Now you can explore the majestic Monument Valley in Northern Arizona on the seat of your bicycle! This amazingly scenic one-day bike ride will transport you across 17 miles of dirt roads, towering mesas, beautiful buttes and inspirational spires formed over the millennia out of sand and stone.
Watch the video on this page and follow along as Darren Alff (the Bicycle Touring Pro) rides his bicycle across Monument Valley in Northern Arizona. Then use the information below to start planning your own bike ride through scenic Monument Valley.
IMPORTANT UPDATE: It appears that you are no longer allowed to cycle through Monument Valley. Based on various reports from my Bicycle Touring Pro readers, officials in Monument Valley are no longer allowing individuals to explore the loop road by bike. 😞
Where is Monument Valley?
Monument Valley is located in Northern Arizona in the United States of America – near the border of Arizona and Utah. While Monument Valley can be seen from public highway 163, the best way to see Monument Valley up-close is to take a tour of the Park itself – and this requires paying a fee to enter the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park (which is owned and operated by the Navajo people, not the US government).
How do you get to Monument Valley?
If you’re coming from Arizona, travel north on highway 163 until you approach the border of Arizona and Utah. Just after crossing the border there will be a turn off with a large sign welcoming you to Monument Valley. Turn right and travel for 3.2 miles down Monument Valley Road to the toll booth, where you’ll be asked to pay a fee to enter the Park.
If you’re coming from Utah, you’ll want to travel south on highway 163 until just before you cross the border between Utah and Arizona. Before reaching the border you will begin to see Monument Valley off in the distance. You may recognize the road that Forrest Gump stood on as he quit his cross-country run across America as you get closer to the Park. Turn left of Monument Valley Road and then drive 3.2 miles down the road to the toll booth, where you’ll be asked to pay a fee to enter the Park. If you drive down highway 163 and find that you’ve crossed the border into Arizona, you’ve gone too far! Turn around and drive back to Monument Valley Road and make a right toward the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park.
How much is the Monument Valley entrance fee?
Monument Valley is a Navajo Tribal Park and is not associated in any way with the US National Park system. Therefore, National Park passes will not be accepted. For access to the loop road through Monument Valley, a fee of $20 USD per car is required. This includes up to 4 passengers, with each additional person being charged $10 USD extra.
Are bicycles allowed in Monument Valley?
Yes, bicycles are allowed on the main 17-mile loop road in Monument Valley, but riding a bike is not extremely common inside the park. Don’t be surprised if you are the only person on a bicycle.
Most people who visit Monument Valley explore the park in their car. An all-wheel drive or 4×4 vehicle is recommended, as the road is all dirt and can be extremely bumpy and/or sandy in some sections. RVs are not allowed past the Monument Valley parking lot.
If you don’t have a vehicle that is capable of driving the 17-mile loop around Monument Valley, then you may consider signing up for a Monument Valley jeep tour. This is one of the most popular ways to see the Park!
If you plan to ride a bicycle through Monument Valley, be sure you have a mountain bike. The fatter your tires, the better – as road are rough and extremely sandy in some sections. A road bike is not recommended for a bike tour through Monument Valley.
Also note that the winds in Monument Valley can be quite extreme. If you’re lucky to travel to Monument Valley on a clear day, you can bike across the Valley with no issues whatsoever. But if the wind is blowing there will be a lot of sand and dirt in the air, which will get into your eyes, ears, mouth and nose. Be sure to wear a good pair of sunglasses at the very least, pack a jacket in case of cold weather, and if the wind is blowing, consider touring the park in your car instead. The #1 reason most people don’t explore Monument Valley by bicycle is because of the harsh winds that can whip through the area. Be careful… and have fun!
How long is the Monument Valley bike tour?
If you chose to participate in a guided tour of Monument Valley, there are several different routes you can take through the Park. However, if you chose to travel through Monument Valley on a bicycle, there’s really only on main route to take: a 17-mile loop that takes you past the most iconic areas inside the Park.
Please note that you are not permitted to deviate from the loop drive without a native guide present and cycling off the main road is not permitted.
If you chose to drive the 17-mile loop, this can be done in as little as 30-40 minutes, but most people spend 1-2 hours completing the loop so they can stop, get out of their car and enjoy the scenery.
If you plan to ride your bicycle through Monument Valley, plan on spending at least 2-3 hours inside the Park. Like those that drive through the Park in a car, you’re going to want to stop along the way and enjoy the areas you are passing through.
What can you expect to see in Monument Valley?
Monument Valley is perhaps the most famous example of the classic American West landscape. Large mesas, towering buttes and sky-bound spires dominate the skyline inside the Park. These massive stone formations are the main attraction inside the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park.
Monument Valley also has wide a assortment of vegetation including, Juniper trees, yucca, Russian thistle (Tumbleweed) and Navajo Tea to name a few. Much of the vegetation is still used by the Navajos for medicinal purposes, and as dyes for their world famous hand-woven rugs (which are available for purchase in the nearby Monument Valley Navajo Market).
While cycling has yet to become mainstream inside the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, this scenic landscape on the border of Northern Arizona and Southern Utah is one of the best locations in the continental United States for a memorable 1-day bike ride. Watch out for the wind… and enjoy the views!
For more information on visiting Monument Valley, please see the official website at: www.navajonationparks.org