Monument Valley - Navajo Tribal Park is a 12 mile loop trail located near Kayenta, AZ that offers the chance to see wildlife. The trail is primarily used for horses, mountain biking, and off road driving. Horses are also able to use this trail.
off road driving
In June, 2004, we drove by Mexican Hat, an interesting rock formation that looks just like the name implies, past the entrance road (hwy 316) to Goosenecks State Park (known for its extended viewpoint 1,000 feet above the San Juan River’s series of huge river bends splitting a deep canyon), and then came upon that familiar stretch of road shown in Forrest Gump leading into Monument Valley. We were looking toward the west with the sun starting to fall, and were confused by the time - in Arizona for the Navajo Nation, the time is the same as Mountain time; Arizona does not recognize daylight saving time, but luckily got to the visitor booth in time ($5@) to take the drive. There were dark clouds approaching and we worried about the weather, but the lightning was fantastic with the sun piercing through to some areas just beyond the Mittens, Elephant Butte and John Ford’s Point (the most photographed and most popular viewpoint, one of Hollywood director John Ford's favorite filming locations, where he shot scenes from Stagecoach, The Searchers, and Cheyenne Autumn. It's still popular with producers - watch for crews working on feature films, TV shows – we didn’t see any). We first got some pictures on a couple of huge sandstone boulders that were probably placed just for that very reason – to take some great shots. As an aside, permission is required to photograph any Navajo residents and their property, and it is customary to offer to pay them. There were people actually living in among the rocks, a couple of small farms and gift shacks at each popular viewpoint; we passed by a sheep dog herding some goats and sheep, and also a group on horseback. We drove the loop among the huge monoliths (much bigger than Valley of the Gods), passing John Ford’s Point, the Three Sisters (looks like a “W”), Camel Butte, Totem Pole, Artist’s Point, the Thumb, Yei-Bi-Chei (resembles a Navajo holy man), and many other famous rocks. On our way out, as the storm clouds starting arriving with gusty winds and blowing rain, we spied some more domesticated animals, goats and a horse, roaming the valley. This is one of those bucket list areas for those seeking what America has to offer.
A 12 mile loop trail through Monument Valley, with a variety of ways to see the different buttes. You can take a guided tour, drive your vehicle, ride a mountain bike, or go by horseback. Fun place to see.
Felt like John Wayne when I went horseback riding in Monument Valley. What can I say? It is stunning. Loved every minute of it. And the views kept changing as the light changed and the trail changed. I will go back and do this again. I cannot recommend it enough. A must-see for anyone who loves the Southwest.
If you have the chance, take a trip here and book a horse tour. You will see parts of Monument Valley you just can't see any other way. Riding through the valley right after sunrise is an experience I will cherish the rest of my life. One cautionary note, though: Two people in my party got food poisoning at the restaurant (there's only one restaurant in the area), so you should consider packing your own food in a cooler.
Dusty but very beautiful! :)
One of America's gems. Many, many movies have been made here. You almost expect John Wayne to come riding by. The Navaho have tour trucks if you don't want to take your car over the dirt roads.