• Coconino National Forest

    Coconino National Forest

  • Grand Canyon

    Grand Canyon

  • Monument Valley

    Monument Valley

The iconic Wild West films of Hollywood has transformed Monument Valley into a real-life film set. As soon as you set off on your road trip, you’ll be wanting to whip out the spurs and Stetsons. Follow our driving guide below to see the best of Monument Valley and the surrounding area.

Where is Monument Valley?

Monument Valley is on the border of Arizona and Utah, about six hours from the centre of Arizona, and just under six hours from the centre of Utah.

Drive to Monument Valley from Arizona

Six hours from the beginning of Route 17

If you’re starting your road trip from Arizona, then head up Route 17 through the Coconino National Forest. This forest is one of the most inspiring in the USA, thanks to its wide range of landscapes. The kaleidoscope of colours is truly magical; the ruby coloured rocks of Sedona, the emerald pine trees, gold desert and pearl tundra really do make this a jewel in Arizona’s crown.

Stop: Flagstaff Arizona

Two hours from the beginning of Route 17

One of the best places to see the forest is in Flagstaff, in the north of Arizona. There are plenty of things to do in Flagstaff, star gazers will love the Lowell Observatory (where the planet Pluto was discovered) and outdoor lovers will find plenty of caves, mountains and lakes to keep them occupied. But you cannot possibly go to Flagstaff and not visit one of the most famous landmarks in the world: The Grand Canyon.

Stop: Grand Canyon National Park

One hour, 20-minutes from Flagstaff

An area that needs no introduction, the Grand Canyon is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Stretching for 277 river miles, its dusky red hue stands out against the backdrop of a bright blue sky.

If you haven’t visited the Grand Canyon before, there’s plenty of useful information that will help you decide which part of the canyon you want to see, and where to camp if you’re a true lover of the great outdoors. The South Rim of the park is open all year, and the North Rim is only open for some of the year, so make sure you plan your route in advance.

Drive to Monument Valley

Three hours from Grand Canyon National Park via Route 160

Now, for the star in our road trip: Monument Valley. The setting for many a Wild Western film, it is truly all-American in its history and landscape. The Navajo’s lived on the land for centuries, and about a quarter of a million of their descendants still live here. If you’re interested in Native American culture, this is a great place to visit.

The valley is famous for its buttes (a steep isolated hill with a flat top) and table top mountains, clustered around the vast, sprawling landscape. It was John Ford, the renowned Western director who used Monument Valley for some of his most famous films, including Stagecoach starring John Wayne.

There are many different ways to see Monument Valley, you might find you want to camp there for a few days just to fit it all in. As you’re visiting a real Western set, horse riding is a must. With a guide, you can explore this expansive land like a true cowboy. The desert-like landscape might make you crave water after a while, so head to the San Juan river for some wild river rafting. You can either go for a single day trip, or a multi-day adventure, and it can be tailored to exactly what you want to do.

Drive to Winslow on Route 66

Three and a half hours from Monument Valley

From one US institution to another, Route 66 is one of the most famous roads in the world. After spending time immersing yourself in the Monument Valley, drive back down to Arizona to Winslow on the historical road.

Stop: Standin’ on the Corner Park

In Winslow, make sure you visit the public park, dedicated to the line from ‘Take It Easy’, the song made famous by The Eagles. It goes:

‘Well, I’m a standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona it’s such a fine sight to see. It’s a girl, my Lord, in a flatbed Ford slowin’ down to take a look at me’.

But don’t worry, you don’t have to be in a flatbed Ford to visit the bronze statue of a man with a guitar, taking it easy in the park.

Drive Diamond Creek Road, Peach Springs Along the Bottom of the Grand Canyon

Two and a half hours from Winslow

As you’re so close to the Grand Canyon, it makes sense to experience it one last time. Only, this time, at its foot. Take the Diamond Creek Road along the bottom of the canyon, to the Colorado River. Along the journey, the canyon looms over you, showing how dominating it is.

Once you reach the Colorado River, you can camp down there and explore it on foot. There is a small sandy beach that you can hang out on, and a metal walkway along the side of the river, keeping you out of danger when hiking during high tide.

Ready to live your John Wayne dreams? Jump into an Alamo car, and set off on your Wild West adventure looping around Monument Valley!