Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park

Monument Valley Tribal Park is located within the larger area of Monument Valley (Tsé Biiʼ Ndzisgaii in Navajo). From the visitor center, you see the world-famous panorama of the Mittens and Merrick Butte. Monument Valley has been the setting for many movies, especially the westerns of director John Ford. His favorite actor was of course John Wayne. There is an admission fee to drive the 17 mile dirt road through the Park. Better yet, you can take one of the Navajo guided tours for a narrated cruise through parts of the Park not accessible from the road.

I've been to Monument Valley three times, in 1995, 2007, and 2021. It was overcast and rainy in 1995. I took the tour of the park in 2007 - it was great. The park was closed in 2021 (COVID), so I spent a lot of time at Goulding's Lodge taking lots of pictures. I still haven't got a really good picture ot the iconic threesome (the Mittens and Merrick Butte), so I guess I'll have to go back again.

(l to r) Stagecoach, King on his Throne, Brigham's Tomb - View from U.S. 163

Entrance Sign

Shaggy Goats

The Mittens (1995)

The Mittens (2007)

(l to r) West Mitten, East Mitten,
and Merrick Butte (1995)

(1 to r) West Mitten, East Mitten,
and Merrick Butte (2007)

Sentinel Mesa

"Three Sisters" formation

Sentinel Mesa (l), West Mitten (center), Merrick Butte (r)

John Ford's Point

Blacks Horseback Trail Rides

Susie Yazzie braiding hair
Susie passed away in 2013

Sheep Jester

Monumental Sheep

Totem Pole and
Yei Be Chei formations

Ear of the Wind Arch

Bighorn Sheep Petroglyphs at the Sun's Eye

Monument Valley

"The Thumb" formation

The North Window

Gnarly Juniper

(l to r) Brigham's Tomb, King on His Throne, Stagecoach, and Bear and Rabbit (I think)

Closed 2021

Rez Mustangs

Tops of West and East Mitten, Rez Horses

Mitchell Mesa (l) Gray Whiskers Butte (r)

Mitchell Butte

Goulding's Lodge - RV Resort and Campground

Harry and Leone Goulding purchased some land in Monument Valley and started a trading post in 1924. The original trading post was set up in a tent, and after several years Harry built a permanent building for the trading post (now the Goulding’s Trading Post Museum). The great depression hit the Navajo Reservation hard and Goulding thought if he could intice movie producers to film in Monument Valley it would provide a much needed source of income for the Navajos. He went to Hollywood and convinced John Ford to come to Monument Valley. Ford filmed "Stagecoach" staring John Wayne, the first of several movies he filmed there. Since then, Goulding's has continued to host movie crews and tourists from around the world. The La Font family bought the lodge in 1981 and continues to operate it to this day. Over the years, a restaurant, convenience store, RV park, and other ammenities have been added to the lodge.

Goulding's is really the only game in town if you want to spend more than a day in Monument Valley. Stephanie and I stayed in the Lodge on our trip in 2007, and camped in the RV resort in 2021. Both times we ate at the Stagecoach Restaurant - delicious food. Last time there I had a Rez Bah sandwich. I'll say only that the sandwich was tasty and involved fry bread.

Goulding's Lodge

Goulding's Lodge

Shopping area at Goulding's Lodge
Grocery Store, Gas, and Laundromat

Goulding's Trading Post Museum

Goulding Memorial

Birdcage Theater

John Wayne's Cabin

John Wayne's Cabin

"She Wore a Yellow Ribbon"

International Toilette

Stage Coach




Corral - Eagle Mesa in background

Our Scamp in Campsite 44

Goulding's Arch

Bonus - Monument Valley High School Homecoming

I happened to be staying at Gouldings Lodge in 2007 the same weekend that Monument Valley High School was having its homecoming parade. The high school's mascot is the cougar and the school colors are purple and gold if you can't tell from the photos below.

Homecoming 2007

Homecoming 2007

Homecoming 2007

Homecoming 2007

Homecoming 2007

Homecoming 2007

Background Sources: Wikipedia,
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