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    Valley of the Gods, Monument Valley's little sister

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    Joel Fulleda

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    Did you know that there is a little sister of Monument Valley called Valley of the Gods? You will say: "okay, if it exists, who knows in what remote corner of America this phantom Valley of the Gods will be found"! What if I told you that it is no more than half an hour's drive from Monument Valley? Beyond that, if I add that visiting it is completely free and that the excursion is free of the limitations imposed by the Navajo Indians who run the Monument? I know, I know, the description gets intriguing, especially when you take into account that the perks of a visit to Valley of Gods listed so far they are not the only ones.

    In this article we want to tell you all about Valley of  the Gods, an authentic hidden gem of Utah: how to reach it, what to see, what kind of limitations the visit imposes and with what other points of interest it is possible to combine the tour by car.


    • How to travel to Valley of the Gods
    • How to visit Valley of the Gods
      • Le tappe dell’on the road
    • How to continue the tour?
      • Moki Dugway e Muley Point Overlook: only the brave…
    • Where to sleep in Valley of the Gods?
    • video tour

    How to travel to Valley of the Gods

    visit the Valley of the Gods it is necessary to reach the spectacular Valley of the Gods Road, a dirt road in good condition which preferably requires a 4 × 4, but which can also be traveled with vehicles of a lower category if the terrain is in good condition. Here are the directions to get there:

    • most likely, you will decide to reach the Valley of the Gods during one of the classic West Coast tours, after the Monument Valley stop. The go-to place for anyone coming from Page or the Grand Canyon is Kayenta, southwest of the Valley of the Gods: from here, take US-163 and travel for 81 km, leaving the turnoff to Monument Valley behind. The junction for the Valley of the Gods is here, 12km past the tiny town of Mexican hat, famous for hosting a sombrero-shaped rock nearby.
    • if you are coming from the north-east, perhaps having completed a tour of the Utah parks in the Moab area, you will find the Valley of Gods 27 km after the town of Bluff: walk a short distance on US-191, at the first fork continue straight on the usual US-163 (you will know you are on the right track if you see the signs for Mexican Hat). At 19 km from the crossroads, take the dirt road on the right I mentioned above. This is where your on the road adventure begins in the heart of the Valley of the Gods.

    How to visit Valley of the Gods

    La Valley of the Gods Road it is a 27 km long dirt road that winds through the heart of a desert territory where rock formations similar to those - much better known - found in Monument Valley are clearly visible: bullion tables, pinnacles, monoliths and rocks shaped by the action of water and atmospheric events over the millennia, in a geological process that began 250 million years ago.

    Along this road it is possible to stop at various point of view, which offer very suggestive views. Also, unlike Monument Valley, you can forward on foot in the valley and get closer to the various rock formations - which are more or less far from the road - although the area is unsupervised and the paths are not marked. One of the most fascinating benefits of visiting Valley of the Gods is that the presence of tourists is minimal compared to the nearby Monument Valley, if not reduced to zero: here it is possible to get out of the car, sit on a rock and observe the panorama in the most absolute silence, interrupted only by some gust of wind: it is very difficult for other cars to pass.

    For those equipped for the campground, it is possible to pitch a tent in the territories of the Valley of the Gods and sleep under the stars: the deities of the Navajo Indians will take care of your safety. Be careful though: you'll have to be completely independent in any case, whether you sleep in the valley or not! Bring water and food, as there are no visitor centers or structures equipped to receive tourists along this route.

    Le tappe dell’on the road

    Valley of the Gods Viewpoint map

    Visiting the park is very simple, just take the main road (Valley of the Gods Road) to meet one after the other the following viewpoints, where you can stop to take some photos:

    • Seven Sailors Butte: the seven sailors of Valley of the Gods will welcome you to this surreal open-air natural museum;
    • Setting Hen Butte and Rooster Butte: you will see them soar, a little lumpy, after 4.8 km from the beginning of the road;
    • Franklin Butte: you will see it after another 3.2 km, on the left. It looks like a lookout who stands guard, defending the entire valley;
    • Battleship Rock: speaking of military matters, Battleship Rock really looks like a majestic red rock warship… You will always notice it on the left, one kilometer from Franklin Butte;
    • Castle Butte: after 3 km, you will meet Castle Butte, and the name speaks for itself… a crenellated manor in the middle of the desert!
    • Lady in the Baththub Butte: dulcis at the bottom, on the right side of the road you can see, in the distance, the rocky silhouette of a woman taking a bath in the tub.

    After the latter, for the last 8 km you will see a slightly more boring view, up to the connection with the UT-261.

    How to continue the tour?

    Valley of the Gods Road is not a ring road, therefore, when it is over, unless you want to follow it again, you will have to go back by another road: you will do it by turning left onto the UT-261 heading south. After a few miles you will return to US-163 S and you can head to Kayenta, Monument Valley or, even earlier, to Goosenecks State Park, another natural wonder of the area that should not be underestimated.

    Moki Dugway e Muley Point Overlook: only the brave…

    If, on the other hand, you have the time and you feel like it, you can integrate the Valley of the Gods tour by driving Moki Dugway, a wonderful scenic route that is known for being impressive, if not dangerous. Get an idea with this video. When you exit the Valley of the Gods Road, turn right: after a couple of km you will begin to climb the mesa with your car., via a fearsome steep, narrow and unprotected dirt road (if you come from the north you will clearly do it downhill, and perhaps even more impressive).

    These features of the journey make it very complex the transit of non-equipped cars, especially if the road conditions are compromised by rain or snow. However, who is equipped with a 4 × 4 or in any case of one tall car, can walk it to the top and even reach Muley Point Overlook, a viewpoint not far away, from which you can enjoy an exceptional panorama over the San Juan River, the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, up to Monument Valley and beyond, opening the view to the territories of Arizona and Colorado.

    Where to sleep in Valley of the Gods?

    If you plan to stay in the area, you can find accommodation in one of the locations that we have already reported in our article on where to sleep in Monument Valley. If, on the other hand, you are going to the parks of Utah to the north (Canyonlands, Arches, Capitol Reef…), you can find accommodation in Monticello o Moab, depending on how close you want to get.

    Accommodation tips in Moab

    List of accommodation in Monticello

    video tour


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