Visit Monument Valley in West-America

Visiting Monument Valley

Monument Valley is a natural wonder located in the Southwest of the United States, on the border between Arizona and Utah. It is famous for its impressive sandstone rock formations, including the iconic “Mittens” buttes.

Monument Valley is a beloved spot for filmmakers. Many Hollywood movies and commercials have used its rock formations and vast landscapes as a backdrop, giving the landscape worldwide fame.

We left from the Grand Canyon South Rim towards Monument Valley, a journey of just over 3 hours. The last 30 minutes of the trip takes you along Highway 163 (U.S. Route 163). Highway 163 crosses the Navajo Nation Reservation and offers a fantastic view of the rock formations on the horizon.

Monument Valley USA

What can you do in Monument Valley?

In Monument Valley, admiring the buttes and rock formations is central. This can be done on foot, horseback, or by car. The following 4 activities all focus around the Mittens and Merrick Butte.

It’s good to know that Monument Valley has more to offer than just these three buttes. There’s John Ford’s Point, The Three Sisters, Rain God Mesa, Artist Point, and Elephant Butte. More information about these can be found at the bottom of this page.

1. View The Mittens and Merrick Butte

Monument Valley is most famous for the view of the 3 buttes, the West and East Mitten Buttes (The Mittens) and Merrick Butte. Merrick Butte is the tallest of the three, reaching a height of no less than 294 meters. The three buttes are unmissable when you’re at the Tribal Park Visitor Center.

2. Drive along Valley Drive

Valley Drive is a 27-kilometer car ride through the desert landscape of Monument Valley. The drive is on an unpaved road and many people undertake it with their own car. A 4×4 is not necessary under dry weather conditions. Along the way, you have a beautiful view of the buttes and rock formations. The cost is $20 per car.

You can also book an organized tour through Monument Valley. This includes a 4×4 tour through the Valley or an organized horseback ride. Check here for the top-10 tours through Monument Valley.

3. Visit Monument Valley Tribal Park Visitor Center

The Monument Valley Tribal Park Visitor Center is the central point of Monument Valley. From the terrace, you have a beautiful view of the West, East, and Merrick Butte. The Visitor Center has facilities such as toilets and a simple café. There’s also a gift shop with artworks and pottery, locally made by Native Americans.

4. Take a hike

The Wildcat Trail is the only hiking trail in Monument Valley that you can walk without a Navajo guide. The Trail is 6.3 kilometers long, takes about 2 to 3 hours to complete, and starts near the Visitor Center. The temperature in Monument Valley can rise to well above 30 degrees, so make sure you have enough water and sun protection.

Navajo Tribal Park

Monument Valley is located in a Navajo Tribal Park. It is a protected area managed by the Navajo Nation, an indigenous American tribe in the United States. The park is not managed by the National Park Service. Therefore, the ‘Annual Pass’ – which provides access to all national parks in America – cannot be used in Monument Valley.

Monument Valley The Mittens en Merrick Butte

Rental Car Monument Valley
merrick butte monument valley

Staying in Monument Valley

There are a number of hotels in Monument Valley where you can stay. The most special hotel is The View Hotel, located next to the Visitor Center. Every room has a balcony with a panoramic view of the famous Mittens and Merrick Butte.

The town of Kayenta is a good base for visiting Monument Valley. When you stay in this town, you just have to travel the beautiful Highway 163, and you will be at the Visitor Center in about 30 minutes. Check here for all the hotels in Kayenta.

Map with attractions

On the interactive map below, you can find all the highlights of Monument Valley. On this map, you can see Valley Drive (red line), the Wildcat Trail (yellow line), and the Visitor Center (zoom in -> blue star). Click on an element on the map to get an explanation.

Attractions in Monument Valley

Besides the Mittens and Merrick Butte, Monument Valley has a number of other special attractions. Below are some of them.

John Ford’s Point

John Ford’s Point is a magnificent viewpoint in Monument Valley, known from many western films and named after the director John Ford. Monument Valley starred in numerous films featuring the world-famous actor.

The viewpoint offers a breathtaking view of the vast red desert plains and towering sandstone formations. The place symbolizes the Wild West and the pristine American nature.

John fords Point Monument Valley

Highway 163

Highway 163 is a legendary road through the red sandstone landscapes. This iconic route, famous from movies and commercials, offers stunning views of the desert landscape and towering buttes. It’s a symbol of adventure and the untamed beauty of the American Southwest. It’s no wonder it’s one of the most photographed roads in America.

Highway 163 Monument Valley

Three Sisters

The Three Sisters in Monument Valley are three tall and narrow rock formations that stand side by side. The Three Sisters is a spiritual place for the Navajo people. According to the legends, the formations represent the spirits of three sisters who watch over the landscape, a story that underscores the deep connection between the Navajo culture and their environment.

three sisters monument valley usa

Artist Point

Artist Point is a spectacular viewpoint that lives up to its name. It offers panoramic views of the vast, colorful desert landscapes and the towering rock formations that Monument Valley is known for. This spot attracts artists, photographers, and nature lovers who are inspired by the incredible colors and shapes that change with the light of the day.

artist point monument valley

Elephant Butte

Elephant Butte is an impressive rock formation that stands out for its resemblance to an elephant. This natural sculpture, eroded by the forces of wind and water over millennia, showcases the power of nature and time. The massive body, trunk, and size make Elephant Butte a true eyecatcher in Monument Valley.

elephant butte monument valley

Frequently Asked Questions about Monument Valley

Is Monument Valley worth visiting?

If you want to experience the real ‘Wild West,’ then Monument Valley is definitely worth a visit. Besides stunning views, you can enjoy a beautiful hike, visit various viewpoints, and learn more about the Navajo people.

What are the opening hours of Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park?

During the summer months, Monument Valley is open from 07:00 AM to 07:00 PM. Note: the last entry time is 04:30 PM.

In the winter months, Monument Valley is open from 08:00 AM to 05:00 PM. Note: the last entry time is 02:30 PM.

Monument Valley is closed on Thanksgiving Day (4th Thursday in November), during Christmas, and on New Year’s Day. Always check the website for current changes.

Is it allowed to drive Valley Drive with a camper or motorcycle?

No. It is not allowed to drive the unpaved Valley Drive with a camper or motorcycle. If you still want to drive Valley Drive, you can book an organized tour.