Camp at The View Campground in Monument Valley

The View Campground

It's easy to see why Monument Valley has left countless visitors spellbound. (Now, we can add ourselves to the list.) Aside from its fame as a western movie set, the area's fragile pinnacles and windblown sand are infused with a kind of magic that can't be felt anywhere else.

Other than the spectacular landscape, the park really doesn't possess any of the attributes one would associate with the "wild west." Rather, an introduction to the Navajo culture is what awaits visitors. Located on the Navajo Reservation, a vast parcel of land spanning portions of Western New Mexico, Northern Arizona and Southern Utah, Monument Valley is a closely guarded park that attempts to regulate its visitors very carefully. All of the park's attractions hold a spiritual significance for the Navajo and as such, visitors may not venture off the main park road to view those sites up close without a Navajo escort. (We tried and got into a bit of trouble with a Navajo guide....)

The best part of our experience was being able to stay at the park's wilderness camp sites at The View Campground, which was $21 per night for the two of us, and overlooked the West and East Mitten Buttes. (So much so, that we ended up booking a third night at the campground.) Each morning, woken by the first rays of sun (and our alarm clock), Matt and I unzipped our sleeping bags and rolled out of our tent with the whole of Monument Valley spread out before us.

Key Notes:
  • Though the entrance fee is on the pricier side, keep the receipt you receive at the entrance kiosk if you are planning to stay overnight/ visit multiple days in a row. The receipt allowed us to arrive at 5pm in the evening and was valid the entire next day without paying an additional $20 fee.
  • Other than the 3.2-mile roundtrip Wildcat Hike, there are no hikes for visitors of the park unless accompanied by a Navajo escort. And they're easy to spot. In the parking lot of the Visitor Center, there are several booths, each promoting a separate tour (i.e. horseback ride, scenic drives, etc.) Simply go up to a driver or employee and secure your slot. Tours can also be booked through the Visitor Center.
  • Driving through the park doesn't require a 4x4 vehicle (we did fine in our little Nissan Altima), but we do recommend having a durable vehicle that can withstand unpaved, rutted dirt-and-gravel roads if choosing to venture out by yourself. The beginning of the drive is the worst - the incline is steep and there are some major rocks jutting up from the roadway - but the rest is pretty smooth sailing if you take it at a reasonable pace.

Pack List

  • Tent
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad
  • Camp cookware
  • Hiking boots if you choose the Wildcat hike or a guided hike
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RT Distance 3.2 Miles
Elevation Gain 0 Feet
Activities Chillin, Camping, Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Trail Type Loop
Features
Bathrooms
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Food Nearby
Groups
Picnic Area
Romantic
Scenic
Wildlife

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Spectacular Sunrise

Yes, the sites are crammed together. But honestly it doesn't even matter. Everyone there seemed to have the same mindset and were all respectful. Camp site 22 is right on the edge, so it feels like you are on your own. Check in is at 4pm and check out is 11am. It rained really hard and the wind was brutal when we setup, but it calmed overnight and we woke to one of the most spectacular sunrises. And they aren't kidding about the sand, it is super fine and gets into everything. I could even hear it between my teeth! Make sure to drive the monument loop before you leave, it is mesmerizing!

Great View But No Dogs

There's no question the view is epic, but we were disappointed to discover the no pet policy. We're living out of our Sprinter van for the summer and were looking forward to staying here. We arrived just before sunset on a Sunday and fortunately for us the ticket booth was closed, saving us what would have been a wasted entrance fee. The dry camping for RV's was adequate but we were hoping for something a little more than a gravel parking lot with a great view. When we were told that our pets had to stay inside the Sprinter except to pee, that turned out to be the deal breaker, especially on a hot July evening.

Solid spot

Tent sites are crammed together but it's an epic view for sure.


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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