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Monument Valley

Old Aug 17th, 2018, 02:37 PM
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Monument Valley

We are taking a tour of the Southwest next May. Some of you have already commented on my Durango post. New Question, we are leaving Flagstaff and staying overnite at Gouldings lodge at Monument Valley. I know there are a number of tours you can do and I also read that there is a 17 mile loop road you can drive with a fee. Haven't looked for how much the fee is, but is there an advantage to taking the tour? I know it is Navajo property and I'm sure they have some good insight, but is it necessary. After Monument Valley we will be driving to Durango for the week.
Thanks,
Tdiddy12
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Old Aug 17th, 2018, 06:51 PM
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Navajo nation charges a per car fee to enter the area. Last time I was there a few years ago, it was $20 per car. The 17 mile drive is usually accessible by passenger cars but best if you have an SUV since it is a dirt road and passage can be dependent on how recently it has been graded and what the weather has been. End of May, odds are it will be in pretty good shape. If it happens to be raining, however, it will likely be impassable due to wet, slippery clay. You should have no problem scheduling a tour on short notice so you might want to wait until you are there to make your decision.

if your reservations at Goulding can be cancelled and if reservations are available at The View, I would recommend changing. Rooms at the View have balconeys with close up views of the Mittens.

As you are leaving the area and driving towards Durango, if you look back, you will see the iconic shot in Forrest Gump.
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Old Aug 17th, 2018, 08:02 PM
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>>if you have an SUV since it is a dirt road . . .
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Old Aug 18th, 2018, 05:45 AM
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I went a few years ago and started at Gouldings. I thought it was fine but didn't need to be that close to the mittens. The restuarant they gave I thought was decent. I took a tour booked with Gouldings and had a great time. I liked my guide Mike. He made the best hamburger I ever had and said it was the wood from the fire. I had a rental car but only drove to the other side to see the famous landscape of Monument Valley to see a few things like Mexican hat.
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Old Aug 18th, 2018, 12:11 PM
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While many rental companies don't permit off road travel, I don't think most people consider a "huge" problem. 17 mile drive is always full of rental cars. I recall a fodorite who commented a few years back that one just needs to wash off the red dirt before returning the rental
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Old Aug 18th, 2018, 12:16 PM
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>>I don't think most people consider a "huge" problem.
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Old Aug 18th, 2018, 09:51 PM
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Thanks for the info bailey123. The View is already booked at this time! I wanted to stay there. I may try again as we get closer and cancel Gouldings.
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Old Aug 20th, 2018, 09:10 AM
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We went to Monument Valley last year and booked a tour with Majestic Monument Valley Tours. They did travel on the 17 mile road but also toured some areas that were not available without a guide. Additionally, the guides are Navajo and were excellent - providing first hand information as many have grown up in the area. We personally felt it was well worth it. I also like the occasional tour to give hubby a break from driving and a chance to see without worrying in this instance about a dirt road that has variable conditions.

Last edited by lindsyb; Aug 20th, 2018 at 09:10 AM. Reason: typo
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Old Aug 20th, 2018, 03:00 PM
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Lindsyb, can I Ask how much it cost? I’ll be there in October....
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Old Aug 21st, 2018, 06:03 AM
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They have different tours available but we did the 3 hr backcountry tour in the AM and we then had lunch at the View restaurant to get on the road to Moab. It was $108 plus taxes for the 2 of us and it was shared with 3 other couples.
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Old Aug 21st, 2018, 07:20 AM
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[QUOTE=janisj;16780261]>>I don't think most people consider a "huge" problem.
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Old Aug 21st, 2018, 07:23 AM
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It's not just that it is a dirt road. I live on a dirt road and drive on rural roads in VT all the time. The road in Monument Valley was in terrible shape when we visited (this was August, not May) and I would not have driven our own car on it either.
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Old Aug 21st, 2018, 08:13 AM
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Hi Lindsyb,
How early in the morning did you start? We are driving to Durango after MV and aren't in a big hurry, but would need to do an AM trip
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Old Aug 21st, 2018, 09:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Tdiddy12 View Post
Hi Lindsyb,
How early in the morning did you start? We are driving to Durango after MV and aren't in a big hurry, but would need to do an AM trip
I think your best bet is to reverse engineer this day. What time do you want to be in Durango? That determines what time you need to leave Monument Valley. Decide how long of a tour you want and that will determine how early you need to start the tour. There are a number of different companies and some will do a sunrise tour, so you will have various options for start time and length of tour.
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Old Aug 21st, 2018, 08:22 PM
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Vttraveler, August would be a bad time for 17 mile drive. We get heavy monsoons in August. It does not treat dirt roads kindly. By comparison, May is generally a very good time. The Res. has had an opportunity to grade the roads after winter snows and mud season and the summer rains have not started. Any concern for the road condition can be determined in the first 50 yards which is the roughest section. If one gets past that, it's clear road.

Tdiddy, Keep trying to get a room at The View, one of the top 2 floors at the far end from the restaurant and you will have a great view looking down at 17 mile drive and a beautiful sunset view of the mittens.

tdiddy, if it helps with your planning your day, by the end of May we are in daylight by 5:30 a.m. It takes me about 3 hours to get to The View from my house in Durango. If you plan on going to Mesa Verde, you can avoid backtracking if you stop at MV on your way to Durango. If you leave MOnument Valley in the morning, IMHO, you could get enough experience of Mesa Verde by spending the balance of your day there, spend the night at Far View and spend some of the next day at Mesa Verde before heading towards Durango. Once you leave Mesa Verde park and you are back on 160, it's only about a 45 minute drive to Durango.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2018, 08:11 AM
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Thanks everyone for your responses. So here is my situation in a little more detail. We have a week in Flagstaff at our timeshare and a week in Durango at our timeshare. It seems like we have two options, leave Flagstaff early to go to MV and take an afternoon tour leaving MV early the next morning to explore Canyon of the Ancients on the way to Durango. Getting to Durango early evening. Or hit some of the stuff out of Flagstaff on the way to MV, Dinosaur Tracks at Tuba City, Wupatki NM, Betakin Ruin and do the morning tour in MV the next morning. WhereWeAre, I think we would only do a 3 hour tour or less at MV. I think we can backtrack to Mesa Verde on one of our Durango days.
bailey123, where is Far View? I don't see it on my Google map. Finally last question, MV at sunrise or MV at sunset? Opinions!
Thanks again.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2018, 03:09 PM
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Far view lodge is within mesa verde, up at the top. Spectacular views, a little pricey, and often difficult to find availability. Nice option, but not a prerequisite.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2018, 03:33 PM
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Sunset...and if you get a room at far view lodge, hope for a nightime thunder and lightning show! (That way you could do sunrise, too, and have an okay breakfast at the restaurant there.)
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Old Aug 22nd, 2018, 08:06 PM
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Far View is the lodging within Mesa Verde. Since you are planning far enough in advance, if you want to stay there, you should have no problem booking a night. The drive in to the cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde from the highway is far enough that some people prefer to spend the night in the park.

you must really enjoy pueblo history. You plan on seeing Canyon of the Ancients, Hvenweep, Mesa Verde and maybe Wupatki? Don't get me wrong, I have been to them all, along with several others in the southwest, but I don't think I would want to hit all on your list within a few days. There is such a great variety of things to do and places to see in this area of the country. That being said, I know several people that would consider that a wonderful plan.

I think Tuba City dinosaur tracks would be a disappointment. Have you seen any part of Grand Canyon? If not, you might want to take a drive along part of the south rim and take in some great views on your way from Flag to Monument Valley.

sunset is a great time in Monument Valley. If it were me, I would plan on getting to monument Valley midafternoon, take an afternoon tour or self drive of 17 mile drive and enjoy the sunset and sunrise from Far View and head out of Monument Valley early morning. If you keep checking, you have a very good chance of getting one of the rooms at The View with a private balcony view looking down at 17 mile drive and out to the Mittens
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Old Aug 22nd, 2018, 08:53 PM
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Monument Valley at sunset
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