After spending two days in Moab, we headed south towards Arizona for our next stop: Monument Valley. It was about a 3 hour drive, which wasn’t too bad considering the other legs of the trip were between 4-5 hours. As we approached the Utah/Arizona border, we stopped at a small gravel pullout to take some pictures of this awesome vantage point of the long, straight road that leads to the valley.
Coincidentally, we found a sign that reminded us of a particular movie that had been filmed here. Look familiar?
After driving down the road, we crossed the border into Arizona and made our way to the visitor’s center. The park is operated by the Navajo Nation, which is the largest Native American reservation in the United States. Free range horses & cattle roam here, and the roadsides are dotted with small wooden shacks where the locals sell Navajo jewelry, rugs, and other crafts. Our pass wasn’t valid since it wasn’t a national park, but we didn’t mind spending $17 to take the drive through the valley. It was well worth it. The sandy road follows a 17-mile loop and gets pretty pretty bumpy in places, but it’s doable with a car. Sharmaine was super happy to finally have the chance to drive her Jeep on something that wasn’t pavement.
We remained at the visitor’s center after the drive to watch the sunset. In my opinion, it’s the best vantage point of the famous pair of “mittens” that rise high above the valley floor. It’s a classic Southwest scene, reminding me of the many western (and non-western) films that were filmed here.
Since our next stop, Zion National Park, was a good 5 1/2 hour drive from Monument Valley, we decided to continue driving toward the Lake Powell area to get a head start in the morning. We arrived in Page, Arizona three hours later and ended up camping in the Horseshoe Bend parking lot outside of town since we didn’t really feel like searching for a campground. Since it was dark by the time we got there (and the fact that it felt kind of sketchy) we forwent setting up the tent for the night and just slept in the back of the Jeep.
Thanks for reading! More posts to come on Zion and the Narrows hike!