And that’s how many young people were introduced to this site. Some over 40 (like me) identify these images with the backdrop of Marlboro’s cigarette print ad campaign. Then there are those over 50 or 60 who recall it from classic John Wayne films. Either way, t’s still jaw-dropping.
We spent two nights there, when I could have easily stayed for a week. Watching the sunrise and the sunset from our hotel, The View, was certainly one of the highlights of our six-day trip to Utah. The hotel, the only one inside the park, is a respectable place with a very accommodating staff. The rooms are adequate, but have large bathrooms and blessedly consistent hot water. The lobby has big comfortable couches and tables that seat eight. Satellite TV and Wi-Fi were abundant. There’s a large gift shop and full-service restaurant on the premises. But you’re not here for the rooms or the common areas. You’re paying for the location and the view, but it’s worth every penny.
Imagine waking up to a sunrise overlooking these monuments while you you sip coffee from your balcony. It is one of those hotels that you simply hate to leave. The restaurant offers a dependable assortment of dishes and is reasonably priced (I mean, an all-you-can-eat breakfast for ten bucks? How can ypu beat that?) For lunch and dinner. the restaurant even offers traditional Navajo dishes. I highly recommend having a dinner around sunset or just before, to avoid crowds. The eatery closes at 9:00, and the next nearest restaurant is some eight miles away, so plan ahead.
Just a stone’s throw from the hotel lobby is the entrance to the 17-mile valley road where you can see all the “monuments.” The panoramic views of nature are amazing and breathtaking, and that’s no exaggeration. Despite a recent snowfall the night before, the road was In good condition, and unless there is a rainstorm, there’s no need to rent an AWD to drive around the park, but it definitely helps. We drove a Sonata and did just fine. The entire tour took us five hours to complete, and we could have stayed longer, but we wanted to catch sunset from the hotel restaurant.
Just outside of the national park is a route to Mexican Hat, a stone formation that resembles a sombrero. To be honest, the destination wasn’t worth the drive, but the drive itself was sublime. There, you can stop by the famous Forest Gump spot where they shot Tom Hanks’ scenes. Monument Valley is beyond words. It’s an amazing geological and spiritual visit. I suggest you stay at least two nights. I am definitely coming back soon. I cant get enough of this place.
From the travels of photographer Edwin Santiago
Last modified: June 15, 2017