Yah’ah’ teh’ From Monument Valley

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I finally made it to Monument Valley.  And went on the Moki Deathway.  And saw Muley Point.  It was an exciting, but long, day in the desert.  My parents were visiting and we were trying to decide what to do on the second day.  Someone went to Monument Valley a couple weeks before and it made me really want to go.  I mean, I was only three hours away the whole time, so it felt like an overdue visit.  Also, good to know, Yah’ah’ teh’ is the Navajo word for hello.

We got up early(ish) to take the first ferry leaving Bullfrog at 9 AM.  The plan was to be there by 8:45 since it doesn’t usually fill up.  At least I don’t think it does.  That’s what I always told everyone that asked.  We were a little behind and got there at 8:50 AND IT WAS ALREADY GONE!  So, now we had even longer to drive and then we probably would have left earlier.  Oh well.

On the way we got to see a petroglyph on the side of the road.  It was the Moki Queen and her puppy.  We kept going for what felt like hours to the turnoff towards Muley Point and the Moki Deathway.  Ok, so it’s not actually called that, it’s the Moki Dugway, but my old bosses called it the Deathway because it’s like, three miles of steep switchbacks on the side of a cliff.  The name stuck.

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I always heard horror stories from people that took it to get from Page to Bullfrog, so I was a little nervous, but way more excited to finally get to drive it.  SPOILER ALERT:  It’s not that scary.  Like, at all.  The Burr Trail switchbacks are a lot more intimidating.  But, I still call it the Moki Deathway and would recommend taking it.  It’s got great views, just avoid it if your vehicle is over 28 feet.

Alright, I’m getting ahead of myself.  Befor you go down the deathway, like right before, there is a turnoff for the Muley Point Overlook, which the Rough Guide to the Southwest US says would be the main attraction if all of Southern Utah was a National Park.  It was really talking it up.  It’s a few miles down a gravel and sandy road.  I don’t know if four wheel drive is necessary, but some small sections were really sandy, so watch out for that.

Eventually we made it to the overlook and it felt like a smaller Grand Canyon.  It was similar, but it felt different at the same time.  Like I said, it was smaller, and it looked like there were a lot more mesas that we were looking down on.  It was really cool, but I don’t know if I would say it would be the main attraction in all of Southern Utah.

Now, onto the main attraction, Monument Valley!  I’ll start with a few misconceptions that I had of Monument Valley.  I mean, I really didn’t know anything about it.

First, I knew it wasn’t a National Park, but I didn’t think it was any other official park.  I had no idea there were Navajo Tribal Parks.  And that’s what it is, a Tribal Park, with a $20 entrance fee, just like the surrounding National Parks.

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Second, I thought you had to go as part of a tour.  I also thought you could only drive in so far, like, just a little bit which is sort of true, but you could drive through more than I thought.  There are a few roads you need a guide to go down, but you can still see most of it from the main road.  There are tours (I don’t know exactly how much they are, I think they start around $70) but they definitely aren’t necessary to visit the park.

Our first plan of action was food.  We stopped at Goudling’s first, but there were like 12 buses, 40 Corvettes, and 1000 people, so we went to The View in the park instead.  The food wasn’t bad, but it’s not anything to write home about either.  There isn’t much to eat in the area, and nothing I read about any of the food was spectacular, so I guess just be aware and if you know something super delicious in the area, let me know!

SO, food eaten, postcards bought, and it was time to FINALLY see the valley.  It was super windy when we went, so we didn’t spend much time outside of the car, plus there is only one hiking trail around one of the mittens.  It takes a few hours, but we didn’t have plans to do that, especially since it took so much longer to get there than it should have with stops and everything.

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The road felt weirdly chaotic.  There wasn’t anything against parking anywhere, so people just stopped wherever, which was nice, but a little confusing.  Plus, there were a few places where roads crossed over and didn’t go to anything or just said one way, very confusing,  It makes a lot more sense if you can see it as well.

We stopped at most of the pullouts to take pictures.  We saw a horse that I named Jeffrey.  We got sand in our eyes.  We stopped to look at jewelry.  We got confused by the roads.  We got sand in our ears.  We took more pictures.  We spent a lot of time in the car.

It was really pretty there and I’m super glad I finally got to see it, I just wish it wasn’t so windy that day, but what can ya do?  You just make the most of it and enjoy it, that’s what you do in case you were wondering.  There isn’t all that much to do here, with only one hike and the 17 mile loop drive, but it’s the perfect stop on a US road trip and is an iconic place to visit.  You can’t just not go.  I mean, it’s Monument Valley!

Tips for visiting Monument Valley:

  • You don’t need to spend a whole day here, a morning or afternoon is good, but everyone recommends watching the sunrise over the valley, so if you can, spend the night so you can experience that.  It would be really amazing.
  • Check the weather before you go.  Don’t let high wind stop you from going, but bring sunglasses to help keep sand out of your eyes and maybe a bandana to put over your face if you take a Jeep tour.
  • Park entrance is $20 and good for two days.
  • There is only one hotel and restaurant in the park (The View) but there is other accommodation nearby.
  • Don’t have high expectations on the food, but if you want to try some authentic Navajo food, get a Navajo taco.

Have you been to Monument Valley?  What did you think of it?  What was your favorite part of your visit?  Do you want to go?

Tips for visitingMonument Valley (1)Tips for visitingMonument Valley

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