Located on the Navajo Reservation, Monument Valley holds a special place in the Navajo culture. The local land is integral to Navajo beliefs. These landmarks have spiritual meanings to the Navajo and their appearance easily instills admiration and respect. Monument Valley’s inspiration has even touched Hollywood in several movies thru the years.
From the Navajo-run visitors center, the valley sprawls forth. The visitors center also features exhibits about how the Navajo self-govern (since they are considered a sovereign nation), an exhibit about the Navajo Code Talkers during WWII, along with other interesting information about their culture.
The below shot shows the road that visitors may travel for a closer view. Part of the road is freely open to the public, but for a complete trip you must hire a guide for the backcountry. The road’s smooth appearance from a distance lures you in to the bumpiest, sandiest drive of your life. In the parking lot of the visitors center, there are options for Navajo-led tours which provide an open air truck to drive through the valley – TAKE THE TOUR! We didn’t think much of it. We had been driving on plenty of dirt roads through the desert. How bad could it be? About 100 yards in after a treacherous decent, loose sand and huge ditches in the road, we had wished we left our Dodge Ram in the parking lot along with its non-wishbone suspension ways (I don’t really know much about suspension, but without the wishbone, you are in for a BUMPY ride). There were a few drivers who completed the public section, but most people turned around within the first 15 yards and hopped on a tour truck. We made it about half way before our insides were jumbled enough to warrant turning around. Learn from us and just take the tour, but wear sunglasses and a scarf to wrap around your face, because you will be in a sand bath. Here are some of the closer views made possible from the dirt road… Another great way to explore Monument Valley is to hike the interpretive trail that begins near the entrance to the dirt road.