Discover the 10 Best Things to Do in Monument Valley: The Ultimate  Guide for 2024


Monument Valley, a breathtaking landscape of sandstone buttes and a huge red-sand desert provides a remarkable excursion into the heart of the American Southwest. This guide to the ‘Best Things To Do In Monument Valley’ will take you through the famous vistas, historic film sites, and hidden secrets of this unique region. Experience Monument Valley’s rich culture and magnificent scenery through scenic drives and guided hikes. Let us go on an expedition that promises to be as big and diverse as the valley itself.

In this part, we’ll show you how to fully enjoy Monument Valley’s attractions. Prepare for natural wonders, hikes, and tourist possibilities. These are the very greatest things to do in this breathtaking region.

1. Experience Monument Valley Tribal Park on Horseback

Horseback riding is without a doubt one of the greatest ways to explore Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. You can drive the circle road, but horses travel where cars cannot or are not authorized. You may plan a 2-hour horseback trip of Monument Valley, which takes you up close to the buttes. We did this and enjoyed it. We do recommend that you have some equestrian riding experience, however.

Read more: Discovering Monument Valley in 2024: Your Essential Guide 

2. Take a Jeep Tour

Jeeps are an excellent method to explore the valley. Book a jeep journey across the desert floor, passing by notable views such as the West Mitten Butte. Most excursions go from 1.5 to 3 hours. You’ll also receive a hassle-free driving experience with guided sightseeing. This is an excellent choice if you’re traveling with your family.

3. Navajo Shadehouse Museum

The Navajo Shadehouse Museum is a must-see cultural destination in Monument Valley. It discusses the Navajo tribe’s culture, customs, beliefs, and history, including how Navajo medicine men pray and the appearance of hogan residences. Despite its tiny size, the museum gives invaluable insight into the Navajo Nation. And because the valley is located on Navajo Tribal Park territory, it is a must-see addition to your agenda.

4. Visit West, East, and Merrick Butte

If you want to see beautiful rock formations up close, West, East, and Merrick Buttes are the greatest options. This distinctive trio of buttes rises from the valley level in stunning red sandstone. The East and West Buttes rise nearly 6,000 feet above sea level and are a breathtaking site to behold up close. It is forbidden to climb the formations, however you may wander about their bases.

Also read: Where to Stay in Monument Valley: Your Ultimate Accommodation Guide for 2024

5. Wildcat Trail

Wildcat Trail is a roughly 4-mile circle trek that takes in the finest of Monument Valley’s scenery on foot. It takes around 2 to 3 hours and is classified as somewhat tough owing to portions of heavy sand. With a basic fitness level, you can easily travel the course on your own. Your efforts will be rewarded with close-up views of the famous Mitten Buttes and Merrick Butte. Set out early to avoid the scorching heat of spring and summer. Make sure to bring a camera, since Wildcat Trail is one of Monument Valley’s top attractions.

6. Climb Mexican Hat

While climbing is not permitted in the valley, you may climb Mexican Hat only minutes across the border. This bizarre-looking sandstone rock resembles a tower with a sombrero on top, hence the name. Mexican Hat is popular among expert climbers. If you have enough skill to comfortably tackle medium-difficult climbs, you may try the Bandito Route, which is bolted and clip-up.

If you are not a climber, you may still come and observe the rock up close. You may also watch as others attempt the distinctive rock face.

7. Drive Monument Valley Drive with Photo Stops

We can’t forget the breathtaking Monument Valley Drive. You’ll see some of Monument Valley’s renowned vistas and rock formations along the 17-mile roadway. This gorgeous route travels by Forrest Gump Point, also known as the legendary Forrest Gump Highway. The enormous sandstone buttes have also appeared in Western films, including the Wayne flicks. It’s undoubtedly one of the most well-known picturesque roads in the United States. Allow 3-4 hours to finish the drive, depending on how much time you desire at each stop.

8. Elephant Butte

This stunning butte is notably fashioned like an elephant and is a fantastic choice if you want to view the rock formations beyond the typical three. Again, climbing is prohibited, but you may go to the base and appreciate the natural landmark. Visit soon before sunset for the greatest views.

9. John Ford’s Point

This is the money shot that is often overlooked. John Ford’s Point is named after the American film director and producer. Ford directed several films, including some starring John Wayne. This angle of view was used by John Ford in a number of vintage Western films. You’ll know the expansive vistas of the buttes and desert terrain.

10. North Window Overlook

Finally, there is the North Window Overlook to see in the valley. This is ideal for those seeking a valley vista experience. North Window Overlook provides an additional perspective of Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park from John Ford’s Point. It is located just a few minutes from the Monument Valley Visitor Center and is ideal for viewing at dawn or sunset.

When to Visit Monument Valley?

Everybody knows that the valley is harder to get to in the summer. It can get as hot as 94 degrees Fahrenheit in the desert in July and August, making it impossible to go on walks or long drives. On top of that, summer means a lot of people. This is the busy time of the year to go to the valley. If you want to come in the summer, we suggest moving your plans to the beginning or end of the season. It’s mostly busy and hot, and there aren’t many parking spots or private views.

When should you go to the valley if not in the summer? You should go in the fall or spring if possible. Sometimes it gets too cold in the winter—it drops to 25 degrees Fahrenheit—so fall and spring are great times to live. The best times to visit the valley are from September to early November and from March to May. The weather will be nice, in the high 70s Fahrenheit, and there will be fewer people there.

Also, remember what time of day you go into the valley. It’s easier to avoid groups if you go in the middle seasons, like fall or spring. You can be smart about what time of day you visit, too. If you want to spend the whole day in the park, you should go to the most famous spots first thing in the morning. Also, late afternoon is a good time to avoid the crowds if you only want to see a few places.

As you might expect, staying in the valley itself will help you beat the crowds. Especially at places like The View Hotel and Campground, you can see the morning and sunset from the ease of your own home away from home.

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