Between Wednesday the 28th and Thursday the 29th of July, 2021, I visited Monument Valley in Arizona. Some of Monument Valley is viewable without paying any money or going on a tour but to see the landscape in more depth, you can take a tour in vehicle or on a horse.
On Thursday the 29th, I went on a tour on the Navajo lands to see Monument Valley in more detail. The tour I selected was 2.5 hours and started at The View Hotel. To access the hotel, which was on Navajo land, requried paying $20. The backcountry tour itself was $75. It is important to pay attention to the timezone and time of year when going on the tour. The Navajo Nation follows their own timezone, which is currently Mountain Time, so even though you are in Arizona, you are following Utah time.
The tour consisted of a Navajo driver who made several stops and discussed the history of the area and recent changes. The area has become drier of the last few decades and this has lead to the loss of some animals like deer, who once roamed the area. There are several Navajo still living natively in this area.
Monument Valley has been featured in many moview such as Forest Gump, it is also famous for John Wayne movies. In old European advertisements for Marlboro cigarettes, the Marlboro man in Marlboro country is actually in Monument Valley. Movies are still recorded in this area due to the rugged western look it has.
This area had only been opened for two weeks prior to my visit due to COVID-19 closures. It was still necessary to wear a mask at all times. Therefore, it is important to access the situation and see if it is open prior to visiting.
The night before the tour, I stayed Rent A Tent Monument Valley. Although this location appeared to be closed, I was able to negotiate setting up my own tent to stay in the camping area for $20. I was also able to buy firewood for $10. All had to be paid in cash. There was a shower I could access and dogs roamed the area to keep coyotes and bobcats away at night.
Overall, the tour was a good way to learn about the area, the Navajo people and see the many different rock formations. The backcountry tour offered access to much more land than is accessible without paying.
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