Famed for its towering sandstone buttes, Monument Valley is a spectacular region of red-sand desert along the border between Arizona and Utah. It lies within the territory of the Navajo Nation Reservation and has been featured in countless films, transforming the park into an icon of the American Wild West.
Things to do in Oljato-Monument Valley
The best way to explore Monument Valley is along the 27-kilometre-long Valley Drive, which offers outstanding views of the incredible formations for which the area is known. While the road is not paved, it’s accessible to most vehicles, although you need to hire one of the Navajo guides if you want to explore outside of the main loop.
If you want to stretch your legs, you can embark on the five-kilometre-long Wildcat Trail, which winds past the famous Mitten Buttes and Merrick Butte. It’s a great way to immerse yourself in the red-ochre scenery of Monument Valley and is the only self-guided trail in the region.
Prefer to get off-the-beaten tourist track? Join a tour to explore the Lower Monument Valley, which offers up-close views of the Totem Pole and several other mesas that can’t be viewed from the Valley Drive. Alternatively, you can learn about the region’s petroglyphs and Anasazi sites on a tour of Mystery Valley or have your photograph taken at Teardrop Arch, which famously frames a magnificent view of Monument Valley.
Getting around Oljato-Monument Valley
Flagstaff Pulliam Airport is around three hours’ drive from Monument Valley and has regular flights to Denver, Phoenix and Dallas-Fort Worth. The much-larger Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is five hours away. Having your own vehicle is the most convenient way of getting to and around Monument Valley, with guided tours also available.