Like many of you, I've seen picture after picture of Monument Valley. But it wasn't until recently that I finally decided to go and see for myself. Spoiler alert: it was everything I imagined.
The Navajo name for this incredible place is Tsé Biiʼ Ndzisgaii, meaning valley of Rocks. Monument Valley is located on the Arizona-Utah border within Navajo Nation. Remember to be respectful of their laws and gain any necessary permission or permits to explore certain places. There are residents who live in Monument Valley and throughout the Navajo Nation territory, so please respect their privacy as well.
It is easy to see why Monument Valley is such an iconic symbol of the American Southwest. Located in the Great Basin Desert at over 5,000 ft elevation, the landscape is quite distinct. There is not much wildlife, although there are a few stray dogs.
The sandstone buttes shown in the picture above are known as the Mittens, because they look like left and right-hand mittens! These are some of the most well-known formations in the Valley due to their distinct shape. Check out a close up picture below:
These monuments are breathtaking to see in real life! You can find mesas, cliffs and buttes all towering over Monument Valley.
These crazy rocks in the Valley are believed to have formed from volcanic activity and erosion, then carved by water and wind. That's what causes them to form into these distinct shapes.
This incredible place has even been featured in tons of John Ford movies, Mission Impossible, a Transformer movie, Back To The Future 3, and of course, Forrest Gump! It's actually the place where Tom Hanks decides he doesn't wants to run anymore, and I see why! This place is beyond incredible. It is easy to spend days and days here.
As far as infrastructure goes, there is a visitor center with a gift shop, museum, and restaurant, but no gas in the park. There is lodging inside Monument Valley or you can camp. Other than that, there are a few cities north or south with gas and a few shops. If you do end up staying multiple days, get ready for some killer sunsets anywhere you are in this area.
Another bonus for staying the night is the view of the stars. This is a great spot for night photography or some excellent star-gazing.
Even if you're a live-in-the-moment kind of person, you will be in awe realizing just how many stars you can see, including the Milky Way! (Just be aware of places that are off limits at night, and remember to be respectful of those boundaries).
Monument Valley is such a beautiful place, you can really enjoy it any time of year. When I visited, I got hit with a dust storm, which meant 50 mph wind gusts of sand and small rocks stinging us ALL DAY LONG.... resulting in scratched equipment and sand literally everywhereeeee.
Despite the weather, it was still 100% worth it. Dust storms are common so take it or leave it. No one can predict the weather!
Thanks for reading my blog! Check out more crazy pictures from my trip below: