After spending last night at the Grand Canyon and waking up at 5 am, we were all a bit sleeply heading in to monument valley. I was behind the wheel so the boys could sleep, driving from Arizona to Utah to this incredible place.
As we got closer to our destination the land became more orange, rocky and dry – I really felt like I was in Utah, it was exactly like I had imagined. The land around the vast empty road was mostly flat except for the amazing, huge rock structures coming up from nowhere. I had seen plenty of pictures of this place but nothing prepared me for seeing it first hand.
Stopping at the state line to take the typical ‘hanging off state sign shots’ and I managed to capture this shot of the landscape, with the rock sculptures jutting out from the land in the background, this is what greeted us at the state line, Amazing.
It didn’t take us long to get up to the national park (Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park), after paying $5 each to get in we were rewarded with stunning views of these rock sculptures. As well as a visitor centre explaining some of the history mostly about the American Indians who used to live here.
It was extremely hot and you could see the heat rising from the land, with huts made out of mud to show where and how the people would of lived, this really was a place of history. Each rock is special to the people and the land is still preserved to this day.
Learn more about what each rock sculpture means Here. There is also a 17 mile scenic drive down on the lower valley, at the foot of some of the rock sculptures. The only thing about this drive was the road was 4×4 terrain, you needed a high bottomed car and some experience of driving on this terrain to make it.
Despite being warned this, and having a brand new rental car … we gave it a try any way. After less than a mile and a lot of panic we gave up and headed back, the getting back was even worse but we didn’t damage the car. After little more than 2 hours we headed out of the park and back out on to the road, in search of one specific view. It took patience and several disappointments before we found what we were looking for.
The monuments coming out of the horizon look just spectacular, after being so close to them and knowing just has big they are. When you see them from this view they look like some silly, small rocks.
This road and view also features in Doctor Who, series 6 Episode: The Impossible Astronaut. We left Monument Valley and headed on our way, but we didn’t leave behind the amazing views of this incredible state of Utah.
We didn’t spend as much time here as we imagined, it just felt we had seen Monument Valley after just a few hours. But the time we were there was amazing, it was everything I imagined it would be. And throughout our driving in Utah we were constantly surprised by the views.