Monument Valley: 10+ Inspiring Photos Plus Tips for Visiting

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I recently returned from a trip driving all over Utah, even dipping down into Arizona for a bit.

While Monument Valley wasn’t originally in the itinerary, I’m 100% glad we added it! It quickly became one of my favorite experiences of the whole trip!

I could not get over how beautiful it was out there. The red-orange colors against the blue sky were absolutely stunning.

This post includes several pictures from my Monument Valley experience in hopes that you will be inspired to visit this amazing place!

Then at the end of the post, I’ll give you some tips for visiting Monument Valley!

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"10+ Inspiring photos & tips for visiting Monument Valley"

Inspiring Photos & Tips for Visiting Monument Valley!

Monument Valley is right on the Utah-Arizona border & lies within the Navajo Indian Reservation. On-site, they offer a hotel, campsites, tours, a gift shop and more.

If you Google “Monument Valley,” you will find that this valley has been in several movies and is one of the most photographed places in the world!

Driving to Monument Valley

Forrest Gump Point

When driving towards the valley on Highway 163 from Mexican Hat, you can find where Forrest Gump quit his cross-country run, at mile marker 13!

long road leading down into mesas in Monument Valley
Highway 163 heading towards Monument Valley.

From the photo below, you can see that it’s quite a popular place. Cars were parked all along the side of the road, making it hard to get a good, car-less picture.

wood sign on metal stakes on the side of the road that reads "Forrest Gump"
Mile marker 13, where Forrest Gump ended his cross-country run.

Driving in on Highway 163, you can start to get a glimpse of what Monument Valley has to offer. But it is so much more once you actually get in there!

Inside Monument Valley

Self-Guided Driving Valley Tour

You can do a self-guided drive through the valley or do a guided tour. We chose the $20/car self-guided tour.

The self-guided tour is a 17-mile dirt road, which is mostly one way. I would definitely suggest an SUV for this dirt road. 4WD isn’t necessary, I just recommend a high-clearance vehicle.

When you pay for the tour, they give you a map that tells you where to drive and where certain points/stops are along the way.

Photos of Monument Valley

And now, on to the pictures!!

They say RAW photos are meant to be edited.

They say don’t shoot in direct sunlight/midday.

But when it comes to Monument Valley, I respectfully disagree.

Yes, there were some things I couldn’t photograph because the sun was casting very harsh shadows. But overall, I think I came away with many wonderful pictures that represent Monument Valley pretty well.

Here are some of my favorites from the self-guided driving tour:

photo of desert and mesas in Monument Valley
photo of red-orange-brown mesas in Monument Valley
rock formation in desert
red-orange butte with desert plants and a blue sky
Perhaps one of my favorite photos from this trip. The sky was the perfect color blue and the red-orange buttes really stood out against the blue sky.
butte that represents a mitten with a "no parking" sign in front of it
buttes and mesas in Monument Valley desert
three buttes in the desert
two buttes in the desert with dead desert plants in front
road road leading through buttes and mesas in the desert
Decided to throw in a pic of the dirt road. It was very dusty!!
Dead tree located at "The Thumb" roundabout in Monument Valley.
Found this tree in the roundabout at “The Thumb” during the drive around the valley. The sun was setting, lighting the buttes up a gorgeous, fire-orange color.

Alright, now that you’re inspired to see this wonderful place, let’s go over some tips for visiting!

Tips for Your Visit to Monument Valley

What to Wear

  • Research the weather ahead of time & wear the appropriate clothes for the temperature. This won’t matter as much if you are doing the self-guided driving tour & don’t plan on getting out to take pictures. If you do plan to be outside your car, keep in mind there will be a lot of dirt and sand flying around from the dirt road.
  • For the guided tours…The ones I saw were partially enclosed. I saw lots of passengers seem miserable at the amount of dirt swirling around in the air from the dirt road. So I’d recommend sunglasses, clothes you don’t mind getting dirty/sandy, and maybe something to cover your nose/mouth with so you don’t breathe all that in!
  • If you plan on hiking the one trail they have or riding horses, I definitely recommend tennis shoes or hiking boots. Just something closed-toe that can get dirty.

Self-Guided Driving Tour

  • This tour is $20/car and is my recommendation. You can go at your own speed & take time to photograph Monument Valley as you wish!
  • I recommend keeping a distance from the car in front of you. The dirt road is super dusty while driving on it & you don’t want to be trying to see everything through a dust cloud!

Guided Tours

Staying Inside Monument Valley

Staying Outside Monument Valley

  • Most people choose to stay outside Monument Valley because it can be cheaper than staying inside at The View. We stayed in Kayenta at the Kayenta Monument Valley Inn. There are a couple of places to stay in Mexican Hat, but its a TINY city with not much around. Blanding is northeast of Monument Valley and would be a good place to stay as well.

Hope you enjoyed this post! Don’t forget to Pin it if you liked it!

melissa of dogwoods & driftwood travel blog

Want to read about more adventures near Monument Valley? Check out these posts below!

Visiting Lower Antelope Canyon in Page, Arizona

All About Visiting Horseshoe Bend in Page, Arizona!

Arches National Park in ONE Day

10 Photos That Will Inspire You to Visit Bryce Canyon

How to Spend One Awesome Day in Canyonlands National Park

How to Spend a Day Trip to Page, Arizona

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Tips for the Self-Guided Driving Tour of Monument Valley and Beautiful Pictures to Inspire Your Visit!

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One Comment

  1. Monument Valley is my husband’s favorite place to visit. The first couple times we went we drove the loop. (It was only $7 the first time.) Twice now we have stayed overnight, once at Gouldings and another time at the hotel at the top of the plateau. Spend the night if you can. There are so many stars at night, and the changing light reflected on the buttes is spectacular, especially at sunset and first thing in the morning. The last 2 times we were there we took guided tours. In each case our guides had some really fantastic stories. Can’t vouch for the truthfulness, but it was still fun!

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