Monument Valley is one of the most incredible things I've ever laid my eyes on. Sedona is my favorite place in the world, but this just came in at a close second. The red rocks were stunning, but getting to see a rare snow dusting was more than I could have ever asked for on this trip. If you get the chance to visit, you need to jump on that opportunity. This is a beautiful adventure I would recommend to anyone!
When To Go
We visited on the last weekend in February and it was quiet. We caught the valley on one of the few times it snows each year and it was just... magical. Photos were easier to take, prices were cheaper, and the snow made it extremely special. Below is a run-down of the general weather patterns if you're planning a trip in the future!
Spring (Apr- May): Prices start to raise, but the temperature is usually in the 60s. Crowds are a hit or miss because it can get very windy and dusty!
Summer (June-Aug): It gets HOT and crowded. Prices are about the same as Spring for lodging. Temperatures average in the 90s and there’s the occasional thunderstorm.
Fall (Sept-Oct): Temperature-wise, this is the best time to go. It’s about 70 degrees most of the time and it’s a very comfortable visit. Prices are still pretty high, but it’s to be expected with perfect weather!
Winter (Nov-Mar): There is an occasional light snowfall, which we were lucky enough to see during our stay. Winter is the most affordable for lodging and the best time to avoid the crowds.
Where To Stay
Camping is always an option, but it’s not my jam. The best place to stay in Monument Valley is The View Hotel. Not only is it the only lodging within the actual park, it provides food, running water, a comfy bed, and a clean environment for a perfectly relaxing weekend. Do note that you should be prepared to pay the $20 fee to get into the park (they accept cards). Park entry is not included with your reservation.
PSA: When I first got back from my trip, I thought I had bug bites all over me. Turns out, it was just contact dermatitis, or a rash from coming into contact with something my skin didn’t like such as linens, lotions, chemicals, etc. When you stay anywhere, it’s always a good idea to check for bed bugs on the mattresses/headboards/behind painting and to keep your luggage in the garage for a few days until you wash all of your clothes just in case. Just try to avoid going down the WebMD rabbit hole like I did until you see a doctor, because I freaked myself out for no reason!
To say the view is amazing is an understatement. Each room’s balcony overlooks the Three Sisters and watching the sunrise from the comfort of our room was incredible to say the least.
As for food, they have drinks for purchase, a complimentary continental breakfast, and lunch and dinner for purchase at the restaurant overlooking the valley. The menu includes everything from quesadillas, to salads, to burgers, to dino nuggets for the kids (or nostalgic adults like myself).
Where To Take Photos
You can sign up for guided horseback or truck tours online or right outside of the View hotel. If you don't want to pay for a guided tour, I highly recommend everything we did! Below are a few of the places we visited on our weekend trip without a guide. We would've loved to do a horseback tour, but it was just too cold at the time (so plan accordingly if that's on your list).
The View Hotel
The hotel definitely has it's name for a reason.
The View Restaurant
The restaurant inside of the View hotel is open to anyone! Even if you're not staying at the hotel, you can eat here and get the #gram.
Tribal Park Loop/The 3 Sisters
This is the only road inside of Monument Valley you can drive on your own as opposed to taking a tour. Though the sign warns that it’s not suitable for cars, we drove it in a Honda Accord pretty easily.
Peak Season (May 1-Sept 30) 6:00am – 8:30pm
Off Season (Oct 1 – Apr 30) 8:00am – 4:30pm
Forrest Gump Point
GPS coordinates: 37.101393, -109.990973
Forrest Gump Point, also called Mexican Hat, is about 20 miles from the visitors center. Just drive back to the end of Monument Valley Road, take a right, and follow the road for about 15-20 minutes. You’ll know you’ve reached it when you see people standing in the middle of the road.
The best time for photography in this location is in the morning, midday, and early afternoon. In the late afternoon and early evening, you will be facing the sun and you’ll get shadows from the photographer. These photos were taken around 10am on an overcast day.
The spot is very popular, so you’ll probably have to wait in line to get your shot. Be courteous of others and note that people in the background can be blocked by perspective if you’re standing in the middle of the road, but not if you’re on the side of the road.
If you're visiting any time soon, definitely get a room at the View and thank Mother Nature for blessing us with a land this breathtaking. The American Southwest will forever have my heart, and I hope it will have yours soon enough.