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How To Make The Most of Monument Valley in One Day

Monument Valley is an iconic destination that has graced the silver screen for generations. With its towering buttes and mesas, stunning rock formations, and rich Navajo culture, it’s a must-visit for any traveler.

If you find yourself with just one day to experience this desert wonderland, don’t worry – we’ve got your ultimate itinerary.

Wake Up to a Scene From a Movie at Goulding’s Lodge

Begin your adventure by booking a room at Goulding’s Lodge, the perfect basecamp for your Monument Valley journey. Wake up to breathtaking views that have served as a backdrop for countless Western films. Enjoy a hearty breakfast at the iconic Stagecoach Restaurant, where you can fuel up for a day of exploration.

Take a Guided Tour From Goulding’s Lodge

To maximize your experience in Monument Valley, consider taking a guided tour from Goulding’s Lodge. These tours, led by knowledgeable Navajo guides, offer an intimate and authentic insight into the valley’s history, culture, and famous landmarks.

During the tours, you’ll get access to trails and paths not open to the public while getting insights about the Valley. Choose from one of the many tour packages that will allow you to stop and take in the breathtaking sights. Don’t forget your camera!

Explore the Sights

There are a few things you don’t want to miss during your day at Monument Valley. Here are a few of the highlights you can hit:

  • Wildcat Trail: This 3.2-mile loop is the only self-guided trail within the valley. It offers stunning panoramic views of the Mittens and Merrick Butte. Be sure to bring plenty of water and wear sturdy hiking shoes.
  • Valley Drive: This 17-mile dirt road winds through the heart of the desert landscape. Known for its breathtaking scenery, the drive takes you up close to some of the famous and stunning rock formations.
  • Forrest Gump Point: This famous vantage point gained popularity after being featured in the iconic 1994 film “Forrest Gump.” This viewpoint offers a stunning panoramic vista of the valley and is a must-see for nature lovers and film enthusiasts.

Savor Traditional Cuisine

For a great meal, head to The Stagecoach Restaurant. While you take in the panoramic views of the surrounding cliffs, enjoy an extensive mix of Southwest cuisine and native Navajo dishes.  The famous Navajo tacos made with fresh, homemade fry bread are a crowd favorite!

Experience Monument Valley From Above

In collaboration with Goulding’s Lodge, Westwind Air, and Redtail Air, an exceptional opportunity awaits you to experience this beautiful landscape from a lofty perspective.

As you fly over the valley, look for the iconic formations of Elephant Butte, Rain God Mesa, and the famous John Ford’s Point. These birds-eye perspectives offer a unique way to appreciate the natural wonders that make Monument Valley a dream.

Sunset at Monument Valley

End your day with the most unforgettable experience – watching the sunset over Monument Valley. The warm, golden hues illuminate the rock formations, creating a scene that inspired countless artists and filmmakers. Find a quiet spot, set up your camera, and watch the landscape transform in the magical evening light.

Your Monument Valley Adventure

While one day is undoubtedly a whirlwind of tour of Monument Valley, this itinerary allows you to capture the essence of this remarkable destination; from Goulding’s Lodge’s movie-like mornings to guided tours, hikes, and even airplane tours, you’ll have the chance to experience the very best of this iconic Southwest treasure. 

The awe-inspiring beauty of Monument Valley, combined with the rich tapestry of Navajo culture, promises to leave a lasting impression and an insatiable desire for more.