Experience the ever-changing hues of this ancient landscape. Soaring spires of weathered rock and desert plains capture the essence of the American Southwest.
If towering sandstone buttes and sun-scorched sandy plains remind you of a western film, that’s because Monument Valley set the scene. Its desolate beauty first captured the imagination of western filmmakers in the 1930s, but the valley’s history goes farther back. Explore a landscape once inhabited by the ancient Anasazi and a vital traditional area for the Navajo Nation. Discover the Colorado Plateau region’s immeasurably ancient culture and geology as you drive, hike or ride on horseback around the Utah-Arizona borderlands.
Drive around Monument Valley’s most remarkable landscapes. A 14-mile (23-kilometer) graded dirt road presents a showcase of captivating sights, including the red-rock buttes and mesas of Totem Pole, The Mittens, Three Sisters and Yei Bi Chei. Look out over the valley from John Ford’s Point to see the viewpoint used in the 1956 film The Searchers.
Book a visit with a Navajo guide to go deeper into the valley to the 92,000-acre (37,000-hectare) Navajo Tribal Park. Investigate the towering Ear of the Wind, Hunts Mesa and the backcountry isolation of Mystery Valley on the western side of Wetherill Mesa. Look for pictographs, petroglyphs and ancient Anasazi ruins.
Follow hiking trails that loop through Monument Valley. The hikes range from easy to challenging and include viewpoints to ruins, natural bridges and stunning butte scenery. A popular choice is Wildcat Trail, extending 3 miles (5 kilometers) around West Mitten Butte. Explore a range of breathtaking backcountry trails on horseback with a guided tour. Camp overnight on the sandy plains and see the sky light up with stars.
The region’s visitor center is located at Lookout Point, 22 miles (35 kilometers) from Kayenta, Arizona. In summer, a restaurant serves native Navajo and American fare and has a souvenir shop. Pick up traditional Navajo handicrafts and food from the vendors lining the road. The center’s restrooms are available year-round. There is an access fee for the Navajo Tribal Park.
Experience the icons of the American West in Monument Valley.