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Monument Valley and Canyon de Chelly in a Day?

Princeton, NJ
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Monument Valley and Canyon de Chelly in a Day?

I will be staying overnight with my three kids (ages 8, 10, and 13) in Kayenta on a Monday and then in Holbrook the next night. Should we take a quick trip up to Monument Valley and then drive to Canyon de Chelly for a jeep tour and rim drive in the afternoon? Or should we drive directly to Canyon de Chelly and spend the day there?

This will be the only day on our trip to Arizona when we can see either.

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1. Re: Monument Valley and Canyon de Chelly in a Day?

if it's your only chance-- do both. Drive Monument Valley yourself in the morning.

Mesa, Arizona
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2. Re: Monument Valley and Canyon de Chelly in a Day?

Just a note that because its on the navajo reservation you have to have a guide to travel any of the dirt roads at Monument valley. You can take your vehicle (non rental) on the 17 mile road with out a guide. It will make for quite a long day if you really want to do both. I say pick one over the other. If you already have reservations for CdC then focus on that instead of driving all over the place.

Princeton, NJ
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3. Re: Monument Valley and Canyon de Chelly in a Day?

Can we drive it in a minivan rental? About how long should we count on to drive it with stops?

Sedona, AZ
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4. Re: Monument Valley and Canyon de Chelly in a Day?

Allow a good 2 hours to drive the 17 mile loop road in MV. Doing it in a minivan can be risky at times. It just depends on recent weather and road conditions. Sometimes it's a breeze and sometimes it requires a high clearance or 4WD vehicle.

Mesa, AZ
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5. Re: Monument Valley and Canyon de Chelly in a Day?

I would not even consider driving down into Monument Valley. You will be so focused on the road (LACK of road as you drive down the WALL of the canyon, and your kids will be yelling out "WOW, look here, look out, did you see that?" Of course, if your little one is a tad fearful, he/she won't be seeing anything or speaking at all until you get to the bottom of the canyon. You will enjoy the trip far more if someone else is doing the driving.

Add to this, if it rains, there are some mighty big/wide puddles to drive through. I personally have witnessed the locals get stuck.

However, I would find a way to do both Monument Valley and Canyon de Chelly. If there was not time for the jeep tour and the rim drive at Canyon de Chelly, I would give up the rim drive. Although, like any drive, it can be as long or as short as you make it,

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Canyon de Chelly Tours
Canyon de Chelly Tours
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Chinle, AZ
Mesa, Arizona
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6. Re: Monument Valley and Canyon de Chelly in a Day?

you CAN NOT take any rental vehicle on dirt roads especially this one. Going down one will void out any warranty you may have. I'd focus on one or the other. I know its a tough pick.

Princeton, NJ
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7. Re: Monument Valley and Canyon de Chelly in a Day?

Ok. Understood, if we go to Monument Valley, I need to hire a guide to do the loop road or beyond.

My feeling is that if we just do one, the kids would likely have a better time with a jeep tour and rim drive in Canyon de Chelly. I think they would be interested in the ruins ... and we would be closer to Holbrook at the end of the day.

If we did want to try to fit them both in would any of the following work?

Drive to Monument Valley and arrive around 9:00. Take a jeep tour, have lunch and leave around 12:30. Drive to Canyon de Chelly, arriving about 3:00 and take either a jeep tour or drive the south rim. Then drive to Holbrook; or

Drive to Monument Valley and go to the Visitor Center and see what we can see from there or from the Wildcat Trail ... or take a short (1 1/2 jeep tour), leaving by 11:00. Then drive to Canyon de Chelly by 1:30 or 2:00, and do a rim drive and the jeep tour.

On this trip (which is 5 full days and two 1/2 flying days), we will get to see the Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, take the Smooth Water Float from Page to Lee's Ferry, and see Sedona. I think what ever we do on this day (Monument Valley or Canyon de Chelly or both) will be great and they will have gotten to see a lot of the highlights of the region. So any advice is appreciated. I don't want everyone exhausted. My original thought was that only one of the two is really doable in a day, but if it's possible to do both ... and one shouldn't be missed, I'll try. But I think I need to feel comfortable that we can do them both in a day without killing ourselves for the next day ... while getting something out of both.

Thanks

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8. Re: Monument Valley and Canyon de Chelly in a Day?

IMO you need a full half day at each destination at a minimum. Adding travel time from Page and between MV and CdeC and Holbrook makes it virtually impossible to do in an enjoyable fashion.

The best chance to do both would be if you arrived at MV or CdeC on the night before and then do a half day (back country at MV) or (inner canyon at CdeC) tour. Then allow about 2-3 hours to get to the next destination and hope to do a late half day tour there. I doubt if you could actually schedule it and make it happen. Because of that, I'd suggestthat you choose on or the other and plan to do it properly rather than rush to do both and not really experience either place. After the rest of your whirlwind itinerary it makes more sense to slow down and bring your vacation to a comfortable conclusion instead of racing across a finish line and collapsing.

You will have seen (but not really experienced) all of the other stops already. Be careful not to overload to the point of exhaustion. With the destinations you have in your plan, less means more. You'll get much more out of each place by slowing down and spending quality time at a smaller number of places.

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Holbrook
Holbrook
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Princeton, NJ
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9. Re: Monument Valley and Canyon de Chelly in a Day?

Thanks for your input. I actually will be staying over in Kayenta (not Page)the night before, but I do not want to do more than makes sense, even if that might mean that it is possible to do both MV and Canyon de Chelly. In any event, I am leaning toward focusing on Canyon de Chelly.

The itinerary we have goes something like this:

Fri.: Fly to Phoenix, arive afternoon, drive to Flagstaff and stay overnight.

Sat: Drive to Grand Canyon (possibly stopping at Sunset Crater and Wupatki) on way. Overnight at Grand Canyon.

Sun: Family Program with Grand Canyon Field Institute. Hang around, and have early dinner, then drive to Page and stay overnight.

Mon: Possibly see Antelope Canyon or spend some time around Lake Powell in the morning. Then, take the afternoon Smooth Water Float from Page to Lee's Ferry in the afternoon. Drive to Kayenta and spend the night.

Tues: Drive to either Monument Valley or Canyon de Chelly and then stay over night in Holbrook.

Wed: Morning tour of Petrified Forest. (I don't plan on spending much time here, but the kids really want to stop there.) Then drive to Sedona and stay overnight there.

Thursday: Late afternoon flight out of Phoenix.

I would probably skip both Monument Valley and Canyon de Chelly and focus elsewhere, but as I said the kids want at least a drive through at the Petrified Forest, and if I'm going there it would seem logical that I stop at either MV or Canyon de Chelly, rather than spend more time in the Glen Canyon area. (Also, I have been told that if we aren't planning to hike down into the Grand Canyon, spending more than a couple days there might get boring for the kids.)

If you have other thoughts on tweaking this, I would appreciate hearing them. My objective is to let the kids get as good of an overview of the Grand Canyon and the surrounding area as possible.

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Uden, The...
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10. Re: Monument Valley and Canyon de Chelly in a Day?

Ahh, the other thread. Keep in mind Petrified Forest is not a forest and only driving through you won't see much. You have to get out of the car and do a short hiking to see the petrified logs lying on the floor. As your focus is on Canyon de Chelly, I would drive up to Monument Visitor Center first thing from Kayenta and see the Mittens from the visitor center (very spectacular already) but only on a clear day. If no sun I'd skip it and drive CdC directly. After the Mittens drive to CdC and take the 3 hours tour into de Canyon. Driving south rim after that will take a lot of extra time (19 miles one way to the unmissable Spider Rock). Some other places to see ruins are Walnut Canyon, east of Flag, Wupatki NM and Montezuma Castle on your way from Sedona to Phoenix.

Tet

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