Visiting Monument Valley is a must-do for any trip to the American Southwest. We were looking forward to the Monument Valley scenic drive. The stunning red rock formations rise from the desert floor, creating a breathtaking landscape that’s unlike anything else. One of the best ways to experience the beauty of Monument Valley is by driving the 17-mile Loop Road. This scenic route takes you through the heart of the valley, passing by famous rock formations like The Mittens, Elephant Butte, and Totem Pole. The drive is a bit bumpy, but the views are well worth it.
Along the way, there are plenty of opportunities to stop and take photos, The park offers a unique view of the San Juan River and its impressive meandering path, with the canyon walls rising high above the river as well as visit the Navajo-owned shops and trading posts that line the route. When we were there on a previous trip there was no time limit for the 17-mile loop road but this time there was a timed entry and you had only had 2 hours to complete the drive but looking at their website it looks like things have changed. For current information check here.
On our way home from Colorado we wanted to make a couple more stops so we decided to drive to Monument Valley. On the way there we stopped at Four Corners. It was a fun stop but not much to do there so we got back on the road to Monument Valley.
The campground was closed because of covid so we stayed at the KOA. It was conveniently located, only a 5-mile drive, but I think this was the tightest KOA we have ever stayed at with trailers being crammed in. We stayed here for 4 days.
When we were there in the middle of Oct. 2021 you could self-drive the 17-mile loop road through the valley but you had to make a reservation because they only allowed so many cars in at a time and you only had 2 hours to complete the drive which didn’t leave much time for viewpoints or photography. We opted to do this on our last full day in the area. After getting settled we went to the Valley Overlook for sunset photos,
The next day we went to the Valley Overlook by the View Hotel for sunrise.
Valley Overlook & Around our Campsite
After sunrise, we did a day trip and drove the Valley of the Gods Road which is a bumpy 17-mile drive on a dirt road. Although this wasn’t the Monument Valley Scenic Drive there are many interesting sandstone buttes and pinnacles. There were a few pull-outs on the road if you wanted to pull your trailer in there to camp.
Lorna wasn’t feeling good at the end of the drive so I took her back to the camp and went back to drive the Moki Dugway out to Muley Point. Moki Dugway is a graded dirt road with many switchbacks and is a challenging drive. Once up on the top of the mesa, the drive out to Muley Point is pretty straightforward and so worth it. The views were spectacular. You could see The Valley of the Gods, Goosenecks State Park, and Monument Valley in the distance.
Valley of the Gods
That evening we did some more sunset photos around the entrance to the park and the Valley Overlook.
The Valley Overlook
The next morning we again did sunrise at the Valley View Overlook.
We then spent the rest of the day at Goosenecks State Park. The park offers a unique view of the San Juan River and its impressive meandering path, with the canyon walls rising high above the river. There were camping spots along the rim of the canyon at Goosenecks and I’d like to make it back there someday to spend some more time.
Goosenecks State Park
On our last full day in the area, we again saw the sunrise at the Valley Overlook and then explored the Goulding’s area including John Waynes Cabin and the Museum Stagecoach.
After lunch, we got in line for the Monument Valley Scenic Drive. We managed to make it out in the 2-hour limit with just brief stops at John Ford Point, Totem Pole and Yei Bi Chei viewpoint, Artist’s Point, and the North Window. It was a busy 4 days. See our 1st trip to Monument Valley“Monument Valley’s Scenic Splendor”
Monument Valley Scenic Drive
The next stop was ,“4 Days Exploring The Grand Canyon National Park, South Rim”