As part of my recent trip to North America, I took part in the Topdeck ‘Coast to Vegas’ tour. Included in this tour – and a predominate reason I chose this tour over others – was a visit to Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park with a traditional Navajo guide. Weather you’re a fan of old-western films, more recent sci-fi films (e.g. Transformers) or even just Doctor Who, you’re surely familiar with this site and its raw natural beauty.
This great valley boasts sandstone masterpieces (can you see the west and east mittens above?) that tower at heights of 120 to 300 metres surrounded by the brightest orange sand that I can imagine exists anywhere in the universe. Amazingly, this valley was once a mere lowland basin. The valley as we know it today is the result of hundreds of millions of years of sedimentation, followed by the craftsmanship of the natural forces of wind and water that spent the last 50 million years shaping the formations of the valley. I think we owe Mother Nature a huge “Thankyou!” and a celebratory champagne for her efforts with this one!
Things to do:
There are three primary ways you can choose to venture around the valley:
- Take a jeep tour with a traditional Navajo guide: This was the choice that was made for me as part of my tour but it was definitely an excellent one. Split into 6 person vehicles, each with their own Navajo guide, the tour is very personable. The guides not only point out all the images you can see in the formations but are happy and able to answer any question related to the valley that you can think up. As part of our tour we were also treated to a mesmerising flute performance while chilling out in a cave and a sunset dinner.
- Take a horseback tour: I must admit, as great as our jeep tour was, I saw a couple getting a horseback tour around the valley and I was ridiculously envious. Although I didn’t get to do it myself I can only imagine it would be something you’d have to write onto your bucket list after achieving it and wonder why you didn’t have it one there earlier. The same company that offers the jeep tour provides a number of horseback tours ranging from half an hour long to an all-day 6-hour tour.
- Hike the valley: You can do this one with or without a guide, although be wary the valley can get some pretty extreme heats to be hiking through with little shelter. I’d definitely take a guide if I was you, it really makes a difference having their knowledge.
How to get here:
The easiest way to visit Monument Valley is to fly to Page airport, Grand Canyon National Park Airport, Phoenix Airport or Las Vegas Airport, and drive from there. You could also catch a train to Flagstaff and rent a car from there if you are less inclined to flying. Without a car, Monument Valley is quite difficult to visit, but it is possible. There are day tours running from Sedona and Flagstaff and 3-day and 7-day tours running from Las Vegas. Otherwise, if you are between the ages of 18-35 and up to make some new friends I would definitely recommend the Topdeck tour that I went on which starts in Los Angeles.