Monument Valley is a magical national park with breath-taking hikes to discover! From hikes with teardrop arches and self-guided hikes to overnight treks on Hunt’s Mesa there are many incredible hikes in Monument Valley to choose from! As Oljato-Monument Valley is in Navajo county we are merely visitors to their sacred land. Therefore, to protect this special landscape there is only one official Monument Valley hike you can do without a guide. The other hikes in Monument Valley require a guide. Whilst the Wildcat Trail is an epic hike in monument valley that you can do without a guide, there are many more incredible guided hikes in Monument Valley. Here are four of the best hikes in Monument Valley as well as a bonus hike which is closeby! Pack your hiking boots and let’s explore Monument Valley by its sandy trails.
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- Where is Monument Valley?
- How much does it cost to hike in Monument Valley?
- Why do I need to take a guided tour hike in monument valley?
- List of Hikes in Monument Valley
- Map of Hikes in Monument Valley
- Companies offering Guided Hikes in Monument Valley
- Best time of year to hike in Monument Valley
- Best time of day to hike in Monument Valley
- What should I bring on my Monument Valley Hike?
- Things to do in Monument Valley
- Where to stay in Monument Valley
Where is Monument Valley?
Monument Valley is a beautiful national park in the American South West. The park is part of the Navajo nation and is officially called Oljato-Monument Valley or Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. Monument Valley is in Utah and Arizona.
How much does it cost to hike in Monument Valley?
The various hikes in Monument Valley has various costs.
To enter Monument Valley, you will need to pay a $20 entrance fee. This is per vehicle (up to 4 people) and is valid for 2 days. Regardless of which Monument Valley hike you choose, you will have to pay the entrance fee.
There is one hike which is included in your Monument Valley entrance fee. The Wildcat Trail is the best hike in Monument Valley to do without a guide. You simply park up at the visitor centre, then you can walk to the Wildcat Trailhead. The Wildcat Trail is an easy 3mile hike around some of the most iconic buttes in the American South West.
If you don’t fancy hiking the Wildcat Trail and would prefer to explore a different part of Monument Valley, you will have to take a guided trek. The guided treks in Monument Valley have various fees dependent on company, length of tour etc. For example, the hike to Teardrop Arch costs around $80 per person but the overnight hike and stay on Hunt’s Mesa can cost around $400 per person. Yikes! If you are on a budget Wildcat Trail is the cheapest hike you can do in Monument Valley. Yet if you are looking to discover the real Monument Valley away from the noisy visitor centre, booking a guided hike is worth it.
Why do I need to take a guided tour hike in Monument Valley?
Adventurous hikers may not be used to taking a guided hiking tour. Some of us love to go out into nature, armed with a map and see what we can discover! Therefore, avid hikers may be frustrated at having to pay and take a hiking tour in Monument Valley. However, it is important to understand a few things before getting annoyed.
- Monument Valley is part of the Navajo nation. This is a semi-autonomous state with their own laws. This is their home and we are guests.
- Monument Valley is a sacred place to the Navajo people. By ensuring guest take part on a guided tour, they can protect their holy landscape as visitors know how to behave. For example, it is forbidden to climb the mesas in Monument Valley.
- Tourism is a major source of income for the Navajo people. By taking part in a guided hiking tour in Monument Valley you are providing locals with employment.
List of Hikes in Monument Valley
Monument Valley Hike 1: Wildcat Trail Hike
Wildcat Trail is the best hike in Monument Valley to do without a guide. It is a 3-mile circular hike in Monument Valley which starts by the visitor centre, takes you around the West Mitten Butte and back. This Monument Valley hike is particularly beautiful at sunrise and sunset.
You just need to get your permit at the visitor centre before starting the hike. Sign in for free at the visitor centre, state the time and how many are in your party and then you can hike!
It takes around 2 hours to complete and is very easy to navigate. This was our highlight when we visited Monument Valley.
Monument Valley Hike 2: Hunt’s Mesa Hike
Hunt’s Mesa is the tallest part of Monument Valley. Hikers will enjoy the two-hour hike to the summit of Hunt’s Mesa at 6,370 feet (1,942 m). To reach the start of the Hunt’s Mesa Trail, you will have to access it through the Navajo town of Kayenta with your tour guide. You may not go on Hunt’s Mesa without a tour guide.
The Hunt’s Mesa hike can be done as a day hike or as an overnight stay. The day hike takes around 7 hours and the overnight hike around 18 hours. This is the only overnight stay hike in Monument Valley. If you choose to stay over, your guide will bring tents, sleeping bags and an evening meal. From the summit of Hunt’s Mesa you will be treated to a spectacular view of Monument Valley. This must be one of the best Instagram spots in Monument Valley!
Another great Instagram spot in Utah can be found in Zion on Angel’s Landing!
Monument Valley Hike 3: Teardrop Arch Hike
Teardrop Arch is a great hike in Monument Valley for photography lovers.
The guided hike to Teardrop Arch takes around 2-2.5 hours. When you reach the natural arch, take plenty of photos of the wonderful view. The arch frames surrounding mesas and buttes wonderfully making for excellent photos. This is not a very popular hike in Monument Valley meaning you may have a hiking tour guide all to yourself!
Monument Valley Hike 4: Mystery Valley (Anasazis Trail)
Mystery Valley is a sacred place with buckets of history. The 6-hour hike in Mystery Valley takes you under sandstone arches, past ancient ruins and through labyrinth canyons. You can see remains of the Anasazis who lived there through painted walls and old dwellings. This is an amazing hike in Monument Valley, it is also very popular so make sure you book this hike in Monument Valley in advance.
If you like canyon hikes, check out this canyon hike in Utah! The Wire Pass day hike is a great hike to do whilst you are the American South-West. We did that canyon hike before visiting Monument Valley.
Bonus Hike: Mexican Hat Hike
Okay so Mexican Hat hike is not technically in Monument Valley. It is just 26 miles north-West of the Monument Valley visitor centre.
Mexican Hat rock is, as you may have already guessed, a rock in the shape of a Mexican Sombrero. What you may not know is that there is a trail to the rock! This is a great hike you can do without a tour guide. Mexican Rock is located 3 miles north of the village of Mexican Rock. A ‘scenic’ route goes from the village to the rock.
Backcountry Hikes in Monument Valley
There are several backcountry hikes to explore in the Navajo nation. Just makes sure you do your research and purchase a permit before embarking on one. Further information regarding backcountry hikes in Navajo nation can be found by clicking on the link.
Map of Hikes in Monument Valley
Here is a map of the various trails in Monument Valley to help you decide where to hike in Monument Valley.
Companies offering guided hikes in Monument Valley
Have you decided which hike in Monument Valley you want to go on? Now you know, unless it is the Wildcat Trail, it is time to find the perfect tour company. These are the tours listed on the Monument Valley official website who offer guided hikes in Monument Valley. I have heard very good things of Navajo Spirit tours and they seem to have great reviews on TripAdvisor. You should look at reviews on TripAdvisor before booking your guided trek in Monument Valley.
Hunt’s Mesa Hiking Tour Guides
Fancy hiking on Hunt’s Mesa? Here are five Hunt’s Mesa Hiking Tours to choose from:
- Monument Valley Safari Hunt’s Mesa Hiking Tour
- Navajo Spirit Tours Hunt’s Mesa Hiking Tour
- Majestic Monument Valley Hunt’s Mesa Hiking Tour
- Dineh Bekeyah Tours Hunt’s Mesa Hiking Tour
- Emonument Valley Hunt’s Mesa Hiking Tour
Teardrop Arch Hiking Tour Guides
Would you like to hike to Teardrop Arch in Monument Valley? Here are four Teardrop Arch Hiking Tours to choose from.
- Navajo Spirit Tour Teardrop Arch Hiking Tour
- Monument Valley Safari Teardrop Arch Hiking Tour
- Dineh Bekeyah Tours Teardrop Arch Hiking Tour
- Three Sisters Navajajo Guided Tours Teardrop Arch Hiking Tour
Mystery Valley Hiking Tour Guide
Would you like to hike in the Mystery Valley? Most tours take visitors around in vehicles but Emonument Valley offers a Mystery Valley Hiking tour.
Best time of year to hike in Monument Valley
The best time of year to hike in Monument Valley is spring or fall. It can get very hot in summer with temperatures over 30 degrees Celsius (85 degrees Fahrenheit). Given the dry heat this can make for uncomfortable hiking conditions.
In winter it can get very cold! Did you know it frequently snows in Monument Valley in winter?! When we were there in November there was a thin blanket of snow. As the plateau is very exposed it was very chilly and windy when we got out at the visitor centre. We wrapped up warm and walk the Wildcat trail but it was still fairly cold.
If you are visiting Monument Valley in summer, see if you can start your Monument Valley hike early or alternative later in the day. If you are visiting Monument Valley in winter make sure you wrap up on your hike in Monument Valley!
Best time of day to hike in Monument Valley
Depending on the Monument Valley hike you choose, you may not have a choice what time of day your hike will be taking place. If you are doing a self-guided hike such as the Wildcat Trail, hiking at sunset or sunrise is quite spectacular.
What should I bring on my Monument Valley Hike?
WATER! Bring lots of water with you! When you are hiking in deserts, always have plenty of water, don’t go in slot canyons if it looks like rain and don’t go alone. You can find more safety tips for hiking in deserts in our how not to die in Death Valley guide! Oh and also bring your camera as it is a pretty spectacular place to visit!
Things to do in Monument Valley
Aside from hiking there are plenty of other things to do in and around Monument Valley!
Upon arrival head into the Monument Valley Visitor centre. The Monument Valley visitor centre is open 7 days a week and houses an array of fascinating exhibitons, an interesting gift shop and a restaurant. There are also restrooms which are useful before starting your Monument Valley hike!
If you don’t fancy hiking in Monument Valley there is a scenic self-drive loop. This is a dirt road which takes you past beautiful mesas and buttes as well as to several epic viewpoints.
Any Forrest Gump fan cannot pass on the chance to visit Forrest Gump point! The Forrest Gump point lies just north of the visitor centre and offers epic views of the desert landforms. This is the point where Forrest Gump stops his running across America. Someone has even drapped some shoes over the sign. Surely this is a pilgrimage site for any runners!? Regardless of whether you like running or not, you will probably do plenty of running whilst getting a photo here. The photo point is in the centre of the road so you will inevitably have to run out of the way of passing cars!
Depending on how much time you have, you could visit Gooseneck State Park or go on one of the various San Juan river hikes (just make sure you have a permit first). There is also a wonderful place to stay, relax and enjoy the iconic landscape at Desert Rose Inn. This makes for a great rest day if you are visiting Monument Valley as part of a longer USA road trip.
Where to stay in Monument Valley
In terms of where to stay in Monument Valley, there are only two hotels within the actual park. These two hotels in Monument Valley are the View and Gouldings Lodge. Both hotels can fill up fairly quickly in high season though so book as far in advance as you can. Alternatively, you can find more (and cheaper accommodation) in the nearby towns of Kayenta, Mexican Hat and Bluff. There are also plenty of places to stay in Moab which is further north.
We choose to stay in Desert Rose Inn in Bluff as they have an amazing pool with wonderful views of the desert! What a great place to relax after hiking in Monument Valley!
Have you been inspired to hike in Monument Valley?
Have you been inspired to bring your hiking boots to Monument Valley? Which Monument Valley hike do you like the sound of? Have we missed any Monument Valley hikes? Let us know in the comments below!