Feel like a star in your very own Western when you make a visit to Utah's Monument Valley.
Majestic sandstone buttes rise dramatically from the desert in Monument Valley, which has some of the most spectacular views in the United States. This captivating landscape is straight out of a movie—literally. It’s a popular Wild West filming location you might recognize from blockbusters like “Forrest Gump” and “Back to the Future.”
This tribal park is located on Navajo Nation land, right on the Arizona-Utah border. This is sacred ground, rich in history; a tour with a local Navajo guide is well worthwhile. Plus, these tours are the only way to see far-flung sites like the Ear of the Wind arch. If you prefer to explore on your own, the fascinating visitor center provides fascinating historical context.
Be prepared: Monument Valley is remote. The closest towns are Kayenta, Arizona, and Mexican Hat, Utah, both about 40 minutes away. The isolation is a big part of the appeal—the views are unspoiled by buildings. Plus, the lack of light pollution creates an impossibly bright display of stars at night.
The View campground is the only developed option in the park. The RV park offers dry sites without hookups; there are also wilderness tent sites available. Both options offer incredible views of Monument Valley, especially at sunset.
You’ll also find a few private and tribal tent sites and RV parks in nearby Goulding. Feeling adventurous? The most exciting way to see Monument Valley is from one of the backcountry campsites. Just be sure to get a permit from the visitor center.
Inside the bounds of Monument Valley, check out the monoliths using 14 miles of dirt road. The roads are graded, but a 4WD vehicle is nice to have. Horseback trips and hiking trails are also available.
The best time to visit Monument Valley is during spring and fall when temperatures are warm but the park road is light on traffic. Summer brings intense heat; water and sunscreen are a must, especially if you’re hiking. Winters are cold and windy, but you can have the landscape mostly to yourself. No matter when you come, it’s a good idea to bring a warm jacket for the cool desert evenings.