Where The Freeways Don’t Go – Monument Valley

I broke my leg earlier this week, being clumsy. I was walking on the pathway to our side yard where the garbage cans are. On the way to take out the garbage I looked over at our neighbors insane Halloween yard decorations; my left foot slipped off the walkway and on the way down my right leg went the other way breaking either my right tibia or fibula – the urgent care doc said it was the tibia, the orthopedist e-mailed me saying it was the fibula. I have a boot now and will see the orthopedist next week.

(Psst. Don’t tell anyone how I really did it; I’m telling everyone I broke it while rescuing a kitten from a coyote. The real story will be our little secret.)

Between that and being immersed in Moby Dick I’m a little tardy in getting you up to date on our mid September trip to the Southwest. Here we go…

September 15, 2015

We woke up on Tuesday morning on our way north. Before taking off properly we headed out to see Spider’s Rock at Canyon De Chelly which we didn’t see on the canyon tour the day before. Our destination for the night was Moab but we stopped to drive through Monument Valley since it was on our way.

Canyon De Chelly to Moab, UT via Monument Valley

Canyon De Chelly to Moab, UT via Monument Valley

Like Canyon De Chelly and other beautiful spots in the Southwest, Monument Valley is on Navajo land. I guess the beautiful views didn’t have monetary value back in the day or the Navajo would have been moved off the reservation like other Native Americans across the country.

If you’ve watched many John Ford westerns (usually with John Wayne as the star) you’ve seen Monument Valley. In fact there is a viewing area called John Ford Point.

We took a quick tour of the visitor center which is up on a bluff but wanted to get out and see the valley from the road.

Overview of the loop drive in Monument Valley

Overview of the loop drive in Monument Valley

There is an extremely rough dirt and rock loop road that is closed to RVs and motorcycles and not recommended for cars. There are a few jeep tour companies that load folks up on open air grandstand type seats. It was a windy day and the folks in those jeeps didn’t look comfortable at all. Luckily our Subaru Outback was more than up for the task. As an added bonus, the jeep tours only go to John Ford Point whereas we could take the entire 15 mile loop. We encountered a few sedans out there and wondered if they’d be able to complete the loop. The initial drop off from the visitor center bluff to the valley below was the worst part of the drive.

Loop tour in Monument Valley

Loop tour in Monument Valley

Again, like the Canyon De Chelly satellite view, those areas that look like depressions are actually bluffs.

Without too many words I’ll have the pictures do the talking. If you click on the images (please, oh please click on the images) you’ll get bigger versions that better represent the valley.

Monument Valley

Monument Valley

Monument Valley

Monument Valley

Monument Valley

Monument Valley

If you go

I recommend bypassing the jeep tours and renting an all wheel drive vehicle with high clearance. This advice will stand you in good stead throughout the Southwest. You’ll be able to go where you want (pretty much) when you want.

About howardwthompson

I'm a person who likes to travel, read, cook, and eat
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One Response to Where The Freeways Don’t Go – Monument Valley

  1. Pingback: Where The Freeways Don’t Go – Arches National Park and CanyonLands | 2for66

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