Towering Monument Valley spectacle sunset

Monument Valley

Monument Valley
Monument Valley is a region of the Colorado Plateau characterized by a cluster of sandstone buttes, the largest reaching 1,000 ft above the valley floor. It is located on the …
Monument Valley is a region of the Colorado Plateau characterized by a cluster of sandstone buttes, the largest reaching 1,000 ft above the valley floor. It is located on the Utah-Arizona state line, near the Four Corners area. The valley is a sacred area that lies within the territory of the Navajo Nation Reservation, the Native American people of the area.


Experience the 17-Mile Valley Drive
This great Navajo Nation valley boasts sandstone masterpieces that tower at heights of 400 to 1,000 feet. framed by scenic clouds casting shadows that graciously roam the desert floor. The angle of the sun accents these graceful formations, providing scenery that is simply spellbinding."It’s about 16 miles from Bluff to the eastern entrance, on the right, of Valley of the Gods, a highly recommended side trip. Valley of the Gods is like a miniature version of Monument Valley without people. Its mesas and spires are formed of the same Cedar Mesa sandstone as the somewhat larger formations at Monument Valley. The 17-mile loop drive on dirt road is suitable for all but the most low-slung passenger vehicles in good weather. Definitely consider driving this beautiful, lonely loop—though not in a large RV and not dragging a trailer. Stay away after heavy rains. Valley of the Gods is also a very good place to camp if you are entirely self-sufficient. There are no established campgrounds and no facilities, but there are plenty of places to camp in the wild. It is incredibly quiet, and watching the moon rise here is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.The loop finishes on Highway 261 just south of the descent from the Moki Dugway and north of the turnoff for Goosenecks State Park. Highway 261 will take you south back to U.S. 163, but there are some things to see along Highway 261 so consider taking more side trips.To see the impressive Muley Point overlook’s expansive views, turn right on Highway 261 off the Valley of the Gods scenic drive and immediately climb the 1,000-foot graded gravel road up the Moki Dugway.Just at the crest and right before the pavement resumes, look for the turnoff to the left. Trailers and large RVs will find the long climb to Muley Point nerve-racking, but the steep switchbacks and unbeatable scenery make this one of the most thrilling drives in the state." The area is part of the Colorado Plateau. The elevation of the valley floor ranges from 5,000 to 6,000 feet above sea level. The floor is largely siltstone of the Culter Group, or sand derived from it, deposited by the meandering rivers that carved the valley. The valley's vivid red color comes from iron oxide exposed in the weathered siltstone. The darker, blue-gray rocks in the valley get their color from magnesium oxide. The buttes are clearly stratified, with three principal layers. The lowest layer is the Organ Rock Shel, the middle is de Chelly Sandstone, and the top layer is the Moenkopi Formation capped by Shinarump Conglomerate. The valley includes large stone structures including the famed Eye of the Sun.Between 1948 and 1967, the southern extent of the Monument Upwarp was mined for uranium, which occurs in scattered areas of the Shinarump Conglomerate; vanadium and copper are associated with uranium in some depositThe landscape overwhelms, not just by its beauty but also by its size. The fragile pinnacles of rock are surrounded by miles of mesas and buttes, shrubs, trees and windblown sand, all comprising the magnificent colors of the valley. All of this harmoniously combines to make Monument Valley a truly wondrous experience. Enjoy this beautiful land. - Read More at Visit Utah valley has been used as a filming location for dozens of films and TV shows, from 2001: A Space Odyssey and Transformers: Age of Extinction to the Lone Ranger and Stagecoach, plus more.
Drive the Scenic Loop of Monument Valley
Be ready to experience one of the most majestic and overwhelming landscapes on earth! A 17mi drive that will leave you stunned...bring your camera. Be ready to embark on this 17 mile monumental scenic drive. The loop includes 11 numbered viewpoints and you can expect to spend between 2-4 hours in the park. For the best experience, check park hours and arrive early before the 15 mph traffic begins to stack up. You will find the beginning of the loop at the northwest corner of the View Hotel parking lot, near the view cabins. Here are the viewpoints:1. The Mittens & Merrick ButteThere is a slight initial descent with a couple of switchbacks as the three most famous formations come into view: West Mitten Butte, Merrick Butte and Merrick Butte. If you wish to see West Mitten Butte close up, you can hike the Wildcat Trail. 2. Elephant ButteThe road bends right and Elephant Butte comes into view in the distance. While it may not initially look much like an elephant in the morning, the shadows lengthen towards the end of the day making it look very much like an elephant in the desert. 3. Three SistersView point number three is on the west side of the road. You will see three high pinnacles which represents a Catholic num facing her two pupils. 4. John Ford's PointNamed after the hollywood director, this is a view for many Western Movies. There is an opportunity here to shop for authentic Navajo goods and also take an iconic photo of a man on his horse, perched on the edge of the viewpoint. 5. Camel ButteWhile some find this butte difficult to imagine as a camel, he does face west which can sometimes help reveal this camel in the desert.6. The Hub A single solitary structure, 150 feet high, which a cluster of dwellings at its base. 7. Totem Pole and Yei Bi CheiAt the edge of the valley you will see Yei Bi Chei, a group of spires, and the 450 foot high Totem Pole. 8. Sand SpringThis is a natural aquifer that seeps out where De Chelly and Navajo sandstone formations meet under the sand dune. You get a better perspective of the Totem Pole and Yet Bi Chei from this angle being that you are slightly closer.9. Artist's PointYou will take a right off the one-way loop for a short climb where you will see the familiar West Mitten Butte, Merrick Butte and East Mitten Butte. This viewpoint is often less crowded than John Ford's Point making it a favorite of mine within the park. This is the best spot in the park to photograph Sunrises! 10. North WindowA northern overlook of the lower valley with a view of Elephant Butte, Cly Butte. "Cly" is named after a well known Navajo Medicine man who is buried at the foot of the formation. 11. The ThumbThe last overlook along the drive some also say this looks very much like a cowboy boot. Not far beyond, the loop will take you back to John Ford's Point which you will continue to the visitor center 3.5 miles ahead. A Few TipsThere are no restrooms while on the loop. Vendors within the loop do sell soda and water along with native items at various points. Start early as it can be slow going with the tour trams and other visitors. There is no hiking in the park, but you can do the 3.2 mile Wildcat Trail. If you are staying in the area, you will have a chance to stay in a Hogan which is a rustic, yet fascinating Navajo experience! If you're thinking of camping, check out The View Campground in Monument Valley.

Suggested Itineraries

Data from: Wikipedia