Valley of the Gods and Monument Valley

After our overnight stay in Bluff, Utah we headed towards the Grand Canyon via some very spectacular valleys. About 20 minutes west of Bluff you will see the turn-off for the Valley of the Gods road or you can keep going and take the 261 and after about 30 minutes you will arrive at the Valley of the Gods Info Station. The road is a dirt track and the info station is just a notice board so don’t expect too much by way of amenities at this place, but on the plus side it is free to enter! Because we were in a hire car we didn’t do the full loop and turned around to come back out where we entered, but if you feel more confident in your vehicle you can do the full loop around.

After this Valley, you can head over to the Goosenecks State Park which is only about 12 minutes from the info station. Again, this is free to enter and this stop has a vault toilet (or a drop toilet as we would say in Australia). We realised that we were already starting to run late with our schedule for the day and skipped the Goosenecks and headed straight for Monument Valley which was 45 minutes away. This valley is accessed via a turn off onto Monument Valley road, and it will be hard to miss because for a few kilometers leading up to it everyone is pulling off the road to replicate the scene from Forrest Gump. Once you get to the turn-off you have to wait in traffic a little bit to pay the toll at the Navajo Tribal toll booth before heading on into the Visitors Centre. There is limited access down into the valley itself (it is recommended to book a tour), but the view from the visitor center is pretty stunning by itself. You can go out onto the balcony from the giftshop/cafe and get see this!

As you are leaving Monument Valley road if you continue past the highway you will cross over into the town of Goulding which is where John Wayne would stay when filming his movies. After taking in the views we continued to Little Colorado River Gorge which was 2 hours away. This part of the drive is mainly flat and red, but there are a few small towns and rest stops along the way. There are also some parking bays for you to pull over at some other outcrops such as the Elephant’s Feet.

The Little Colorado River Gorge is to the very east of the Grand Canyon and there are multiple lookouts to the north and south. We stopped to the south on Desert View drive. This lookout is not as impressive as what the Goosenecks looks like in photos so it’s a shame we didn’t have time to stop there, but the gorge was still very beautiful and got us excited for what was coming at the Grand Canyon. There are also some more drop toilets here if needed.

From here it was about another 25 minute drive until we got to our first lookout over the Grand Canyon itself at the desert watchtower, which I will write about in my post next Sunday.

Categories: Arizona, USA, Utah

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1 reply »

  1. thanks for sharing! This is a State we haven’t visited yet but it’s on our list. I love the landscape. Funny thing, in Canada, where I live, some people (including me) call Vault Toilets………..Porta Potties! Usually the ones we have are portable and a turquoise sort of colour. Funny how different countries call things by different names !


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