It's not so much as a Tourist Trap as an annoyance to me. When Hans and I read SCENIC VIEW along the road, in the area just before the Park, we pulled in, as we never want to miss anything, esp. if it might be a great view and I could see that they also had some booths there, selling Native Indian jewelry. We turned off and came to a little shed, with a Native woman inside. On the side of the shed was posted - Entrance Fee $2.00. Like give me a break - $2.00 to see a view!!! I was so annoyed, I told Hans to turn around. It's not the $2.00 - it's the principle.
In an effort to drum up business for their four-wheel drive trips, operators warn that the Valley Drive is not suitable for regular passenger vehicles. The beginning of the road is a bit rough but it smooths out considerably soon after and unless there were some major rains, any car is capable of making the trip. I did it in a low clearance Honda Civic in 1995 and in a Camry in 2008. Obviously, you have to pay attention and maneuver yourself around obstacles and potholes in the first quarter mile but it becomes a fairly packed sand track after that.
Unique Suggestions: I certainly think tours through the valley are a good idea and having a Navajo guide would surely give insight into what the stunning land means to the locals. I just don't like the idea of it being forced on you and being led to believe it is impassable in a normal car. There is currently talk of allowing only tour operators on the road. One can only imagine the price gorging if that were the case. If the idea is to cut down on traffic on the road, a park shuttle that is run for a nominal fee seems most fair.
Look at those colours of the flowers : aren't they vibrant!
But are these tourist traps??? hmmm, noooo, but so beautiful! I was trapped by their beauty! I couln't get enough spotting these little bright flowers in the red dry landscape of Monument Valley.
On most of the pictures Monument Valley looks so very dry and dusty. But when you take a closer look you can see some beautiful plants as well. Take this cactus for instance; there are quite a lot of them around in Monument Valley.
Few indians however try to trick tourists in spending money. If you know your rights and bring it the right way, you can get out of it. Example: on a beautiful location 'accidently' a cowboy on his horse (in fact an indian that obviously has a identity-crisis) makes the picture complete. Many draw their camera's and start shooting in the wild. Then mr. Marlboro comes in action, hurries to the tourists and states that they have to pay him for his act! Well, in this case I am extremely Dutch. The answer was: I am sorry fellow, but I could actually ask you for some money! I wanted to take a picture from the magnificent landscape, yet you were in the way! I waved even to you to move, but you wouldn't go! (-:
Permission is required to photograph Navajo residents and their property, and you will usually need to pay them.