2. Navajo Tribal Park Monument Valley Self-Guided Driving Tour
Start by downloading the Action Tour Guide app, which will function as your personal tour guide, audio tour, and map. Purchase one tour per car, not per person. Everyone listens together! Note: This 44+ mile-long tour covers the essentials of Monument Valley in 2-3 hours. Your adventure into the stunning Utah landscape begins on the outskirts of the tiny town of Mexican Hat. From here, we’ll cruise across the rust-red land and crest the rise where Forrest Gump’s long run finally came to an end in the famous Tom Hanks film. This is where you’ll get your first really good look at the wonders that await. Then it’s on to Monument Valley itself. After we pass the visitor center (entrance tickets not included), we’ll learn about the mysterious Anasazi tribe, the first people who ever lived in this harsh place. They left behind ancient, advanced dwellings among the cliffs, which have been abandoned even before the Spanish arrived here. We’ll also hear about the Navajo, of course! This is their valley, after all, and the tribe has a long history here. Next, we’ll come to Wildcat Trail, the only self-guided trail in the park. From here, you can hike through some of the coolest sights the valley has to offer--as long as you bring enough water, that is! After that, we’ll see the towering formations of East Mitten Butte, West Mitten Butte, and Merrick Butte. While there, we’ll dive into the fascinating story of a silver prospector who tried to steal from this Navajo land. You can probably guess how that went for him. Our drive continues to John Ford Point, a gorgeous viewpoint named for the famous Western director John Ford. Along the way, we’ll dig into the countless Hollywood hits that have been filmed here over the years, from The Searchers to 2001: A Space Odyssey. We’ll visit the Three Sisters next. These monoliths loom 1,000 feet over the landscape and seem to defy gravity itself. Plus, we’ll give you some insights into the Navajo families who still live in this valley with no running water or electricity. On our way through the jaw-dropping scenery, we’ll learn more about the long history of the Navajo, from the dramatic tale of Navajo code talkers in World War II to the tribe’s modern presence in the country. At North Window Overlook, we’ll point out the perfect spot to catch a sunrise. Finally, we’ll end up near Camel Butte and Elephant Butte, where our tour will conclude.