Monument Valley, AZ-UT

The thing to remember before attempting to see Monument Valley is its' location. Monument Valley is located in the upper part of Arizona and the lower part of Utah. (About 400 miles away from Las Vegas.) Although this may seem like a little far to be considered for the Guide, after having been there myself, I thought I'd be doing a disservice if I didn't cover this Las Vegas tourist potential destination.

Ok, first off let's talk about the accomodations. To properly discuss this topic, it is imperative that one realize that Monument Valley it extremely remote, located 45 miles into the Navajo Indian Nation. Although every effort seems to have been made to accomodate the visitor, things can be a bit uncomfortable. In the summer things can get a bit on the hot side, with temperatures reaching the upper 120's, and in the winter it can get as low as 20 degrees!

Of the three major lodges in the area, Goulding's Lodge is the most convenient with decent sized suites, gas, grocery, pool and tours. Located about 25 miles away in Kayenta, AZ is the Witherill Motel. Although not as nice as Goulding's, the Witherill is a decent choice for the bargain oriented. Also located in Kayenta is the Monument Valley Holiday Inn for the discriminating traveler. Expect to pay around $120 a night for Goulding's, $95 a night for the Witherill Motel, and around $150-$200 for the Holiday Inn.

Located along the entrance to the Visitor's Center (off of state route 163) are several establishments offering horseback tours. Most take credit cards, but by far the best is Bigman's, which offers horseback rides as short as one hour and as long as overnight. Although Bigman's doesn't take credit cards or travelers checks, they do have a nice sized butte behind them that one can ride around on even the shortest ride! Expect to pay $25 to $30 for about an hour and a half ride.

All of the businesses located in Monument Valley are Navajo owned and operated. There is an abundance of local color and history, and all 3 of the hotels have excellent gift shops featuring authentic Navajo souveniers. All in all Monument Valley is a great, if not somewhat expensive, getaway for the Las Vegas tourist or resident. Just don't expect the amenities of the big city to be found out in the desert, and if you are a beer or wine drinker, be sure to buy your spirits on the way in as there is no sale or purchase of alcohol anywhere on the Navajo Reservation.