Monument Valley is in the northeast corner of Arizona, within the Navajo Nation Indian Reservation, straddling the Arizona and Utah state...
Where: Monument Valley is in the northeast corner of Arizona, within the Navajo Nation Indian Reservation, straddling the Arizona and Utah state lines.
When to go: Spring and fall are when the weather is best and the crowds are manageable. Summer is the hottest; temperatures reach well into the 90s. It’s also the most crowded and most expensive time of year to visit. Winter can be a wonderful time to go, with lots of solitude and low prices. But Monument Valley is at 5,200 feet, so snow can limit access.
Getting around: Check ahead to find if the 17-mile Valley Drive is available for private vehicles. If the road is open, it will cost $5 per person to drive it (children 9 and younger are free). Goulding’s Lodge, listed below, offers van tours. Several Navajo-operated businesses at the entry to Monument Valley also offer tours.
Where to stay: Goulding’s Lodge is the only lodging close to the entrance to the Monument Valley tribal park (it’s a five-minute drive). The 62 rooms have views of the valley. Rates range from $68 to $160 per night, depending on the season, with the highest rates from June 1 to Oct. 15. Call 435-727-3231 or see www.gouldings.com. Goulding’s also operates a campground.
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Mitten View Campground, next to the Monument Valley entrance, has first-come, first-served campsites. Small recreational vehicles are allowed. There are flush toilets and a shaded picnic area. Price is $10 for up to six people, $20 for larger groups.
There are motels in the small communities of Kayenta and Mexican Hat, each about 45 minutes by car from the Monument Valley entrance. The San Juan Inn has 36 simple motel rooms with nice views of the rock-lined San Juan riverbank. Rates April 1-Nov. 1 start at $68. The rest of the year, rates start at $38. 435-683-2220.
Where to eat: The Stagecoach Dining Room at Goulding’s Lodge is the main spot to eat. Stick with the good Navajo-inspired items like fry-bread tacos. The steaks were tough and gray perhaps too much time in the freezer.
Be forewarned that the Navajo reservation bars alcohol from restaurants, so near beer and faux wine are as close as you’ll get. If you want to wet your whistle, the nearest spot is Mexican Hat, just across the San Juan River, a reservation boundary line.
More information: Utah Travel Council, 800-200-1160, www.utah.com
Arizona Office of Tourism, 866-298-3795, www.arizonaguide.com