With red rock formations soaring up to 1,000 feet (305 meters) into the desert sky, Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park is home to a unique landscape recognizable from classic Western films starring John Wayne. But beyond its fame on the big screen, there are nearly 92,000 acres of reservation cacti, arches, and Navajo traditions to explore and experience.
Since Monument Valley is located in a remote desert and much of it is only open to visitors who have a permit or are traveling with a Navajo guide, most travelers choose to explore the valley on a guided tour.
Monument Valley belongs to the Navajo Nation and lies on the border between Utah and Arizona. The entrance fee is $10 per person (or $20 per vehicle). Many tour options are available, some starting in Monument Valley and others departing from nearby cities. Tours range from three-hour safaris to full-day and multi-day adventures deep into the valley.
Some of the most popular sites in the vast park include John Ford’s Point, the Mittens, and the Four Corners Monument, where it’s possible to stand in four states at once: Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona.
Best Ways to Experience Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park
Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park features plenty of trails for hiking and horseback riding, including the secluded Mystery Valley and Tear Drop Arch, which are best reached on a hiking excursion or Jeep tour with a tour guide. Sunrise and sunset are popular times to visit, and many travelers say that visiting these untouched areas of the desert feels like a spiritual experience.
The park also offers opportunities to learn about the Navajo people (or Dineh, as they call themselves). Take a Navajo spirit and culture tour to visit a hogan (a native home) and take in a traditional music performance at Big Hogan, a large natural amphitheater.
The closest commercial airport is in Page, Arizona, just over a two-hour drive from Monument Valley, while bus service to the valley is also available from larger cities including Salt Lake City and Las Vegas. In addition, visitors have the option of traveling by private or semi-private helicopter or high-wing airplane. Note that most guided Monument Valley tours include roundtrip transportation from nearby cities such as Phoenix, Flagstaff, and Sedona.