Your Guide to Monument Valley
Visiting Monument Valley
- Per Vehicle Pass: $20 per non-commercial vehicle up to 4 people ($6 each additional passenger; children under 9 free)
- Per Individual Pass: $10 per walk-in, bicycle, or motorcycle
- April 1 – September 30 (Peak Season): 6 a.m. – 8 p.m., 7 days a week
- October 1 – March 30 (Off Season): 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., 7 days a week
- CLOSED: Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day
Visitors to Monument Valley have the opportunity to explore the area aboard a guided Jeep tour, provided by a variety of local tour operators. Those wishing to enjoy Monument Valley independently can travel along the scenic drive and find equally impressive sights of the rock formations.
Despite its name, this area is not technically a valley at all! What was once a rock basin was chiseled away by wind and rain erosion for 50 million years into the magnificent plateaus known around the world today as Monument Valley. Each plateau has been given a name inspired by its unique shape, such as the Three Sisters, Elephant Butte, Camel Butte, the Hub, and more notably, John Ford Point - made famous in Ford’s legendary Western films. Elevation at the park rises 5,564 feet above sea level and is approximately 91,696 acres in size.
Monument Valley is located in northeastern Arizona, directly upon the Arizona/Utah border.
The Valley is 177 miles northwest of the Grand Canyon South Rim and 107 miles west of Page, Arizona. The town nearest to this famous location is Kayenta, Arizona - located 22 miles south. This is Navajo land - and to them, Monument Valley (known to them as Tse’Bii’Ndzisgaii, or “Valley of the Rocks”) is considered sacred.
In 1906, a trading post was established by John Wetherhill and Clyde Colville in Oljeto, Utah and was later moved to present-day Kayenta. In 1924, Harry Goulding and his wife started their own trading post. Today, the post continues to operate just north of the Arizona border in Utah and still bears his name.
The View Hotel, located within Monument Valley, contains a restaurant featuring massive glass walls for diners to enjoy the world-famous scenery and the sunset. The chefs at the View combine classic American dishes and traditional Navajo cuisine for a unique fusion menu. It is important to note that alcohol is not permitted on Navajo territory, and the View restaurant serves only non-alcoholic beer and wine.
Another recommended option is the Stagecoach restaurant located in the nearby Gouldings Hotel. Guests will also find fantastic views of the Monument Valley buttes while enjoying breakfast, lunch, or dinner. This restaurant also abides by Navajo law and does not serve alcohol.
Although there are no hotels located directly within Monument Valley, visitors to the area will find lodging options in the nearby town of Kayenta, AZ. Kayenta is the only incorporated town located within the Navajo Nation. Aside from the aforementioned the View Hotel and the Gouldings Hotel, there are bed and breakfasts throughout Kayenta as well as ample camping opportunities.
Mitten View Campground, located near the Visitor Center, offers sites for both tent camping and RVs. Campgrounds are open year round and are available on a first come-first serve basis. Those camping in groups must make reservations in advance for a fee of $20. The campground hosts 99 sites which include a table, Ramada, grill, and garbage cans. During the summer months restrooms are available, as well as coin-operated showers and a filling/dumping station.
In Popular Culture
Throughout film history, Monument Valley has served as the backdrop for a great many Western films; in fact, the area was a favorite shooting location of legendary Western director John Ford. Westerns such as Stagecoach, My Darling Clementine, The Searchers, and How the West Was Won have all used the backdrop Monument Valley.
More recently, Monument Valley is notably featured as the simulated landscape in HBO’s science fiction series WestWorld. Pixar’s 2006 film Cars featured a similar landscape, this time called “Ornament Valley”. Additionally, one of the most memorable scenes in Forrest Gump takes place on the desert highway leading into Monument Valley. Back to the Future III and National Lampoon’s Vacation also feature scenes in Monument Valley.