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Monument Valley - worthwhile if not taking a jeep tour?

Bangkok, Thailand
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Monument Valley - worthwhile if not taking a jeep tour?

Hi and thanks -

I am looking at the rather pricey (stunningly so) tours (park drive) and find it too much to swallow. It might be a lovely place but what used to be a 20 tour now seems to be a 75-90$ tour. For this price I could rent and SUV and DIY. Is there any way to jump on the back of another tour for say half price?

So.....is the park worth sticking around thru the afternoon and into sunset and if so - where would we go to hang out in the hot afternoon and where to enjoy sunset? Tent at Goulding's - bad idea (noise?) ?

Better to move on to Spider Rock, make camp and early start on our Antelope Cyn - GC drive next day?

I think the plan as many might just be to stop at the park as early as possible out of Moab, enjoy of it what we can, get the photos and move on.

Thank you all

Bangkok, Thailand
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1. Re: Monument Valley - worthwhile if not taking a jeep tour?

Sorry, I can't edit my initial post. Spider Rock looks somewhat out of the way. Would be grateful for any TENT CAMPING recommendations on road to Page/Antelope Valley/Horseshoe along the way. thx

Salt Lake City, Utah
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2. Re: Monument Valley - worthwhile if not taking a jeep tour?

GrandCircle, If you want to see the light at its best in this area then stay for sunset. I personally did not feel any reason to pay for a tour, you can see the whole valley from the visitors center. There is now listed camping in Monument Valley, though I have not seen any reviews for it. Gouldings would be fine, no worse than any other campground. There is some camping around Kayenta as well. I thought there was some at the Navajo Natl Monument, but don't see any listed on their webpage, though it is mentioned here: arizona-leisure.com/navajo-national-monument…

Edited: 18 March 2012, 04:57
Sedona, AZ
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3. Re: Monument Valley - worthwhile if not taking a jeep tour?

The $20 tour is now $25 AFAIK. But it is simply a drive in a proper vehicle by a native guide on the park loop road. The more costly tours you are looking at are the back country tours that take you well beyond the loop road to places that can only be accessed with a native and to icons that you will not even know exist, if you limit yourself to a loop road drive.

The back country tours are the best way to get the most out of a visit to Monument Valley IMO. Being there for sunset and sunrise are also essential elements, especially if you are a photographer.

You are traveling literally from the other side of the globe, and you have purposely included this very remote destination in your itinerary. Now you are contemplating bypassing it over the price of a tour? Sorry, but that makes no sense to me.

Spider Rock is at Canyon de Chelly, several hours away and way out of the

way from your next stop at Page. And while Spider Rock is cool to see, it is only a minor element at Canyon de Chelly, which must be seen also with a native guide for an inner canyon tour. And I won't even begin to discuss the prices of those tours.

I know you have put a lot of time and planning into this trip. You need to understand that the destinations that are on Navajo Reservation land, including Monument Valley, Canyon de Chelly and Antelope Canyons, are all strictly controlled by the Indians and access to those places will cost whatever they charge. This is a matter that cannot be circumvented.

Ohio, USA
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4. Re: Monument Valley - worthwhile if not taking a jeep tour?

OK, to answer the question in your subject line, "worthwhile if not taking a jeep tour?" I would say yes. If you just want to pull in, check out the visitor center and the views from The VC and The View, then take an hour an do that. You will see one of the iconic vistas of the southwest, The Mittens and Merrick Butte.

That stated, I really agree with RedRox's suggestions and insight. If you really want to get the most out of Monument Valley, then an overnight stay so that you can expereince sunrise and sunset and a back country tour are the way to go. This is exactly what we did in 2010, staying at The View, and it was well worth it. One night was plenty. The back country tour we took was excellent. We used Tom Phillips tours; here's the link to my review (there are a few photos with the review):

tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g31256-d1943…

Kbec, I'm a little confused by your comment "you can see the whole valley from the visitors center." I do not think that is an accurate representation. You do get a great view from the The View and VC, but there is much, much more to Moument Valley than just the view from The View.

Salt Lake City, Utah
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5. Re: Monument Valley - worthwhile if not taking a jeep tour?

Ohio, I was referring to the valley drive, not the backcountry.

Ohio, USA
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6. Re: Monument Valley - worthwhile if not taking a jeep tour?

That's what I figured, but I just wanted to clarify. And you are correct, you can see the valley from Photographers Point behind The View. Here's one of shots that I took from this vantage point (about noon), and it is quite the vista:

photoshop.com/users/EAAtravel/assets/71a8966…

Salt Lake City, Utah
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7. Re: Monument Valley - worthwhile if not taking a jeep tour?

That's a nice one Ohio, it is great scenery.

Bangkok, Thailand
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8. Re: Monument Valley - worthwhile if not taking a jeep tour?

Hi thanks - OK so I feel much better about staying on for the sunset. So thanks to all of you for the encouragement.

Thx KBC. Very encouraging, we want to stay for sunset! Page is really expensive with poor value hotels anyway. Campground reviews not good.

Gouldings is a compromise - I am taking my girlfriend around this circle with no hotel stops, so I have to see she can get a proper shower. We will live it up in Vegas where we can mooch off the economies of scale.

Yup, Spider Rock - out

I understand the thinking RR, its not 150, it's ANOTHER 150. We are doing this really cheap and I'm pretty proud of myself, but after this we have NYC for a few days as well. Then, down to see my folks on the Chesapeake. Your point is very well taken - but considering we will at this point have been thru Zion, Bryce, Goblin, Arches, Canyonlands and heading for GC ...we will pass on the pricey ride.

Yes, understood it's indian land and it's theirs to control. We just have to be the ones that step back and say no thanks. For what it's worth, seems like the Antelope Cyn tour is well overpriced also (but we will do that). I am super involved in tourism here in Thailand and know when operators up the prices - you just have to find alternatives or not go. The wonder that is that canyon is amazing but judging by trip reports, the indians really do not care if you are being provided a quality experience for your money.

Another gripe I have is Reserve America's 8.00 fee which will be 50% of the cost of our stay at Goblin. Robbery!

I've actually done this trip a few times as a kid RedRox, my family traveled thru here a number of times on huge trips incl Colorado, NM, AZ...I've hiked GC Havasupi and done a 50 miler down the Colorado River as a kid.

OhioHick - thx for the link/write up.

So it is settled, sunset it is!

Philadelphia...
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9. Re: Monument Valley - worthwhile if not taking a jeep tour?

I think you should certainly make it to Monument Valley, ideally stay overnight at the View Hotel - breathtaking! With that said, I understand you not wanting to pay the price for a tour. They are expensive which is why we chose not to take one. Instead, we sucked it up and drove the road ourselves in our regular Toyota Camary. For those who say the road is too rough and shouldn't be attempted by anything less than a 4X4, I'm going to say they're nuts. The first 1/4 of a mile is by far the worst and I think they keep it that way in order to get folks to take a tour instead of driving their cars. The first 1/4 mile is full of potholes. You will find yourself driving all over the road to avoid the holes. HOWEVER, it's not like the road is jammed packed with cars so there's no problem doing it. Once past the 1/4 mile, the road is actually a very well maintained dirt road. If you take it slowly, you'll be fine. We saw VW bugs driving the loop as well. It will take you around two hours to do the loop. If you arrive early enough, you can drive the loop then drive it at sunset. There are many cars who do just that. We LOVED the experience and will be doing it again next summer.

Sedona, AZ
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10. Re: Monument Valley - worthwhile if not taking a jeep tour?

With all due respect Gwen, your post is the kind that gets other travelers in trouble. I'm glad that you were able to navigate the loop road in your car on the day that you were there. Those days do happen.

I've been to MV on multiple occasions, and I can assure you and others that the road conditions can and do change literally every day. You know well about the remote location of MV and how long it can take to get help if you need it. The sensible thing to do is to book a tour.

Even more reason if you need it, is to recognize that the natives who conduct the tours rely on this as the way they make their living. Every day we see posts about and from travelers who want to visit the Indian Reservations and interact with the native people. This is probably one of the best opportunities to do so and to support their economy.