Monument Valley, welcome to the far west. You wouldn't be from this planet if you hadn't seen a movie from the west where Monument Valley appeared. Surely you will not even know where it is, well, in the United States for sure, but what makes this place magical is not only its landscape but also that many such famous films have been filmed John ford as Diligence, Fort Apache, Rio Grande, The Invincible Legion, Peace Caravan or Desert centaurs and some more "modern" like Return to the Future III or Thelma and Louise.
What to do and see in Monument Valley
Monument Valley itself, and the name comes as a ring to the finger, is a monument to the films of the far west. The Red Rock Pythons 400m appear in many scenes of Indians and cowboys and best of all, the landscapes remain exactly the same since then. Simply enough to put a good soundtrack in the car and navigate the roads of this enigmatic place.
Touring the west coast and specifically coming from one of the most spectacular reservoirs in the world, Glen canyon, we take highway 98 from Page through an arid desert where 3 hours later you arrive at the entrance of this Navajo reserve. This valley called the Valley of the rocks or Tsé Bii Ndzisgaii in Navajo, is located between the border of Arizona and Utah (do not forget to see the Lake Powell) and covers a whole reservation called Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park.
Unlike other Indian reservations here everything is very well placed. Two large checkpoints at the entrance, a long caravan to enter and a huge parking lot where tourists park to take the classic photo of the place and eat in a restaurant with views, buy at the souvenir shop or sleep in the best hotel in the area, The View Hotel.
The best option once in the parking lot is to get on the platform, admire the place and make one of the travel photos then take the car again and go down a slope very carefully, if you do not carry 4 × 4, since your car can have a very bad time.
All the roads in the reserve are dirt and some of them have so much sand that they can get to catch your car. The good thing is that there are many people and if this happens to you, you get out of the car and ask for help. The Americans are kind if you find yourself in a situation where you need help.
Hiking in Monument Valley, walking through the Old West
Looking at the route, about 2 hours, the best points to visit would be:
- Visitor Center
- Stop to see the Merrick butte, the most famous Pythons in the world.
- Get to the John Ford's Point and take a picture with John Wayne.
- And go on a circular route (watch out for the car) through the Rain God Mesa through the Artist's Point, Cly Butte and Camel Butte points.
- Return before 4:30 p.m. in winter or 7:30 p.m. in summer, as the park closes and you can be lucky enough to spend the night in the car.
When to go?
From June to October is the high season. Regarding temperatures in winter, they range from -3º and 6º, in spring from 6º to 22º, in summer from 29º to 32º, perfectly bearable, and in autumn from 5º to 10º.
How to get?
First, it cannot be reached by bus. To access Monument Valley, take Highway 163, enter Kayenta and Mexican Hat, Arizona. From Kayenta there are about 38km and from Mexican Hat about 33km, a small distance to see and feel the incredible landscapes of the American West.
What to wear
With a view to the campsites clearly the tent and everything that "surrounds" it. In front of the reserve, in summer water, patience for the small jams that can be mounted and a good cap to calm the sun.
Where to sleep?
We clearly advise Camp sites, for its excellent locations, prices and of course, because you are in full nature.
- Goulding's Monument Valley Camp ground. The plot costs about $ 16 for two people. Our recommendation
- Mitten View Campground. With good views, cheaper than the Gouldings but very loud in the mornings.
- Goulding Lodge More select and usually full. Possibly one of the most expensive in the area. In high season calculate about $ 160.
- The View Hotel Located inside the reserve in the main viewpoint of the park, it has incredible views, but accessible only to wealthy pockets.
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