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  1. #1

    Default Monument Valley Tips & Times

    Hey...

    I've been trying to plan out my visit to Monument Valley, and it all seems reasonably straight forward. Driving along 163 is very scenic, but to get the real experience you should really drive into the park and take the 17-mile guided tour (I can't take a rental car on the dirt roads).

    I've been reading around and many guides & websites suggest that their are numerous operators and the sales pitch can be quite aggressive.

    I don't want to waste anytime arguing with operators, and I'm really just after the shortest trip around the park.

    Does anyone have any experiences/suggestions of the best approach, or recommended operators? Also, how long should I budget - some sites say its 3 hours, some 1 1/2 hours, other a full day.

    Also.. the costs are supposedly $5 into the park, and then around $15 for the tour. Does this sound reasonable?

    Thanks again for the fab site.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default It is sovereign nation park -- they get to make the rules

    Quote Originally Posted by chris.wiss
    I've been trying to plan out my visit to Monument Valley, and it all seems reasonably straight forward. Driving along 163 is very scenic, but to get the real experience you should really drive into the park and take the 17-mile guided tour (I can't take a rental car on the dirt roads).
    I think you might be a tad confused(?) The "17-mile" tour goes through a section of the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. Years ago, they let anyone drive that road, (after paying the entrance fee) but road maintenance has never been a serious consideration and the reason you have to take a guided tour, is that the conditions are so harsh that your car, (rental or not) would be destroyed....
    I don't want to waste anytime arguing with operators, and I'm really just after the shortest trip around the park.
    As a non-Navajo you are not allowed to wander, hike or drive through the park without their permission. The concept of "shortest trip" is not part of the experience if you decide that you want to avail yourself of the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. Seriously, you have to shift your focus -- if you go to THEIR park you have to spend the time and the $$.

    All that said, 90%+ of the people who visit Monument Valley each year, never go to the Navajo Tribal Park. On your time-table, driving US-163 is just about the only time you will have. I am not sure it is even possible to visit the Navajo Tribal Park and not spend 3-4 hours on the tour. I still think it is worth the expense and time -- but "hurry" is not going to be a part of the plan for most of the operators.
    Also.. the costs are supposedly $5 into the park, and then around $15 for the tour. Does this sound reasonable?
    Wow! Prices have dropped far! Are you sure about this rates? Hmmm the price does seem to be $5 on their web site. I just can't believe that you could get very far on a $15 tour.

    Mark

  3. #3

    Default Clarification.

    Quote Originally Posted by Editor
    I think you might be a tad confused(?) The "17-mile" tour goes through a section of the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. Years ago, they let anyone drive that road, (after paying the entrance fee) but road maintenance has never been a serious consideration and the reason you have to take a guided tour, is that the conditions are so harsh that your car, (rental or not) would be destroyed....As a non-Navajo you are not allowed to wander, hike or drive through the park without their permission.
    The main guide book I am using (aside from the much better web stuff) is 2006 - and they say you have the option of a self-guide, or a Navajo guide. I also got the prices from the book - but (as you say) they sound a little out of date. :)

    Just to clarify, I had absolutely no intention of trying to drive it myself anyway - I'm not quite that crazy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Editor
    The concept of "shortest trip" is not part of the experience if you decide that you want to avail yourself of the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. Seriously, you have to shift your focus -- if you go to THEIR park you have to spend the time and the $$.
    Most of the tours seem to offer 4 options (1 1/2, 2 1/2, half day, and full day). I just wondered if the shorter trips would cover it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Editor
    All that said, 90%+ of the people who visit Monument Valley each year, never go to the Navajo Tribal Park. On your time-table, driving US-163 is just about the only time you will have. I am not sure it is even possible to visit the Navajo Tribal Park and not spend 3-4 hours on the tour. I still think it is worth the expense and time -- but "hurry" is not going to be a part of the plan for most of the operators.
    Is it possible to drive into the park and not take the Valley Drive tour?

    Looking at my timetable for this day - I'm driving from Kayenta to Hanksville (via Bluff rather than Moki), which looks to be around 5 hours on the road. So, I'm reckoning that gives me around 4 hours on attractions approx. So, I was thinking I had 2 options:

    Use up all my hours on Monument Valley, incl the Valley Drive

    OR

    Split my time across Monument Valley (just the visitor center), Goosenecks, and/or Natural Bridges.

    But, you guys are the experts, so if you think I'm being a bit unrealistic then let me know. I can only go off the driving times I get on-line (and I'm adding time on). :)

    Thanks....

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default You really don't have to do the park!

    Quote Originally Posted by chris.wiss
    Most of the tours seem to offer 4 options (1 1/2, 2 1/2, half day, and full day). I just wondered if the shorter trips would cover it.
    I am not sure you will believe me, but I'll make the suggestion again.... The entire Monument Valley is scenic. You don't have to drive into the Navajo Tribal Park to see what there is to see. That is a little like supposing that in order to "cover" Manhanttan you only have to go to ground zero. Manhattan is bigger and more diverse than where the Twin Towers once stood, and Monument Valley is bigger and more diverse than what you see in the Tribal Park. Now, if you have a 1/2 day or so, it is really cool to wind down those canyons and see what most visitors to the area never see, but it is not essential. You will see why people visit this amazing place from US-163.

    As far as your options go -- you need to make that judgement when you get there. I don't see how we can advise you any further on this.

    Mark

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tustin, California, United States
    Posts
    272

    Default Good to know...

    Glad to hear of the options. My folks and I are taking a Fall roadtrip, and Day 3 is committed to leaving the Grand Canyon at 6am MST, getting to Monument Valley by 11am MDT, doing what we can, and still making it to Four Corners 100 miles away before they close it at 5pm MDT.

    We know we lose an hour because the Navajo region observes daylight saving time while the rest of Arizona does not.

    In this scenario, it sounds like either the 1 1/2 or 2 1/2 hour guided tour would be our best option, as we can't stay any at Monument Valley any later than 2:30pm MDT.

    What is the difference between the 1 1/2 and 2 1/2 hour tours? Anyone know?

  6. #6

    Default A bit more information

    Quote Originally Posted by Kinless
    In this scenario, it sounds like either the 1 1/2 or 2 1/2 hour guided tour would be our best option, as we can't stay any at Monument Valley any later than 2:30pm MDT.

    What is the difference between the 1 1/2 and 2 1/2 hour tours? Anyone know?
    I got those time from just putting 'Monument Valley Tours' into google, and getting a whole bunch of links. Not all of the tours run the same options - in fact most seemed to just have the choice of a half or full day.

    I don't have any of the links to hand, but it didn't take much browsing.

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