only small mesas, buttes, and towers. This is partly due to Monument Valley’s close proximity to the San Juan River’s deeply incised gorge to the north. The dry tributaries drain north, allowing quick removal of eroded debris. Frost wedging along joints in the sandstone shapes the great monuments. Ice, frozen in cracks and fractures, expands and pushes the rock apart until slabs break off and fall to the talus cone below. Water also weathers the soft Chinle Formation siltstone base, leaving the fractured rock slabs unsupported. Contrary to popular belief, wind has little to do with the formation of the monuments.
GPS coordinates of park visitor center: 37.002449, -110.172615
Where to Stay
From gateway communities like Bluff and Mexican Hat, or a Monument Valley hotel or campground within the Navajo Nation Tribal Lands, there's plenty of accommodations to help extend your stay in Monument Valley. Why stay overnight in the area? Hundreds of miles from a major city, the stargazing here is simply breathtaking. For many, the vastness of the shimmering night sky, combined with the day's travels and cultural experiences, provides an awe-inspiring perspective on life that is both profound and long-lasting.
Overnight options: The View Hotel is the only lodging in Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. Reservations well in advance are a good idea if you want to enjoy the amazing views of Monument Valley from this modern hotel. Call 435-727-5555 or visit their website. GPS: 36.981796, -110.112175. (The park also has a camground but it has been closed lately for construction.)
Gouldings Lodge is another nearby option. This lodge is tucked under soaring rimrock cliffs two miles west of the Monument Valley turnoff from U.S. 163 in Utah. Gouldings also has a nice campground that offers RV hookups, a pool, and separate cabins. Call 435- 727-3231 or visit their website for information and reservations. GPS: 37.007868, -110.204117.
The nearest town to Monument Valley is Mexican Hat, Utah, to the northeast on U.S. 163. Accommodations are also available in Kayenta, Arizona, south on U.S. 163. and Goosenecks State Park near Mexican Hat also has a campground.
Nearest groceries and supplies: If you are coming from Utah, you will want to stock up on groceries in Mexican Hat or Bluff. If coming from Arizona, Kayenta is the nearest town to the monument.