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Overview

Soaring spires and buttes of Monument Valley create a magical interplay of rock and light in this enchanting land, now part of the vast Navajo Nation. Director John Ford helped introduce the iconic landscape to the world though movies such as the 1939 Stagecoach starring John Wayne. You'll first experience a sweeping view near the visitor center at the entrance to Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. As you can see, it's not a valley in the usual sense, but a high-desert plateau on which great monoliths and slender spires rise above shifting sand dunes. From the overlook, you enter the heart of Monument Valley by driving a 17-mile ...

Soaring spires and buttes of Monument Valley create a magical interplay of rock and light in this enchanting land, now part of the vast Navajo Nation. Director John Ford helped introduce the iconic landscape to the world though movies such as the 1939 Stagecoach starring John Wayne. You'll first experience a sweeping view near the visitor center at the entrance to Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. As you can see, it's not a valley in the usual sense, but a high-desert plateau on which great monoliths and slender spires rise above shifting sand dunes. From the overlook, you enter the heart of Monument Valley by driving a 17-mile unpaved loop road; pull-outs let you stop to enjoy classic views and close-ups of towering rock. You can also bicycle this road for a more peaceful, if strenuous, adventure. Navajo tour guides offer vehicle tours on the loop drive and farther afield with stories about Navajo life and history; guides also offer custom hiking and horseback tours. Stretch your legs on the 3.2-mile-roundtrip Wildcat Trail that loops around West Mitten; it also begins near the visitor center. The park and nearby communities offer hotels, campgrounds, and Navajo arts and crafts.

Bill Weir
About the Expert

Bill Weir is the author of Moon Handbooks on Arizona, Utah and the Grand Canyon.

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: A region of the Colorado Plateau characterized by a cluster of vast and iconic sandstone buttes, located within the Navajo Nation on the border of Arizona and Utah.
  • Research: Wikipedia | Wikitravel
  • Weather: Rainfall | Daylight
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Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Year-round, with the most pleasant temperatures in spring and autumn. This high-desert country sees little precipitation, though you might encounter an afternoon thunderstorm in summer or a snowstorm in winter; both types of storms tend to be short-lived.