An Arizona Classic – Monument Valley

After the Grand Canyon, the second most beautiful spot in Arizona has to be Monument Valley. Located north-east of Kayenta on Hwy 163 just 13 miles north of the Arizona/Utah state line.  The area has a large number of huge sandstone buttes of various sizes and shapes jutting out of the desert floor that are mult-hued and impressive to see.  The area, part of the Colorado Plateau, lies on the Navajo Nation Reservation. The area was created by the rivers that carved out the valley centuries ago and is slowing eroding away with each passing year.

As you are traveling north, you will first come to Owl Rock on the left and the 1,500 ft rock known as El Capitan on the right. There is a 17 mile circular drive that you can take down past some of the more interesting formations such as the east and west Mitten Buttes, The Totem Pole, The Thumb Butte and the Three Sisters. Do not drive off of the marked path as the Navajo’s consider much of the area sacred ground and unaccompanied visitors are not permitted off of the designated loop drive.

The Navajo Nation operates tours through the area and they will take you via tour bus from the visitor center to see not only the buttes but Hogans, Native American villages, cliff dwellings and petroglyphs in the area that are not open to the self-driving tour visitors. A new hotel is currently being built near the entrance to the 17 mile drive and is probably either open now or will open shortly. This hotel will have an awesome view of Monument Valley.