monument valley

Old Jan 30th, 2014, 06:11 AM
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monument valley

Ever since I saw Monument Valley on "Stagecoach" with John Wayne I've wanted to visit. As I'm now at the age of thinking about my bucket list I'm planning a visit around May 2014. I am from the UK and am thinking of 7 days + 2 days for travel. I've been told Bryce Canyon is also worth seeing as it's fairly close by. I was thinking of a fly-drive package and staying at motels to keep costs down. Does this seem reasonable and are there other places to see in the area that I shouldn't miss? What is the best airport to fly in to?
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Old Jan 30th, 2014, 09:05 AM
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One full day & night will be plenty of time for Monument Valley If those are the only places you are going, I assume you plan to do extensive hiking at Bryce? You will probably still want to add at least one other place, perhaps Zion.

Flying into the region and driving is very easy. We did a trip last summer, which included those locations, plus Zion National Park, Antelope Canyon and the Grand Canyon. For the places we wanted to see, we flew into Las Vegas (which has many flights and inexpensive rental cars), then did a big loop.

Los Vegas is still probably the easiest place for you to fly.

This was our trip report with many photos: http://www.mightymac.org/southwest/
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Old Jan 30th, 2014, 09:06 AM
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"las" Vegas. Wish I could edit that!
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Old Jan 30th, 2014, 12:10 PM
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You could plan a very nice trip in a week. Las Vegas is a place you could fly in to as there are many flights, car rentals tend to be less expensive there, and it gets you to the "general area".

I would probably want to get the longest drive over with first and head for Monument Valley, plan to stay either there at the motel on the reservation or Gouldings or in one of the motels in Kayenta, AZ.

Then head for Page, visit Antelope Canyon, horseshoe bend, and the best dam view. Lots of films were made in/near the town of Kanab and there are tablets around town that describe some of the films and the actors who stayed there and there is a small, fake western set that you can visit.

Then go up to Bryce, see sunset, sunrise and do any hiking you want.

Next go to Zion, and then head back to Vegas.

There is lodging in Page, Kanab, Bryce, Zion (or Springdale).

Half a day should be plenty to see the Page area sites, a day for Monument Valley should do and Bryce and Zion stays depend on how much hiking, horse back riding, etc you want to do.
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Old Jan 30th, 2014, 12:12 PM
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I'm one of those people who love Monument Valley. I could see spending two full days here doing different tours. I would definitely add Bryce. You could also add either Zion or the Grand Canyon but if you do all four places, then you're going to have a rushed trip.

Utahtea
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Old Jan 30th, 2014, 12:40 PM
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You could consider flying into Phoenix and back from Las Vegas?

Love Monument Valley - and if you get a sunrise - time during the day here - and a sunset - you should have a pretty good appreciation of it.

I would suggest you also include the Grand Canyon in your plans and it's only about two and half hours from Kayenta, and try to stay on the rim - either the upscale El Tovar is it - or Bright Angel.

On the way to the GC - about 20 minutes west of Kayenta is the turnoff (north) to the Navajo National Monument - and then 10 miles up the road - you come to a very good example of Cliff Dwellings, with a good visitor's center also.

From the Grand Canyon - it's less than half a day to Zion - and if you have the time and energy - you could also swing by Bryce Canyon on your way.

Get a good map and looks things over.

From Zion - it's about three hours into Vegas.
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Old Jan 30th, 2014, 02:00 PM
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We stayed at the Hat Rock inn www.hatrockinn.com in Mexican Hat when we went to Monument Valley, and also visited Valley of the Gods, Goosenecks State Park, and drove up the Moki Dugway to Muley point from there.
We flew into Phoenix, (BA flies to Phoenix direct) stayed a night there at a motel near the airport, then headed up to the Grand Canyon. We stayed at Thunderbird lodge (everything else was full, but Tbird was fine for us) a couple of nights before heading for Mexican Hat where we also stayed two nights.
If you opt for Mexican Hat do try a swinging steak!
A beautiful part of the world, and completely unique.
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Old Jan 30th, 2014, 03:25 PM
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I enjoyed Monument Valley. With that said, we have been to Utah/Arizona many many times and it is my least favorite place I've visited.
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Old Jan 31st, 2014, 04:13 AM
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Oh spiro, don't be a buzzkill

As a child growing up in New Hampshire, I too was taken by John Ford's westerns (still am...all westerns in fact (except for all the Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns that were filmed in Spain).

Who could've imagine that my family would end up living in Arizona. One of my most amazing memories is of camping at Monument Valley in the early 1960s. We'd secured a campsite right at the edge of the overlook...right where the new hotel "The View" is. It was my option to sleep on a cot in the middle aisle of our little pop-up camper or drag it outside. It was a warm night so I was outside. I fell asleep but was awakened a couple of hours later by the distant howling of coyotes. I sat up and had an amazing view of the Milky Way above and the dimly lit Monument Valley below. There was a glow in the east and I realized that the moon was about to rise. It was breathlessly silent except for the occasional howl of a coyote. I sat mesmerized by the spectacle of an orange full moon gradually lighting up the scene. Within an hour, the valley was lit up so well you could've read a book. It was a magical experience I can still call to mind 50 years later.

That said, If you are planning to visit the area, by all means visit Monument Valley (try to time your trip to include a full moon rising) but make sure you rent an SUV (in Vegas) and venture to all the other attractions that are in the area. Grand Canyon, Mesa Verde, Valley of the Gods, the Hopi pueblos...the list goes on and on.

Get AAA's Indian Country Guide Map.

http://www.amazon.com/Map-AAA-Guide-.../dp/B005MZ53RI

It is a great resource for planning a visit. You're getting good advice...in any other place Monument Valley would be a star attraction but, in the Four Corners Region, it has to share the spotlight with so many other that it actually gets overshadowed.

Your going to love this trip!
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Old Jan 31st, 2014, 05:42 AM
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When we did our 10 day Southwest trip, we flew into Phoenix, drove to the Grand Canyon (stayed at Maswik Lodge 1 night, tried for El Tovar but sold out), then drove to Monument Valley (stayed at Gouldings Lodge 2 nights), we enjoyed the Navajo led park tour (some of my favorite photos are from this tour), our next stop was Mesa Verde (stayed at Far View Lodge 2 nights), loved dinner at Metate and exploring the cliff dwellings, we also saw wild horses and wild turkeys. From there we had a long drive day to Santa Fe/Albuquerque and spent another 5 days in Bernalillo exploring the area. You could use your other days at Bryce and/or Zion or other parts of Utah/Colorado. We also went in May (Mesa Verde had just opened up for the season).

It is a really beautiful part of the country. For in park lodging, make your reservations early and if you don't get your first choice keep trying as rooms do open up. Have a great trip.
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Old Feb 1st, 2014, 06:08 AM
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Thank you all for your responses. I've now got plenty of information to research further.
One point is that I've been to the Grand Canyon before on a previous trip. I flew from a smaller airport in Las Vegas to an airstrip above the canyon, then in a helicopter down to the river then a short boat trip along the river. Is it a case of once you've seen it in one location it's much the same elsewhere or should I still build a trip into my plans?
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Old Feb 1st, 2014, 06:28 AM
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I would include it in your plans. I think you went on a side canyon, rather than the main one. You can do what most people do and spend just a few hours at the rim before carrying on with your journey.
I have been twice now, once just for a few hours when we drove Route 66, and the second time we stayed at the rim. It is such a spectacular sight, and I would happily go again. The advantage of staying at the rim is that you get to see sunrise and sunset, when the colours are at their best.
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Old Feb 1st, 2014, 06:47 AM
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I would not stay at Kayenta for Monument Valley--too far away. As others have noted, sunrise and sunset are spectacular. We stayed at Gouldings Lodge because the The View hotel was full. Kayenta does have an interesting museum about the Navajo Code Talkers.

Canyon de Chelly is not far from MV and also worth considering

We took a trip last year with a loop from Albuquerque and I posted a short TR.
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Old Feb 1st, 2014, 10:37 AM
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Kayenta is only about 15 minutes from Monument Valley. We stayed there two years ago and it was fine. We travel on a pretty tight budget, so the rooms at The View and Gouldings were out of our price range.

Lee Ann
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Old Feb 1st, 2014, 11:12 AM
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The tribute to the WW II Marines/Navajo Code Talkers/"Wind Talkers" is a small but interesting one - inside the Burger King in Kayenta.

We stayed in Kayenta and had no problem getting to MV in time for both sunset and sunrise.
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Old Feb 1st, 2014, 11:46 AM
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We stayed in Mexican Hat because we couldn't afford Gouldings, the View was not quite finished, and most of all because we liked the name .
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Old Feb 1st, 2014, 12:05 PM
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We've stayed in Kayenta twice and Mexican Hat once, for what ElendilPickle, Tomsd and hetismij2 said, less expensive and easy to get to MV.
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Old Feb 1st, 2014, 08:48 PM
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We visited Monument Valley last June as my son's choice of a high school graduation trip, as he is a big film buff (John Ford etc.). We drove from our home in Denver, so our itinerary wouldn't work for you. We visited Canyon de Chelly and Mesa Verde, though, and they are very special places, and you won't see anything like them anywhere else.

Monument Valley (we spent two nights, one full day) was more wonderful than I thought it would be. We stayed at The View, and it was worth what we paid (it being a celebration trip).

One of the highlights of the trip was that, in driving around the Valley, we happened into the middle of a film shoot. DS recognized the director - which was confirmed by a local guy who was on the production crew, and corralled us off the road as we began driving into where they were filming. Very fun, especially for DS.
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Old Feb 4th, 2014, 09:02 PM
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""One point is that I've been to the Grand Canyon before on a previous trip. I flew from a smaller airport in Las Vegas to an airstrip above the canyon, then in a helicopter down to the river then a short boat trip along the river. Is it a case of once you've seen it in one location it's much the same elsewhere or should I still build a trip into my plans?""

The Grand Canyon is different to me every time I go. And you were not at either the North or South rims if you took a helicopter ride to the river. The reason for the parks is location is due to the fact that you get the most dramatic views there. I would definitely include the Grand Canyon into the plans. It doesn't really matter which rim you go to, just give yourselves at least two days to see it either way.
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