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How much time needed? and just need lots of HELP!!!

Ohio
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How much time needed? and just need lots of HELP!!!

Hi, Next summer, my husband and I (late 30's) with 14 yr old daughter will be driving from Ohio with our camper. We plan on stopping in Monument Valley between Mese Verde National Monument on the way to Moab. How much time would a person need in Monument Valley? We will have our own 4W drive truck. What can be done on your own without an expensive tour? OR is one of the tours worth it and if so which one? If a nights stay is needed, can you suggest a good campground. Also, can you suggest any must see sites between any or all locations listed. Thank you in advance. This whole area is kind of new to me so need lots of help. Rhonda

Sedona, AZ
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1. Re: How much time needed? and just need lots of HELP!!!

The campground at Gouldings is quite popular. There is also a FCFS campground just inside the tribal park. If you detach your camper, you could drive the loop road in your 4WD truck. However, your visit will be greatly enhanced if you opt for a guided back country tour. This will take you beyond the loop road to iconic view points and also give you an opportunity to interact with natives and learn about their culture and history.

Ohio
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2. Re: How much time needed? and just need lots of HELP!!!

If you want to stay at Gouldings campground, reserve asap. It's a very small one. Good access to MV.

Agree with RR (as usual) :) You can do the road yourselves, but a tour is also very cool. We stayed 1 night- did the tour and also drove it ourselves at our own pace to get photos at our leisure. We took a tour thru Gouldings and really enjoyed our guide. There are alot of others tho which I wasn't aware of at the time which might be better and more thorough.

Ohio
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3. Re: How much time needed? and just need lots of HELP!!!

Thanks for the advice. My husband is a firefighter and we should be getting his vacation pick back anytime now. Once we find out what dates he gets, I will reserve ASAP and hope that it's not to late.

Park City, Utah
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4. Re: How much time needed? and just need lots of HELP!!!

Good advice so far. We just visited MV last week - second time this year. Two points of interest to consider - Hovenweep National Monument and the touristy but cool Four Corners park. Definitely do a night in MV to give yourself enough time. We usually tour ourselves in our Jeep, but taking a guided tour does offer you further insights. Or hire a private guide and drive yourself.

On the way up to Moab, take a little detour up the Moki Dugway northwest of Mexican Hat.

Have fun.

Santa Ana, CA
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5. Re: How much time needed? and just need lots of HELP!!!

I don't recall those tours being that expensive. 2 to 3 hours and all you have to do is show up. I've lost track of how many times I've done that in 20 years. It's definitely worth it. I think it's the way to go.

Ohio
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6. Re: How much time needed? and just need lots of HELP!!!

I think our tour (part of a group) thru Gouldings was about $30 per person and took 3 and 1/2 hours. That was 4 years ago, so maybe a bit pricier now? But I'm with Danny-- I don't recall them being very expensive. And definitely enjoyed it. We preferred to also do the route ourselves so we could stop at will for photos, but the tour was quite interesting and definitely worth it.

Santa Monica...
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7. Re: How much time needed? and just need lots of HELP!!!

Just to offer a contrary viewpoint -- my one experience in MV was not so inspiring:

We took a tour in November through the Park and it was very expensive (about $150 or $160 for two of us -- it lasted about 90 minutes). I went with one of the operators that is highly recommended on TA, but the guide that we ended up with was terrible. It is a very beautiful drive, but I would've rather driven it ourselves since our guide provided no information to us. (We have a sedan, so it would not have survived the pitted dirt road, so in a way, we were just paying for not damaging our car.) If you have a high-clearance vehicle, I would, personally, skip the tour and just drive it yourself. It is beautiful.

The view of the monuments at sunset is gorgeous. We enjoyed a fun little walk through Goulding's museum and home and gift shop. All in all, we spent the afternoon and overnight in MV and in the morning (after watching a stunning sunrise) we were on the road to Moab.

BTW - the drive to Moab is extremely scenic. We liked Moab and the NPs around it a lot.

Edited: 22 January 2012, 22:28
Sedona, AZ
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8. Re: How much time needed? and just need lots of HELP!!!

The back country tours take you beyond the loop road and include more narration, stops and insight as to the landmarks, history and cultural aspects of the Navajo. 3-4 hours and more costly than the $25-30 loop road tours. I think we paid around $50-60 pp last time.

But for all the time and effort that you take just to get to Monument Valley, from anywhere, it seems a shame not to give it at least that much time once you're there.

Salt Lake City, Utah
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9. Re: How much time needed? and just need lots of HELP!!!

TwoFourTheRoad. Thanks for sharing your experience. It is good to hear all the different experiences one can have at Monument Valley. I doubt you are the only one who has not enjoyed their tour.

10. Re: How much time needed? and just need lots of HELP!!!

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