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Monument Valley is just one of those places everyone should see at least once. The landscape is breathtaking, and when you’re at Monument Valley, it feels like you are in a completely different world. Located within the Navajo Nation in Utah, Monument Valley is a sacred place to the Navajo, or Dine, their name for “the people.” Jeff, Kristin, and I are so grateful to experience a moment in this special place. Our visit is one that we will never forget.
It’s no wonder that so many great Westerns and other films were made here. The land, for the most part, looks the same as it has for centuries; it’s absolutely stunning. It’s also wonderful that the Navajo continue to welcome visitors to Monument Vally, and that there is a pretty unique place to stay with breathtaking views.
The View Hotel is the perfect place to stay for a night or two, maybe more. At this hotel, you’ll find standard hotel rooms, a campground, and cabins. We wanted to completely immerse ourselves in our Monument Valley experience. After careful consideration, we decided that the cabins would be the perfect place for us.
The View Hotel in Monument Valley
The View Hotel is right inside Monument Valley Tribal Park.
To get to The View Hotel, you’ll drive along the road to the hotel and stop along the way to pay the fee that allows you into the park. The hotel is the only hotel in the Monument Valley Tribal Park. You can’t miss it.
Be sure to hold on to the receipt for the fee and keep it with you every time you enter or exit the park. You will have to pay again if you can’t produce the receipt. We made the mistake of accidentally leaving the receipt in our cabin once, but we were able to produce everything else from check-in, so they kindly let that one slide. That is not normal procedure, though.
The View Hotel is worth checking out even if you’re not staying there. As you enter the park, the main hotel is towards the left. The cabins, campground, and entrance to the road through the park, Monument Valley Scenic Drive, are to the left. There is also one trail you can hike without a guide near the road entrance.
Another note–if you are staying in the cabins, you will still need to check in at the main hotel front desk. You will then be given instructions on how to proceed.
The lobby is beautiful. It’s also a nice place for viewing Monument Valley. The view here is similar to what the hotel rooms in the main hotel would have from their balconies.
The gift shop and trading post is also a great place to check out.
In the gift shop, you’ll find the usual tourist trinkets. In the trading post area, you’ll be able to see and purchase art created by native craftspeople.
There is a restaurant on site. In the mornings, this is where you can eat the free continental breakfast, even if you’re staying in a cabin. It is not a breakfast buffet; it’s more like motels used to serve before hot breakfasts became more of the norm. For dinner, the restaurant offers a dine-in menu.
One thing we discovered during our visit is that the restaurant only offered standard American Grill fare. This may have changed, but I was hoping to sample some local cuisine, so I was surprised by this.
At the time, the idea was that the restaurant didn’t want to compete with local businesses that did offer traditional Navajo dishes, so they offered the option for you to order take-out from a local business, Linda’s. They delivered all the orders for everyone once per evening, so you had to be proactive about placing your order in time.
We decided to try the take-out and eat in our cabin. We ordered a Navajo taco, pictured below.
And we ordered the carne asada tacos. It may not have been completely traditional Navajo cuisine, but it was made locally and the Navajo taco included fry bread. Delicious!
From what I understand, you can currently get Linda’s food from a stand along the Monument Valley Scenic Drive at John Ford Point. It would make a perfect lunch option since the hotel doesn’t currently offer lunch options.
Another option for dinner and other meals would be at the historic Goulding’s Lodge. The onsite restaurant looked promising, though we didn’t eat there. It’s also a good choice for lodging in the area, but you won’t have a view of the monuments. It’s worth checking out because the cast and crew of the film Stagecoach stayed there, launching the Western film industry in the area.
Let’s head back to The View Hotel…
At night, you can watch a John Wayne movie outside the main hotel. The Monument Valley area is also a great place for stargazing if you can get away from the lights. At our cabin, the stars were simply gorgeous as they sprinkled the sky over the monuments.
The Cabins at the View Hotel
The previous evening, our accommodations were at the Lodge at Bryce Canyon. This area was also stunning. You can read more about our stay here. We woke up early to get to Page, Arizona, in time for our Upper Antelope Canyon tour. We also visited Horseshoe Bend. By the time we made it to Monument Valley, it was late afternoon.
We checked in at the main hotel and explored a bit. Then we headed over to the cabins. The cabins are two rows long on two levels. We made our reservation months in advance, and we reserved a cabin on the front row. Any cabin experience would be worth it, I think. But there is something special about an unobstructed view of the monuments.
I included these shots so you can visualize how the cabins are staggered and what views you can expect. No matter which cabin you get, you’ll have a view of the monuments.
The cabins are a short distance from the main hotel. Here is a picture of them from the main hotel lot. The entrance to Monument Scenic Drive is nearby.
You can drive your own vehicle on this road while the park is open, even if you aren’t staying there. I highly recommend a tour, though. If you don’t have time to do a tour, it’s worth driving through if your car can take it; four-wheel drive is suggested. But if you take a tour, you’ll get so much more out of your experience because you’ll have a local Navajo guide who shares the stories and culture of the people who live there.
We did the Dreamcatchers Tour, and we loved it! We had an evening tour which included exclusive areas, dinner (including Navajo fry bread!), music, and dancing. To read more about our experience, click here.
And below is the view of The View Hotel from the cabins. The idea was for the hotel to blend in with the environment. I think they did well.
And here it is lit up in the evening.
If you come to Monument Valley, I highly recommend staying in a cabin at the View. It was perfect. We’ve stayed in cabins similar to these all over the country, mostly in KOA Kampgrounds, so the layout was nothing new for us.
In the main room, we had a queen bed.
We had table and chairs, a microwave, and a small fridge. There isn’t a stovetop, though. The main room has a large picture window so you can see the monuments from the inside of the cool cabin if it’s warm out. You can also pull the shade down. Like any true Navajo hogan, the door faces east over the valley. You’ll love watching the sun come up.
From the main room, you can access the bunkbed room.
You can also access the bathroom from the main room. The shower has a tub which is nice if you’re traveling with small children. The cabin is air-conditioned. This is great news because daytime in Monument Valley in June is HOT.
The best part about staying at The View Hotel is seeing the monuments at different times a day. The hotel views are great, but I think the cabins have the best view. There is nothing better than sitting on your porch and just…being. We woke up early that first morning to watch the sunrise. Here is one of the first pictures of that morning.
The view only improves as the sun rises.
We spent a lot of time watching the light change over the valley over the course of a day. Simply stunning.
Exploring Monument Valley and the Surrounding Area
Since we stayed two nights, we had some time for exploring the area. The Monument Valley Tribal Visitor Center is a great place for information, and it has some small exhibits, like to tribute to John Ford who directed many films in the area.
Nearby is the Navajo Market. One section has some shops that we enjoyed. You will also see stands along the highway where locals sell their wares. Another great place for shopping is at John Ford Point along Monument Valley Scenic Drive.
You also want to be sure you get a photo from Forrest Gump Point on Highway 163. You’ll probably see others doing the same. Just be aware of traffic. You don’t want to be in the road when a car is coming.
We also drove out to the Mexican Hat area. This would be another amazing place to stay a night. The San Juan River is right there, and the area looked fun. I’d love to explore it more in the future.
Monument Valley holds a special place in our hearts. I wouldn’t hesitate to return, and I’d encourage anyone to make the trek in the desert to see this amazing place. The landscape is mesmerizing, but learning the stories and culture of the Navajo was the best part of the trip. I stand by my claim: everyone should see Monument Valley at least once.
Click the link below for some great educational items!