Monument Valley State Park Off The Beaten Path

  • Off The Beaten Path
    by Yaqui
  • Off The Beaten Path
    by Yaqui
  • Off The Beaten Path
    by Yaqui

Most Recent Off The Beaten Path in Monument Valley State Park

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    Off Trails Hiking

    by Yaqui Updated Oct 31, 2013

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    It's best to check with the tribal visitor center before you make a trip here if your planning to hike or camp.

    Off-trails hiking is possible only with a hired guide. They are several guides stationed in the parking lot by the visitor center. Yet, there is a self-guided tour that is about 3 miles that can be used by visitors. Please check in with the tribal visitor center.

    You will need to request for a permit for hiking/backcountry use and camping permits prior to your visit please allow 3-4 weeks before your trip, or visit any of the following Navajo Parks and Recreation offices. Please call for summer hours.

    Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park Scenic Drive Hours (Hours may change)
    Summer (May-Sept) 6:00am - 8:30pm
    Winter (Oct - Apr) 8:00am - 4:30pm

    Fee's change for camping & general admission, so check with the tribal visitor center.

    Monument Valley UT 84536

    From Flagstaff, AZ, take U.S. Highway 89 north, 67 miles to U.S. Highway 160. Continue northeast on Route 160 for 62 miles to Kayenta, AZ. Monument Valley is 22 miles north of Kayenta Arizona, along U.S. Highway 163.

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    Rockman Shadow - Horse Head

    by Yaqui Updated Oct 31, 2013

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    One of the unique charactistics of these beautiful formations is how the shadows cast on them. Some of them look the best in the morning or late in the afternoon. On Spearhead Mesa, I happen to catch this shadow and to me if you look in the middle it looks like a man with his left arm bent to the waist and the right arm looks really long as if he is leaning to his right.

    Another one was located over by the overlook for Sands Springs and Totem Pole. I happen to be looking down and it caught my eye right away. It looks like the shape of a horse head. Hmmm, maybe I have my horsey on mind:^)

    The third to me looks like a window within the rock.

    Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park Scenic Drive Hours
    Summer (May-Sept) 6:00am - 8:30pm
    Winter (Oct - Apr) 8:00am - 4:30pm

    Camping fees - $10/night plus Entryfees $5/person
    General Admission - $5.00
    Ages 9 or under - Free

    Monument Valley UT 84536

    From Flagstaff, AZ, take U.S. Highway 89 north, 67 miles to U.S. Highway 160. Continue northeast on Route 160 for 62 miles to Kayenta, AZ. Monument Valley is 22 miles north of Kayenta Arizona, along U.S. Highway 163.

    Can you see it!
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    Elephant Feet by the Roadside

    by jumpingnorman Written Apr 20, 2013

    This unique rock formations are just by the roadside and are great for a little photoshoot :) Not sure about the history of these rocks but for sure, they have been there a loooooong time :)

    Address: US Hwy 160, Tonalea, AZ
    Directions:
    On the north side of US 160, either 34 miles east of its junction with US 89, or 16.5 miles west of its intersection with Hwy 98.

    Elephant Feet, Tonalea, Arizona Elephant Feet, Tonalea, Arizona
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    Valley of the Gods

    by RAINBOWWINGS Written Aug 12, 2007

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    Between Monument Pass and Mexican Hat is a gravel track with a dusty sign pointing to the Valley of the Gods. The road map says 8kms in and 8kms out, so being in an adventurous mood we turned off the road onto the track and headed inland.
    Not another vehicle in sight just desert, rocks and gradually the fabulous formations and monoliths rose up before us. The sights were breathtaking and as you studied the huge rock formations you could make out figures hidden in them The Navajo say the spirits of their dead form in the rocks and we could clearly see and eagle and a monkey.
    The track was scary and at one point seemed to turn into a rollercoaster with deep dips and high rises where you couldnt see what was on the other side...until you were racing down the other side only to meet a steep rise infront of you again. We laughed like children, but deep down I think we were all a little scared!!

    Me and the Gods Monkey Eagle

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    Goosenecks State Park

    by mikehanneman Written Apr 5, 2007

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    If you are going to Monument Valley, keep a couple of side trips in mind.

    It's not very far to go to Goosenecks State Park. Please see my page on Goosenecks.

    The Valley of The Gods is in between Monument Valley and Goosemecks S P - Mexican Hat wasn't a very big deal at all to me, which is along the route too.

    Just an option for a nice side trip!

    Goosenecks State Park Above The Valley Of The Gods, beyond Goosenecks

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    Valley Of The Gods

    by Karnubawax Written Jan 27, 2006

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    Not far from Monument Valley - on the other side of the border and the other side of the freeway - is a place almost as spectacular. It's called the Valley of the Gods. It's like a smaller, greener version of Monument Valley inside of a giant gorge. Unfortunately, I had just enough time to do a little exploring right before dusk, so I didn't get any good pictures. If you are planning on doing 2 days at MV, you might want to make one of them a trip here instead.

    A few cautions - the road, while paved, has some very severe dips and gullys and should not be attempted by any vehicle over 18 ft. long. Also, you'll want to keep an eye on your gas gauge, as filling stations are few and far between. There are no services available anywhere inside the valley, though I think there may be a primitive campground.

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    Agathla Peak (El Capitan)

    by Trekki Updated Jan 7, 2006

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    Around Monument Valley, Earth had been active volcanically, too. Two major volcanic monoliths are Shiprock (in New Mexico) and Agathla Peak or El Capitan. Agathla Peak rises 1500 ft up in the sky, some miles east of Kayenta.

    It’s name - Aghaa’lá means “much wool” and could easily refer to the threads of wool, grazing sheep might have lost in the basaltic rocks. I have heared that the Holy People have placed this mountain in order to increase the distance between earth and sky – as it is very hot in the summer.

    Agathla Peak - volcanic monlith
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    Moki Dougway – overlook

    by Trekki Updated Jan 7, 2006

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    A very good overview of Monument Valley you will have if you drive to Moki Dugway Overlook, which is close to the Goosenecks (i.e. outside of the park).

    Head north on 163 to Mexican Hat, turn left onto 281, climb the road until you reach the Viewpoint. Be prepared for spectacular views – mainly when the sky is clear and visibilty is good :-)

    Moki Dugway Overlook Moki Dugway Overlook
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    Sun's Eye

    by Trekki Updated Jan 7, 2006

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    Another spot, which you will see during a guided tour into Central Monument Valley is Sun's Eye - another fine example of the erosion within Colorado Plateau. It’s a cave type natural arch, which means that it has been eroded out of the “roof” of (in this case deChelly sandstone) a rock formation, and eventually collapsed, giving room to this “eye”.

    You can't get close, as this is also a holy spot for Navajo (near Thunderbird Mesa).

    Look at the dark vertical lines on the rock - this is called "Desert Varnish", and is a result of specific oxidation on the vertical rocks, when in contact with water and their mineral salts.

    Sun's eye - also deep in the park
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    Signs of the old hunters

    by Trekki Updated Jan 7, 2006

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    The old native hunters left their signs everywhere in the area and also in the tribal park.

    Far remote inside the park, there are these carvings of antelopes (near Thunderbird Mesa).

    You need to organize yourself a guided tour, as you can't get that far into the park on your own.
    Apart from that, it's better to have a local guide, as you learn much more about Navajo culture, and they will prevent you from running around disturbing the todays' settlers.
    Keep in mind that a lot of people have a private life in the park.

    Antelope signs - carved in the redstone
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    A roundtour

    by sim1 Updated Sep 15, 2005

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    You can have an organized tour through Monument Valley, but I chose for the self-guided road tour I was allowed to take my own car, at my own speed, on this beautiful drive through the rock formations. I found out it did take a lot of time because it is a 17 mile unpaved loop road. You can see on this picture the quality of the dusty red road. My average speed was about 10 kilometers an hour. Especially the first part of the road was bad. But this way I could enjoy the beautiful scenery to it's maximum.

    Monument Valley is territory of Native Americans and you do have to pay an entrance fee. It is not possible to use your National Park entrance card.

    Driving through Monument Valley

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    The Chief – another formation in the rocks

    by Trekki Written Sep 12, 2005

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    I don’t know if this is really the name of that rock formation within Monument Valley (on Thunderbird Mesa) – but I simply called him “The Chief”, as it resembles a native american, looking to the right side.

    the Chief :-)
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    Sand dunes – the famous ones

    by Trekki Written Sep 12, 2005

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    Also accessible only with guided tours, the sand dunes are another typical landmark and photographic spot in Monument Valley. They are close to Totem Pole area. Best to be visited in summer, when the winds softly wave over the land and create the typical ripples on them.

    The picture was taken in february as well, the snow setting a nice contrast to the deep red of the sand.

    sand dunes - in Central Valley more sand dunes more sand dunes more sand dunes
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    Water – and it’s importance for the Valley

    by Trekki Written Sep 12, 2005

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    Water is rare in Monument Valley area. Incredible how the plants are patiently waiting for the next rain to come ! Everything is going into blooming !

    The picture was taken in a remote spot close to the Sand Dune area, in february – the Valley still had snow here and there, and the sand was holding the water.

    rain - and everything starts to grow
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    Ear of the Wind

    by Trekki Written Sep 12, 2005

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    In contrast to Sun’s Eye, Ear of the Wind is of the type of pothole arch. This has resulted by eventually rupturing a hole into a cliff or a wall.

    Ear of the Wind is also only visible when booking a guided tour into Central Valley.

    Ear of the Wind - in winter time
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