North America, United States
Monument Valley is a place likely to seem familiar, even if it is your first visit here – it is one of the most iconic images of the American West and has appeared in countless photographs, movies, adverts and holiday brochures. Sometimes when you have seen photographs of a place you are disappointed in real life – this won’t be the case with Monument Valley. Here the colours are just as, if not more so, bright and impressive as those seen on photographs.
Monument Valley isn’t your typical valley – it’s more of a flat and sandy landscape which is dominated by red hills and surreal sandstone towers – some of which are as tall as 1,000 feet! The entire area is coloured in shades of red which change depending upon where the sun is in the sky. Within the valley is a small settlement called Goulding which was established in 1923 and which has a few services for visitors including restaurants, a lodge and campsites. There is also a visitor centre, located at Lookout Point from where you can enjoy panoramic views of the valley’s most photographed peaks - East and West Mitten Buttes, and Merrick Butte, and can also find information about suggested self-guided hikes and guided jeep tours.
If the views from Lookout Point are not enough for you then we strongly recommend the Valley Drive. This is a 17 mile dirt road which begins at Lookout Point and heads southeast allowing you to see even more of Monument’s Valleys most famous natural monuments. It passes 11 different numbered spots, thought to be the most scenic places in the valley and will typically take around 2 hours. Unfortunately, tourists are not allowed to hike away from Valley Drive to the formations but it is a spectacular experience nonetheless.
Tourists can, however, hike at other parts of the park – the only official hiking path is the 3.2 mile Wildcat Trail which starts at the visitor centre but staff here will be able to recommend other areas suitable for independent hiking.
|Type of Activity:||Nature|