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Monument Valley - using a rental SUV

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Apr 29th, 2012, 05:56 AM
  #1
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Monument Valley - using a rental SUV

Hi
I'm going to be in Monument Valley with a rental SUV. Does anyone know whether 1) you are allowed to drive the 17mile scenic loop road using a rental vehicle (Alamo) and 2) if not, is there a Jeep rental company nearby where you can do private rental (eg not a tour)?

Thanks
jvb1982 is offline  
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Apr 29th, 2012, 07:29 AM
  #2
 
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No problems on the scenic loop with an SUV unless Alamo has some extra-restrictive policy. Most rental car policies say something about 'no off-roading' but usually you're OK legally on a graded dirt road like this one.

The road can be a bit rough (the first few switchbacks from the parking lot are always the worst, once past this it's much easier so just take it easy starting out), depending on the last time it was graded and whether it has rained recently, but most of the Navajo families living in the valley are driving standard pick-ups so with any SUV with decent clearance it's not an issue with safety.
Bill_H is offline  
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Apr 29th, 2012, 10:27 AM
  #3
 
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Double check with the rental company is you are allowed to drive on raods which are not paved. You don;t want to have naything happen and then find out your insurance in invalid. (Don;t know about that area - but in the east you MUST stay on paved roads with rental cars.)
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Apr 29th, 2012, 10:51 AM
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Dirt roads that are marked on a map are not the same as "off road". I think you will be fine-that is my opinion, I have no idea of what Alamo or any other rental company actually states in what you are signing. To be honest, I totally ignore the off-road warning anyway. If I ever have a wreck or serious problem, then I'll just have to pay for it myself, if my regular insurance doesn't cover it. I really think the main reason they do this, is that they don't want to have to respond to a lot of flat tires, somewhere out in the sticks.

The only place that I know of that rents jeeps that allows you to truly go off road is a couple of places in Moab.

If you are going to Monument Valley, you really do need to tour with a Navajo Guide. Otherwise you are going to miss a lot, and I do mean a lot. You are not allowed anywhere but that one road without a Navajo with you. So, I would highly highly recommend going on a tour.
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Apr 29th, 2012, 11:07 AM
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I so agree with spirobulldog. You really need to go with a guide.
suewoo is offline  
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Apr 29th, 2012, 05:56 PM
  #6
 
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You can drive the rd BUT, as said b4, it is very rough, dusty, full of holes, exposed rocks and ruts. We took a jeep tour and saw a couple of private vehicles off to the side damaged from ruts. I would not risk that in a rental car. It could cost you mega $$$ if you have damage. In addition, the knowledge of our tour driver and his commentary really made the tour. There are lots of tour vehicles lined up in front of The View hotel (stayed there - beautiful). We didn't have a reservation for the tour and had no prob.
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Apr 29th, 2012, 06:05 PM
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Irish,

I disagree with your description of the main road. I think any normal car is fine under most circumstances. And i think you would be just fine in any suv. Certainly, it could be a bit rough, but I don't remember it being bad at all.
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Apr 29th, 2012, 06:33 PM
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"I disagree with your description of the main road. I think any normal car is fine under most circumstances. And i think you would be just fine in any suv."

John (Spiro),

I've driven that road probably 30-35 times and most of the time it's as you describe, passable to most rental cars. But at least three times it was either extremely muddy after heavy rains and cars without 4-wd were getting stuck, or very rough with exposed rocks that could puncture an oil pan on a normal rental.

Unlike Irish I've never seen cars too damaged to keep going but I know it happened at least once with a guy who punctured his rental car's oil pan near the 2nd switchback and had to wait several days for a replacement rental vehicle to arrive, messing up his vacation in a big way. I'm sure just the towing charges back to Flagstaff were high, plus any repair costs.

The guy should be OK in an SUV but some SUVs don't have much clearance.

To the original poster, if in doubt try to catch a couple of cars coming out after they've done the drive and ask the drivers how the road was. Probably what they'll say is "Need to be careful and go slow in 2-3 places but otherwise it's not too bad" but you never know.
Bill_H is offline  
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Apr 29th, 2012, 07:46 PM
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Bill,
You have a good memory to remember my name(I think we only exchanged one email and that was a few years ago).

I've only done it the one time. I remember letting my then 14 year old drive early one morning in Valley of the Gods in our small rental car. Nothing happened, but I'm not sure what got into me to let her do that. She never even drove here locally until she was 16. So, I was really taking chances in a rental. Anyway, it was super good shape when we were there. With the new lodge there, I would hope that perhaps they are able to take even better care of the road now.

I did use the words, "most circumstances and certainly could be a bit rough? But, I sure wouldn't want to be there with any kind of car problems. So, certainly play it safe.
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Apr 30th, 2012, 01:16 PM
  #10
 
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I know you specifically mentioned "not a tour" but I have to agree with the others who recommend that you go with one. My husband is not a tour-type person and balked at first when I told him I'd booked us a private tour for Monument Valley. To this day, when he talks about that trip, of all the things we did he says that tour with the Navajo guide is one of his favorites. And we did a lot of great things on that trip.

Just food for thought.

Have a great trip.
Floridafran is offline  
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Apr 30th, 2012, 01:36 PM
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I drove that road in a rented Kia Sportage and had no trouble. Use good judgment and drive slowly and as long as there's no mud or anything you should be fine.

When I was there I saw a number of regular cars, as well as a group of motorcycles on the road. A good time for the drive is late afternoon, a few hours before sunset, when the afternoon light is at its best.
panecott is online now  
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Apr 30th, 2012, 04:02 PM
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I still think it's good for the OP to know what he's looking at.
suewoo is offline  
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Apr 30th, 2012, 07:47 PM
  #13
 
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Well, everyone seems to have had different experiences. Have described ours. It was what it was. We were there a yr ago. However you choose to do it, MV scenery is spectacular.
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