Images: Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park | Utah

Just over the northern border of Arizona in Utah is Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, a vast expanse of desert dotted with bizarre red sandstone formations. Monument Valley has been the backdrop of dozens of Western films shot in the United States, and it’s easy to see why: There are no large, established towns for miles around, dust kicks up with a slight breeze or the passing of a car, scrub bushes in bloom offer a picturesque landscape and the whole scene exudes the romantic feel of the Wild West.

There is a 17-mile drive that passes through Monument Valley, stopping at a variety of pull-off points along the way. It is unpaved and requires a high-clearance vehicle and patience to traverse safely. There are also a number of tours that run throughout the park if you don’t want to drive on your own. There is one hotel, The View Hotel, that offers lodging in the park, and it is booked several months in advance, but rumor has it that those who are lucky enough to snag a room are treated to awesome sunset views.

During a recent road trip to Monument Valley, I picked up a few tips that might come in handy for interested travelers:

> Most of the tour vehicles don’t have windows, so dust is rampant. Be prepared to protect your body with sunglasses, a hat and even a scarf or bandana to put over your face.
> Wear sunscreen. The sun exposure can be brutal.
> Drink lots of water. You’re in desert country.
> There are not a lot of amenities outside the park, so pack any snacks or water before you enter, because anything you need is expensive nearby.
> Gas up before you arrive. Again, amenities are minimal.
> This is not a national park. You’ll need to pay an entrance fee of $5.00 per person.

Click on a photo below to begin the slideshow.

Images: Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park | Utah

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Images: Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park | Utah
JoAnna is a globe-trotting, idea-inventing, culture-collecting creativity connoisseur with big dreams and a desire to touch all seven continents. You can also find JoAnna at joannahaugen.com and at The 52 Letters Project.

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20 Responses

  1. Emily S. says:

    Those photos are gorgeous! I’d never heard of this place before…We love Utah, so we’ll have to add this one to our list!

  2. JoAnna says:

    It’s just north of the Arizona border on the eastern part of the state, so it’s a drive from Las Vegas. If you plan well in advance (4 – 6 months), you can rent a room at the View Hotel, but it’s booked up months in advance, so plan ahead for the best experience.

  3. Leigh says:

    I’m heading to Escalante National Wilderness area in October and wish I had time to make it to Monument Valley. Lovely images.

  4. Deb says:

    We’re doing a road trip to that are this summer, I’ll have to make sure that our route takes us through here!

  5. I love the rugged scenery you’ve captured here with this photo essay!

  6. I am AMAZED at how much there is to see in that part of the US. I’ve travelled the four corners area several times. Something new and spectacular every time! Thanx for sharing :)

  7. JoAnna says:

    If you’re visiting Escalante, you’ll actually be quite close, relatively speaking, but Monument Valley is definitely out of the way, so you can’t just jaunt over there. Escalante is supposed to be AMAZING though! I’ve driven through but didn’t have the chance to stop. I’d love to hear your thoughts once you visit.

  8. JoAnna says:

    Well, there isn’t really a route that goes “through” there. You need to make a point to get there. But if you do, I’m sure you’ll enjoy the landscape and scenery. I know you like to take photos, and this is definitely a good place to do that!

  9. JoAnna says:

    Thanks Samuel. It’s unusual country, that’s for sure!

  10. JoAnna says:

    I agree! I wasn’t sure what to expect when we arrived, and, truthfully, I was a bit underwhelmed while we were there, but the longer I’ve been away, the more amazing I realize it was.

  11. JoAnna says:

    I don’t think the desert Southwest gets the attention it deserves. It’s by far one of my favorite parts of the United States.

  12. Abby says:

    I can’t believe how far out they’re booked! Stunning photos. I love the desert. :)

  13. Looks gorgeous! Would love to visit here :) Reminds me of the outback

  14. JoAnna says:

    It didn’t ‘wow’ me as much when I was actually there, but it blows me away now that I look at the photos post-trip.

  15. JoAnna says:

    If this is what the Outback looks like, I want to visit it!

  16. Sherry Ott says:

    Love this area! Color! So much fun to do road trips there!

  17. JoAnna says:

    It’s a beautiful part of the country, even if it is hard to reach!

  18. Turtle says:

    I drove through Arizona and Utah once on the way somewhere else and kicked myself for not leaving more time to stop on the way. It looked like such a beautiful place. Your photos have just reminded me to try to get back there sometime!

  19. JoAnna says:

    The Southwest is a big place, and a lot of people hit the biggies but miss a lot of little things. This one is hard to reach; you have to want to go there.

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