When you drive from Page, AZ, to the Monument Valley, you will enter Navajo land, since the Monument Valley is a Navajo National Park. Part of the Navajo reservation is Arizona, part of it is Utah. The Navajo Nation is in the Mountain Time Zone, but observes daylight saving time (as opposed to Arizona). And one thing you’ll notice if you are European; they use the metric system – all road signs show exact kilometrage with the miles.
On the way to the Monument Valley, you’ll pass a coal mining facility, and Kayenta, and close to the entrance of the park, the road forks. To the left is the Monument Valley airport, a small dirt strip where you can book plane tours through the area, and Goulding’s Trading Post.
The trading post seems to be visited by the large bus tours mainly, we stopped to take a few pics, before we continued to the Monument Valley.
The entrance fee to the Monument Valley is 5 Dollars per person, to be paid in cash only. Let me repeat that, just in case: no credit cards. Have your dollar bills folded when you enter the Monument Valley.
There is only one building – the complex of the Navajo-owned hotel „The View“ with visitor center and gift shop, and from there you’ll have the standard postcard view. The bus tours stop here, and more important, a 17-mile loop road (27 km) starts here, the only tour through Monument Valley you can do on your own without a Navajo guide. It is a tour I’d highly recommend, as long as you have a high-cleareance vehicle (although we saw many tourists doing it with sedans, which is a risky enterprise to say the least – allegedly several cars a day have to be towed because of torn oil pans or similar damages).
With our Jeep Liberty, this wasn’t much of a problem; the worst part is the first mile or so, when you descent down into the valley, over layers and blocks of sandstone, alternating with red sand holes. After that, you’ll get to enjoy views you may remember from old John Ford western movies.
And this is what our car looked like three hours later:
It is an awesome trip, no tour to the Monument Valley is complete without doing this loop road. We treated ourselves to a night at The View hotel, which gave us the chance to experience another awesome view of Monument Valley: sunrise.