Monument Valley Tours

Monument Valley tours offer a fascinating way to explore one of the most stunning natural landscapes in the American Southwest. There are several different options, with something to suit all travelers’ tastes, and better yet, these tours are easy to arrange, with local providers and most area hotels providing options to sign up.

Those who aren’t staying at an area hotel that offers tour services can book their tours of Monument Valley at the Monument Valley Tribal Park visitor center, which is located of US Highway US 163 approximately 20 miles north of the town of Kayenta, Arizona. Close by is the View Hotel (which is the only option for accommodations within the park), and it’s not much further to Goulding’s Lodge, both of which have tour options. As for choosing a tour, there are plenty to choose among, and if you have several days to spend in the area, it’s fun to try several of the different choices, as they all offer unique ways to see and learn about the region.

Guided Tours of Monument Valley

Guided tours often include a ride along the renowned Monument Valley Road. This dirt road makes a seventeen-mile loop around the Tribal Park and is ideal for general sightseeing. Perhaps the best thing about the guided tours, however, is the fact that some allow visitors to access special attractions that are otherwise off limits. With the exception of the Wildcat Trail, a four-mile loop that begins at the visitors center and goes into the valley and around the Left Mitten, it’s not possible to explore the Navajo lands within the Monument Valley Tribal Park without a local guide. The Navajo guides teach their tour guests about native history and culture, and they offer the chance to see the Big Hogan rock formation, Ear of the Wind Arch, and beautiful Anasazi Petroglyphs. Hiking is often a part of guided tours of Monument Valley, and full-moon tours can be arranged as well.

Monument Valley Jeep Tours

Monument Valley Jeep Tours
Monument Valley Jeep Tours

Jeeps are the vehicle of choice for many of the guided Monument Valley tours, as having four-wheel drive is a necessity in some parts. After all, the Monument Valley Road is a dirt road and gets pretty bumpy and steep at some parts of the route. The guided Jeep tour operators tend to congregate in the park’s main parking lot, so you might start there when trying to arrange such a tour. It’s possible to choose different lengths of jeep tours, but most visitors opt for one that allows them to visit some of the areas that are otherwise closed off, meaning they’re taking the tour with an official Navajo guide.

Monument Valley Self Guided Tours

You can always look to rent a Jeep or use your own 4WD vehicle and take your own tour around the Monument Valley Road. Of course, you won’t be able to access the majority of the park, but this option is nice if you only have a little time to spend exploring and need the flexibility in your schedule, and self-guided tours do include the option to stop at numerous vista points that offer spectacular views of the amazing terrain, however. The 17-mile Monument Valley Road starts from the visitors center and winds its way southeast through the park, along the cliffs and mesas; it takes two to four hours for most people to complete. If you’d rather stick to the highway, the only route through the valley is US 163, which connects Kayenta with US Highway 191, located in Utah. The stretch of highway that approaches Monument Valley is an iconic image of the Southwest, with stunning views of the red cliffs rising from the long straight road and the desert plains.

Hot Air Balloon Tours

Hot Air Balloon Tours
Hot Air Balloon Tours

Taking in the Monument Valley landscape from ground level is rewarding enough, but for a completely new perspective on the area, a hot air balloon tour is a wonderful option for travelers looking for unique things to do in this part of the Southwest. These tours allow guests to enjoy views of famous rock formations from high in the air, and there is nothing quite like soaring among the various mesas and monoliths. Hot air balloon tours are generally arranged on the Arizona side of the valley, and they are often included with a stay at an area hotel and complimentary transportation between the hotel and the launching/landing sites; they make a great complement to the more standard ground tours of Monument Valley.

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