MONUMENT VALLEY is one of the world's most recognized landscapes along with of one of the centerpieces of the Navajoland (semi-autonomous Native American territory). It is located in southern UTAH and extends into ARIZONA and is an iconic symbol of the American Southwest. It is also the sacred heart of the NAVAJO NATION. The landscape overwhelms, not just by its beauty, but also by its size. The fragile pinnacles of rock are surrounded by miles of mesas and buttes, shrubs, trees and windblown sand, all comprising the magnificent colors of the valley. All of this harmoniously combines to make Monument Valley a truly wondrous experience.

I have been in Monument Valley two times now; once in Nov 2015 & in May 2016. The following pictures are my photographs from my visits to this magnificent place. Please note that Monument Valley is a Navajo Tribal Park not a USA National Park; therefore, National Park passes are not accepted.

The 'Navajo Nation' is one of the largest tribal governments of the North American Indian tribes. The largest land area retained by a U.S. tribe and is managed via agreements with the United States Congress as a sovereign Native-American nation. The Navajo people established Monument Valley as a Navajo Tribal Park in 1958. The Navajo people manage and protect this national treasure of buttes, mesas, and monoliths.

The Navajo call themselves 'DINEH', which means 'The People'. The Navajo language is closely related to the APACHE language. The Navajos are an Athabascan-speaking people who migrated southwest from west central Canada around the 15th century.

In this presentation, you'll see some of my pictures which I have taken during my visits to MONUMENT VALLEY. I've included some tourist information along with personal experiences so that in the event that you too would like to visit this amazing place, perhaps my notes will assist you in some way. Hope you enjoy viewing my photographs.




MONUMENT VALLEY (Navajo name: 'Tse Biie Ndzisgaii'), means the valley of the rocks and is a region of the Colorado Plateau characterized by a cluster of vast sandstone buttes; the largest reaching 1,000 ft (300 m) above the valley floor.

It is located on the Arizona-Utah state line [Coordinates: 36 59'N 110 6'W], near the Four Corners area of the Southwest (corners of COLORADO, UTAH, ARIZONA and NEW MEXICO). The Valley lies within the range of the Navajo Nation Reservation and is accessible from U.S. Highway 163.
Elevation & land size: 5,564ft (1696 mt) above sea level and total land size is 91,696 acres.


Monument Valley was once a simple flat basin. Over millions of years, layers of sediment piled onto the basin, which was eventually uplifted by pressure from below. Then, wind and water slowly eroded the this plateau by leaving Cutler Red siltstone and its sand behind, forming the wonders of magnificent area.




This great valley boasts sandstone masterpieces that tower at heights of 400 to 1,000 feet; framed by scenic clouds casting shadows that graciously roam the desert floor. The angle of the sun accents these graceful formations, providing scenery that is simply spellbinding.




Visitors pay an access fee of $20 per vehicle, car/van/truck, up to 4 persons ($6 extra for each additional person) and travel along an unpaved 17-mile road which provides a scenic drive through the dramatic vistas. Fees vary according to size of vehicles along with the time of the year.

As one can imagine, the road is dusty, especially during the summer months, and can be quite steep in a few places and is overall uneven terrain, but one does not need 4WD; unless you are traveling after a recent heavy rainfall. Therefore, the road can be traveled in most family sedans (excluding low clearance vehicles) along with small to medium sized RVs.

The route can be completed in 1 to 3 hours, depending how many stops one makes to see and/or take photographs. You can travel along the 17-mile loop as many times as you would like. Visitors are not allowed to stray from the main road or otherwise explore the area without a guide. Park hours are 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. from April through September. Winter, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

There is no water supplies nor restrooms long the 17-mile loop, so be sure to carry enough water with you before beginning. Bicycling is permitted on the 17-mile loop road into the park, but travelers share the dusty dirt track with motor vehicles. Also note that alcoholic beverages are prohibited on Navajo lands.




The above picture was taken during sunrise on the speciality photography tour on my last visit.


'Big Hogan Rock'


As well as eroded rocks, the area also showcases ancient cave and cliff dwellings, natural arches, and petroglyphs, along the 17-mile Valley Drive. These attractions are generally located in more isolated locations and are visible only as part of a guided tour.
Please note that all tours and guides accept CASH ONLY.



As a representation of the Arizona Old West, Monument Valley has been a favorite shooting location for Hollywood film makers since the early days of the frontier genre - starting with 'Stagecoach', in which John Wayne rides horseback across the region. Today, Monument Valley is still a popular backdrop for films and postcards. Monument Valley is the ancestral home of the Navajo people, who still reside here today as part of the Navajo Nation; the largest Native American reservation in the United States.


Huge buttes surround you along the drive in the valley.


HOW TO GET THERE? (By road)

From the south, you will approach the area via Hwy 160 (that runs east/west across the Navajo Reservation).
At KAYENTA, turn north onto Hwy 163 to MONUMENT VALLEY.

From the north, follow Hwy 191 from Moab, Utah, through MONTICELLO and BLANDING to BLUFF . Then take Hwy 163 to MONUMENT VALLEY.

Monument Valley is also near to many other well-known tourist destinations of the Southwest. For example:
From the south entrance of the GRAND CANYON: about 170 miles, 3 hours drive.
From PAGE, Arizona, and LAKE POWELL: about 125 miles, 2 hours drive.
From MOAB, UT and ARCHES NAT. PARK about 150 miles, 2 1/2 hours drive,
From PHOENIX, AZ 322 miles, ~7 hours drive via I-17 N to FLAGSTAFF and then US-89 N and US-160 E.

Bicycling is permitted on the 17-mile loop road into the park, but travelers share the dusty dirt track with motor vehicles.

For more info, park's official address & phone numbers:
Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, P.O. Box 360289, Monument Valley, Utah 84536
Ph: (435) 727-5874 / 5879 / 5870. Fax: (435) 727-5875. E-mail: myazziecly@navajonationparks.org





LODGING ?

The "VIEW HOTEL" (435-727-5555), where I stayed, is the only hotel inside 'Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park', situated at the entrance, near the visitors center. The View Hotel is a 3-story building and all the rooms at The View Hotel have balconies and views of the park. Rooms located on the 3rd floor are the most expensive as they feature the best, open views of the land/skyscape. THE VIEW HOTEL also has a campground area which offers a different way to enjoy the park. You can choose from RV sites or wilderness camp sites. Each offers their own unique view of Monument Valley. There is another hotel, GOULDING'S LODGE (435) 727-3231), located across the road from the entrance to the park. GOULDING'S is by far the nearest hotel to the park, without being actually inside it. Both hotels have onsite restaurants. Gasoline and groceries are available outside the park at GOULDING'S LODGE. Both the visitor center and Mitten View Campground are equipped with handicap facilities.
Note that the entire Navajo Nation observes Mountain Daylight Savings Time from April through October.





During my first visit, my friend Jerry and I completed the 17-miles self-guided valley drive on our first day. But the following morning, we took a guided tour ($75 p/person) which lasted about 4 hrs, and were taken throughout the Valley with a driver in a 4WD truck. On my second visit, we took a speciality, 4-hour guided tour, called "Photography Tour" ($125 p/person), with my friends Jerry and Mike. We met our driver at 5:00 AM and started photographing during sunrise. Again, we arranged this tour as our interest was on photographing the landscape. So, if you are photographer too, I recommend taking such a tour.

You can book a tour in in either in an open vehicle or closed; but keep in mind the season in which you are planning your visit.

On the top right, you can see a picture of a 'hogan', which is the traditional dwelling of the 'Navajo people'. Every Navajo family, even those living in newer style homes, would have a hogan for ceremonies according to their religious and cultural beliefs. I entered into one of them and saw a young Navajo lady who was demonstrating how to make thread for hand-woven rugs and blankets. This was a nice and special treat for us and also gave us an intimate photo opportunity.

The picture on the left is from my first visit to Monument Valley; the photo is of me and a beautiful young native lady who was selling hand-made jewelry. She was also the wife of a young man who's horse I rented earlier in the day. The picture on the right is from my second visit to Monument Valley of our driver/tour guide.



Thank you for viewing this site. Hope you enjoyed my pictures and learned a little about this magnificent place and about the Navajo people.

Please remember, when you go to Monument Valley, take enough cash with you for tour(s) and guides and never start your travels without first making your hotel and tour reservation(s).



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If you enjoyed seeing this site, I invite you to see my other PHOTO JOURNEY sites:

The WAVE, (Arizona, USA)

ANTELOPE CANYON (Arizona, USA)

PETRIFIED FOREST (Arizona, USA)

CANADIAN ROCKIES (CANADA / Banff & Jasper areas)

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK (Wyoming, USA)

BEARIZONA (Williams, AZ, USA)

TENT ROCKS (New Mexico, USA)

BISTI / DE-NA-ZIN Wilderness (New Mexico, USA)

American Native's HOOP DANCE

BARRIO DISTRIC (Tucson, AZ, USA)

COKE OVENS (Arizona, USA)

Or go back to Tanju's gallery




The majority of the text used in this presentation has been taken from various sources on the Internet. All images appearing in this site are the exclusive property of www.NATUREHIKE.net and may not be reproduced, copied, stored, or manipulated without the written permission of Tanju Bayramoglu.

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