Scenic Monument Valley, Northern Arizona

By: Edward Dye

The scenic Monument Valley located in northern Arizona is well-known for its striking sandstone monuments, towering spires and beautiful views. Tourists from different parts of the world visit the Monument Valley as its location on Navajo Indian Reservation makes it easily accessible.

The classic splendor of Monument Valley, Arizona
Image added by Editor Photo: The classic splendor of Monument Valley, Arizona by Alaskan Dude, on Flickr

Editors note: This place is too beautiful. It requires two images and even that does not begin to do it justice.

monument valley - Arizona
Image added by Editor Photo: monument valley - Arizona by frago, on Flickr

Navajo India Parks charges an entry fee of five dollars per head, but entry is free for children under nine years of age. The scenic Monument Valley is also a part of this park, and as you enter this park, the road continues as a dirt-track, with the loop beginning near the parking lot. The loop leads through the valley up to a distance of seventeen miles. There are many junctions where you can stop to get a glimpse of fabulous and photogenic views. Passing through the loop, the first monuments you come across are ‘The Mittens' which are probably the most popular in the Monument Valley. The other monuments located here include the Totem Pole, Three Sisters, Merricks Butte, Elephant's Butte and the Thumb. During the season of spring the valley is adorned with blooming wildflowers, offering good photograph opportunities, though the path may be muddy. However, the road is slightly uneven all through the year. It may be possible to drive a passenger vehicle through the loop, but a high clearance vehicle is better.

The visitor's centre at the entrance of the park gives geological information regarding the park and a history of man's access to this region. It also has a store, restaurant and souvenir shop. The View Hotel was recently set up here. In case you don't prefer to drive your vehicle through the loop, you can take tour vehicles from the parking area that charge up to hundred dollars per head, in accordance to the distance and access to certain locations, available to only those on the tour. Hence, these tours are advantageous, as some roads away from the main loop are open to guided tours alone. It is also a reason for the bad maintenance of the roads, as visitors will choose tours instead of risking their vehicles.

Bicycles are not permitted in the Mountain Valley. Horseback tour and hiking trips are allowed, and the visitor's centre can be contacted for relevant information. Hiking requires a permit for full-day and overnight hikes. The Wildcat Trail is a popular hike that begins near the hotel, and it involves a descent of 900 feet into the valley, with views and locations that cannot be accessed from the road. However, the 900 feet ascent on the return trip is also involved, and should be considered before starting.

The scenic Monument Valley, with its sandstone monuments, towering spires, photogenic views and vistas, is absolutely impressive for any visitor. A trip to America's Desert Southwest must include this beautiful valley.

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