The Valley Of The Gods is a scenic area in Bears Ears National Monument that offers some of the most majestic views to be found in the entire west. This towering red rock pillar area is a continuation of the Monument Valley landscape, which is located right next door. The Valley Of The Gods is also similar to the Canyonlands Needles District landscape, which is also nearby. This dramatic red rock terrain is what most people envision when thinking about the wild west, so it is simply a must to experience in person!
A previous article features views of the Valley Of The Gods from Highway 163. As mentioned, the views from the paved highway are limited and the most picturesque areas are way in the distance, which is all that the majority of tourists will see. This is because in order to get a closer look, a high ground clearance vehicle will be needed to traverse the long rough dirt road that goes through this famous valley. A 4x4 is an even better choice, because these vehicles can smooth the washboard ripples to a tolerable level. There can be endless miles of these brain rattling speed bumps on the Valley Of The Gods Scenic Backway, so if your kidneys are in sad shape, this rough dirt road may not be for you.
Several vehicles and local guided 4x4 tours traverse the Valley Of The Gods Scenic Backway each day, so there are no worries about being completely stranded way out in the middle of nowhere. However, it can be a long wait for rescue, so it is best to be prepared for this expedition. A spare tire, flat kit, survival rations and plenty of water should be on the preliminary check list. Topping off the fuel tank will be necessary too, because the fueling stations are few and far between in this region. The total length of this dirt road tour is only about 17 miles, but it is a very slow going journey with plenty of stops for taking in the views, so expect to use twice as much fuel as usual.
The easiest starting point is found next to the Moki Dugway on State Road 261. The signage for the Valley Of The Gods Scenic Backway is easy to spot and it pays to take a look at the BLM rules while there. Shortly after passing a local B&B resort, there will be nothing but wide open spaces and panoramic views all the way to Highway 163 near Mexican Hat. The Valley Of The Gods Scenic Backway is very easy to navigate without a map, because it is the only main road in this wilderness area and getting lost is not a worry!
The Scenic Backway meanders deep into the red rock pillars in this picturesque valley. The towering pillars are surrounded by eroded red rock mesa bluffs, so the views truly are what a landscape artist dreams of. Some of the rock formations have a god like animated appearance and the dead silence of the high desert adds to the ominous effect. When stopping to take in the peaceful scenery, it does not take long to realize that this majestic place truly deserves such a reverent name.
The Valley Of The Gods Scenic Backway most definitely is one of the best dirt road touring options in the entire west! As long as the right kind of vehicle is chosen for the bumpy dirt road, this desert wilderness expedition should go off without a hitch. It is best to bring a good camera with a high capacity memory card for this trip, because the photo opportunities are endless. The Valley Of The Gods is what classic western dreams are made of, so be sure to chalk this dirt road up high on the list!
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