If you’ve ever watched a western, you’ve probably seen a sweeping shot of some lonely sandstone monoliths rising from the desert and touching the sky. Most likely, you’re seeing Monument Valley. It has become the de facto symbol for the American West – at least in film and television. (If you want confirmation, check out Monument Valley’s IMDb page.) So it’s no wonder that people want to see the place in person. And we at the Lodge think you should. Here’s what to do and see near Monument Valley.
Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park is located on the Arizona-Utah. The most famous monoliths in the park are the West and East Mitten Buttes. These lie just south of the border line, in Arizona. And while you can see these buttes from the visitors center – which should definitely be your first stop – to get a good look at them, we suggest you drive the Monument Valley scenic route. The scenic drive is a 17-mile loop which will take you past some of the best geological features in the park. There is a nominal fee to access the route. You can download the scenic drive brochure here.
There are some pretty good hikes in Monument Valley too. A lot of them lead to ancient Anasazi ruins and rock art. You can get a complete list of hikes at the visitors center.
After you’ve seen the quintessential representation of the American West, head to some of the nearby attractions. Four Corners Monument is close by, and is the only place in the United States where you can be in four states at once. Or head to Natural Bridges by way of Mexican Hat and the Valley of the Gods. We can safely say that you won’t forget this amazing drive.