You shouldn't go to Monument Valley without taking a quick trek down Wildcat Trail! It''s not the most well marked trail in places (especially the start), but it's arguably the best way to escape the crowds on the driving loop and see the rock formations in relative peace.
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This was a really great hike. I would consider this to be a must do activity in Monument Valley. With this hike, you'll see some great views of the great scenery in monument valley, you'll also be able to walk around the west mitten butte. Make sure to wear good shoes or boots as the trail is extremely sandy at some points. I would also recommend doing the hike on a cooler day or early in the morning, because the heat and unrelenting sun could make this hike quite unpleasant.
The Wildcat Trail is a loop which goes around the West Mitten Butte in Monument Valley. The trail is wonderfully maintained and very clearly marked all along its path. The views along the hike are all excessively gorgeous and it's impossible to miss these beautiful rock formations.
Going downhill in the soft sand at the beginning of the trail is easy-going, and the rest of the trail follows this initial trend by being very level and flat. Yet, when returning from the loop, going uphill in the soft sand can get pretty strenuous. Be prepared for that uphill battle and you'll be golden!
Overall, this hike is an absolutely amazing part of Monument Valley and should not be missed!
Great drive and even better if you enter the Tribal Nation, pay your tour fee and get up close and personal with the huge monoliths in Monument Valley. We drove from Mexican Hat and were thrilled to see the same view shown in Forrest Gump... this area is the home to many a western and a bucket list experience. After our visit to the Tribal Park and lots of photo ops, we drove into Kayenta at the intersection of hwy 160 as it started to rain and ate at McDonald’s. We corralled a souvenir tumbleweed (authentic) as the winds were really blowing them around and then drove on to Tuba City. This drive is not to miss.
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.
Gay C. on Wildcat Trail
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.