Plenty of scenic destinations can be found in the Navajo Nation east of the Grand Canyon National Park on U.S. Highway 160. Highway 160 offers hundreds of miles of beautiful panoramic western landscapes that await those who prefer to take the road less traveled. The trip from Tuba City to Kayenta on Highway 160 is a nice scenic drive, but there are few places to pull off the road to take the views in. This all changes in the town of Kayenta, because this is where the Monument Valley scenic drive begins and there are plenty of roadside overlooks along the way!
There are many roads around this world that are called scenic drives, but none can compare to picturesque views that can be experienced along the Kayenta Monument Valley Scenic Road! Monument Valley has always been a native spiritual place and during the last 100 years this majestic red rock pillar landscape has been the definitive symbol of the west. A scenic drive through Monument Valley is an astonishingly beautiful experience for those who admire majestic western landscapes!
Kayenta Monument Valley Scenic Road is also called U.S. Highway 163. This scenic drive starts in Kayenta and goes north to Oljato-Monument Valley near the Utah Border. Highway 163 then continues north to Bears Ears, so this is a major tourism corridor. United States borders are pretty much meaningless in this neck of the woods, because the Navajo Nation Sovereign Territory covers both sides of the Arizona-Utah border.
The views of the towering red rock pillar formations in Monument Valley from the two lane highway are nothing less than amazing! It does not matter what kind of weather conditions are present, because each meteorological event creates a dramatic effect that accents the beauty of this sacred place. Overcast days may inspire reflective tones of somber thoughts, while bright sunny cobalt blue skies present a spiritually uplifting effect. Viewing Monument Valley truly never provides the same experience twice. This is why so many people make a pilgrimage to this spiritual place, time and time again.
There are a few good places to pull off the road to take the scenery just north of the entrance to the Monument Valley Tribal Park. North of the Tribal Park entrance on Highway 163 is where plenty of roadside scenic overlooks can be found and this area is also where the views of Monument Valley are the best. Because so many tourists stop to take a look, it is best to drive well under the speed limit when passing through for safety's sake. This is especially true at the famous "Forest Gump" highway viewpoint, because people like to take selfies in the middle of the road at this spot.
The panoramic scenery is so majestic, it is easy to wish that this 30 mile stretch of Highway 163 that borders upon Monument Valley could go on forever. To be quite honest, the beauty of Monument Valley does seemingly stretch out forever because this red rock pillar landscape continues well north into the Valley Of The Gods, Bears Ears National Monument, Mexican Hat and the two neighboring National Parks. Ancient geological events shaped this region and erosion over eons of time has acted as the hands of the greatest landscape sculptor. This is a place where the Mother Earth Spirit truly provides guidance to all, in the form of inspiration derived from the beautifully sculpted red rock pillar terrain.
There are usually no waiting lines or hours spent looking for a parking place at Navajo Nation Tourism destinations and just the thought of this appeals to those that have been frustrated with dealing the overcrowded National Parks in this region. For those who wish to experience Monument Valley for a few days, local lodging can be found in Kayenta or at Goulding’s by Rock Door Mesa in Oljato. There are RV parks and campgrounds in the area too. The most sought after lodging option is The View Hotel, which is a modern Navajo resort that overlooks Monument Valley inside the Tribal Park. During the peak times of year, it is best to make reservations well ahead of time at The View Hotel, because this is such a popular resort that truly lives up to its name.
Views of Monument Valley truly can humble the boldest of the bold and inspire greatness in the downtrodden. This is a place where a landscape artist could spend a lifetime and still find more to interesting portraits to paint. All of the red rock pillars have traditional names and stories to tell, which is an interesting study in itself. This majestic region has always been a sacred place and all it takes is a little drive down the Kayenta Monument Valley Scenic Road to see why!
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