Grand Canyon Road Trip from Monument Valley

Monument Valley to Grand Canyon Road Trip

Monument Valley is located near the four corners area along the borders of Southern Utah and Northern Arizona. Visiting Monument Valley and the Grand Canyon makes a sweet road trip, especially if you have more than one day to explore. This valley of stone is part of the Navajo Reservation and includes the Monument Valley Tribal Park and much of the surrounding area.  Monument Valley is an area of spectacular beauty with towers of red sandstone that rise from the valley floor to elevations of over 1,000 feet.  This area was famous for being the backdrop of many western movies, long before large number of tourists visited the area.  Monument Valley Tribal Park was created to protect and conserve one of the most scenic and least disturbed portions of this area.  The park also protects Native American history from the time of the Ancestral Puebloans, to the recent Navajo Tribe. If you're traveling to the Grand Canyon, including a visit to Monument Valley is a great addition to your trip. Read the guide below to learn more about travel from Monument Valley to the Grand Canyon, or check out our Monument Valley map  to see all the nearby destinations and attractions.

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Travel Information, Tours and Lodging

Driving Distance from Monument Valley to Grand Canyon

  • Monument Valley to Grand Canyon North Rim is 248 miles, a 4 hour 20-minute drive.
  • Monument Valley to Grand Canyon East Rim is 165 miles, a 2 hour 45-minute drive.
  • Monument Valley to Grand Canyon South Rim is 190 miles, a 3 hour 20-minute drive.
  • Monument Valley to Grand Canyon West Rim is 395 miles, a 6-hour 30-minute drive.

Monument Valley Tribal Park Tours

The majority of visitors to Monument Valley are only there for a scenic drive, but there are many other options.  Monument Valley has some great hikes and jeep tours, some of which go to area that are restricted without a guide.  For a wild west adventure there are horse rides, and for a bird’s eye view scenic flights are available over monument valley from several nearby cities. You can check out our recommended tours below, or go to learn more about tours in Grand Canyon National Park here.

Best Monument Valley Hotels

The closest town to Monument Valley is Kayenta, Arizona.  There are a variety of hotels and restaurants in Kayenta, as well as all the basic services you’ll need.  There is a campground, RV park and hotel located in in the Monument Valley Tribal Park.  Right outside of the Tribal Park is Goulding’s, which is home to a lodge, gift shop, campground, RV Park and several other services. Check out our list popular Monument Valley area hotels below.

Area Car Rental Options

Monument Valley Car Rentals: There are no car rental agencies in Monument Valley so you’ll need rent a car before you arrive to explore this area.

Monument Valley Shuttles: There are a few companies that offer shuttles to Monument Valley, but it’s pricey and you’re typically better off having your own car.

Closest Airports to Monument Valley

There is a small private airport in Monument Valley, but permission is needed to land there.  There are daily flights from major airports in Flagstaff AZ, Farmington NM, Grand Junction CO, and St George UT, but they are all a good drive from Monument Valley and you may be better coming directly from an international airport.  Phoenix is the closest international airport at 5.5 hours, while Salt Lake City and Las Vegas are about a 7-hour drive.

Best Restaurants and Dining Options

The View lodge within Monument Valley Tribal Park has food and beverages available.  Right outside the Park, Goulding’s also has a lodge and dining options.  The majority of restaurants and other services are located in Kayenta. 

Weather and Climate

The average summer highs are in the 90’s, although it does cool off quite a bit at night especially after an afternoon thunderstorm so it’s definitely worth checking out if you’re in the area.  Fall is probably the best time to explore the area with spring as a close second.  Spring and fall are very mild with highs in the 60’s and 70’s and lows in the 40’s to 50’s.  Winter can be cold with nighttime lows dropping below freezing, but mild days have highs in the 40’s and solitude abounds with very few of Monument Valley’s 400,000 annual visitors passing through this time of year.

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Recommended Monument Valley Tours and Activities

Monument Valley, Zion, Bryce, South Rim, Antelope

Monument Valley, Zion, Bryce, South Rim, Antelope

Duration: 3 days
Rating: 4.8 out of 5
from $695 on Get your guide

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Monument Valley Sunrise or Sunset Tour

Monument Valley Sunrise or Sunset Tour

Duration: 3 hours
Rating: 5 out of 5
from $85 on Viator

Book Now

Antelope Canyon, Monument Valley & Horseshoe Bend

Monument Valley, Antelope & Horseshoe Bend

Duration: 3 days
Rating: 4.6 out of 5
from $540 on Get your guide

Book Now

2.5 Hour Guided Tour of Monument Valley

2.5 Hour Guided Tour of Monument Valley

Duration: 2.5 hours
Rating: 5 out of 5
from $75 on Viator

Book Now

Popular hotels near Monument Valley

Learn More About Monument Valley

Monument Valley is close to Lake Powell and the East Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. A dry desert climate with a lot of sunshine and little rain.  You can travel through Monument Valley on Route 163 and get some good views without paying any fees.  If you want to visit the Tribal Park it the admission fee is $10 a person or $20 per vehicle.  Camping is $10 per night, and tours vary in price.

Environment: Monument Valley Tribal Park is 29,817 acres, but the entire valley is much larger.    The Monuments we see today are composed of Cedar Mesa Sandstone, some of which have cap rocks of Red Organ Rock Shale. The valley floor is typically made up of shale and other soft sedimentary rocks, which like the monuments gets their red color form iron oxide. Summer time in Monument Valley can be quite hot and sunburn and dehydration are always something to be aware of.  There are also some big dust storms when monsoon winds kick up the dust, but don’t necessarily produce any rain.

Plants and Animals: Monument Valley is fairly void of life due to the harsh arid conditions.  You will find some shrubs like rabbit brush, cliff rose and purple sage, as well as a few juniper trees.  Because of the lack of vegetation and competition from sheep grazing wildlife is also scare, but you will see reptiles and some small mammals.

Monument Valley Culture and History: Evidence of human history in Monument Valley dates back to Paleo-Indian hunters who were in the area nearly 14,000 years ago.   Ancestral Puebloan farmers settled this area about 2,000 years ago, but disappeared around 1300 AD.  Paiute Indians followed the Puebloans, as did the Navajo who still live here today.   Europeans arrived in the 1800’s and many silver prospectors tried to strike it rich in Monument Valley.  Harry Goulding who moved to the area in 1921, built a trading post that still exists today, and helped open Monument Valley to the movie industry, and the western films that made it famous. 

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