Monument Valley is best known as the backdrop to many well-known Western films. It is a region of the Colorado Plateau defined by a cluster of huge sandstone buttes, the largest measuring 300 m (~984 ft) above the valley floor. The location is on the Arizona-Utah state line, within the Navajo Nation.
The area boasts a large amount of flora including yucca, juniper trees, Russian thistle (Tumbleweed) and Navajo Tea. Many of the plants are still used by the Navajos as dyes and for medicinal purposes.
Monument Valley charges a fee for access to the loop road through the valley. The road is open 6 AM - 8:30 PM in the summer (May - Sep) and 8 AM - 4:30 PM in the winter (Oct - Apr). Visitors who would like to hike in the valley or to go to sites not on the loop road must hire a Navajo guide for an extra fee.
Within the park, you can see evidence of its long history, with archaeological evidence indicating that the ancient Anasazi people lived in the valley until AD 1300. Over 100 ruins and sites, including rock art, have been found dating from the culture. The area was empty of human habitation after they left, until the arrival of the Navajos.
Most of Monument Valley’s most popular locations are found inside the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. At the border of the valley, there is a visitor center, a small shop and a restaurant specializing in both native Navajo and American cooking. Horse-riding is a convenient way to explore the park; hot air balloon flights are available May 1 through October 31; and small airplane flights can sometimes be arranged.
Dangers in the valley are few, but visitors should avoid reaching under rocks, bushes or ledges because of dangers from spiders, rattlesnakes, and scorpions.