The Mittens and Merrill Butte, from the Visitors Center
After a long drive, we arrived at Monument Valley
in the early afternoon. Weâ€™d decided to camp there so we went straight to the Visitors Center to register for the Mitten View
Campground, which weâ€™d heard was very nice with a great view over (yep!) The
Mittens formations and is located next to the Visitors Center.
But nope, preparations were going on for the Red Bull Airshow, which would be
taking place in a couple of days, so the Mitten View campground was closed. So
there we went again, trusty guide in hand, in search of another campground.
Just outside of the park proper, we found the Gouldings complex, where we found
an excellent camping space (see review).
John Ford Point
And yes, there they were again, those Red Bull peopleâ€¦ Now I
can appreciate events like these putting a couple of dollars in the local
economy as much as the next person, but do these people really have to act as
if they are master and commander of every inch of space, lording it around with
such a show of possessiveness? Such arroganceâ€¦ grrrâ€¦ Anyway... ignoring flashy
Red Bull people and focusing on the marvelous landscape surrounding us, we
headed off into the park to explore, where we did the self-drive loop road
linking the best known features of the park. It was all so familiar from TV and
movies, yet exciting to see in real life!
Monument Valley is not a National Park, but a Tribal Park,
run by the Navajo People.
Joint Ford Point with posing Navajo
Most formations have spiritual meaning for the
The self-drive loop road is 17 miles and starts at the Visitor Center, winding trough the valley and giving
different perspectives of the formations. Pullouts are marked at the most
scenic spots. You wonâ€™t miss them, at almost every one youâ€™ll see some stands
with Navajo ladies selling crafts and jewelry. And you wonâ€™t miss the many tour
jeeps from the Gouldings Lodge, either. Some of the most impressive stops are
at Merricks Butte and The Mittens, at John Ford Point and at the Totem Pole and
Yei bi Chei formations. At John Ford Point youâ€™ll almost certainly see a man on
a horse striking a pose in the distance. It is expected that you make a small
contribution for taking his picture but we couldnâ€™t find a box or anything so
we just snapped away (looking around a bit guiltily..).
After a couple of hours drive, we arrived back â€˜homeâ€™ at
Gouldings Campground with our car almost unrecognizable by the fine red dust
We would have wanted to do some hiking in the park to see it
more up close, but it was getting late, maybe some other time...