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How to Visit the Valley of the Gods in Utah
If you are visiting the American southwest and are looking for scenic drive, consider Valley of the Gods. Located near Monument Valley, this area is filled with buttes and mesas and tall rock formations. It doesn’t quite pack the “wow” punch like Monument Valley, but the Valley of the Gods is still a worthwhile visit.
Entrance to the Valley of the Gods is free. This land is owned by the BLM, the Bureau of Land Management. A 17-mile loop courses through the Valley of the Gods, taking visitors past rock formations with names like the Seven Sailors Butte, Castle Butte, Sitting Hen Butte, and Lady in the Bathtub.
Valley of the Gods is visited by just a fraction of the people who tour Monument Valley. So it’s quiet, uncrowded, and a bit more “wild” feeling. You can drive the entire loop in about hour if you are quick or go slower, enjoy the many scenic views as the terrain changes. Camping overnight in the Valley of the Gods is also an option.
Is Valley of the Gods Worth It?
We visited Valley of the Gods as a quick excursion from Monument Valley. With a name like Valley of the Gods, it sounded pretty spectacular. Is it as awesome as it sounds?
We enjoyed our drive through the Valley of the Gods. The scenery was beautiful and we liked feeling like we were out on our own, but it can be a small letdown after amazing Monument Valley. Monument Valley is the big winner when it comes to jaw-dropping vistas and iconic American landscapes.
However, if you like leaving tour groups behind and want a quiet experience, put Valley of the Gods on your list as a place to visit. Just a handful of people seem to make it here, providing a much different experience than the constant stream of cars touring Monument Valley.
The Valley of the Gods is located in Utah, just north of Mexican Hat. From Monument Valley, it is 32 miles away, about a half hour of driving.
From Monument Valley, drive north on US-163. The entrance into the park is just a few miles north of Mexican Hat.
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There are two entrances into the Valley of the Gods. The east entrance is on US-163. The west entrance is on US-261. A dirt connects these two entrances. You can drive through the Valley of the Gods in either direction. We chose to start at the east entrance from US-163.
The 17 mile road through the Valley of the Gods is a graded gravel and dirt road. You can do this drive in a car. A 4×4 is not necessary.
During wet conditions, this road may be impassable, even if you have a 4×4.
We did have an SUV with 4×4, which was necessary for other roads we would drive during our road trip through Utah and Arizona.
What to See Along the Way
Many of the buttes and mesas are named. If you want a full driving guide, check out this post which gives a map and driving directions through the park.
The best part of the drive is around Castle Butte, when you are closer the mesa walls and the rock formations tower above you. In general, the desert scenery is stunning. On a clear day you can see Monument Valley on the horizon.
Other Attractions Near Valley of the Gods
Goosenecks State Park. Goosenecks State Park has an overlook with not one, but two “Horseshoe Bends” side by side. It’s just a 5 to 10 minute drive from Valley of the Gods.
Mexican Hat. This rock formation is named for its Mexican Sombrero-like appearance. You can see it from US-163 on the drive to the Valley of the Gods. If you want, you can hike up onto the formation. If you have rock climbing equipment, it is possible to climb to the top of Mexican Hat.
Forrest Gump Point. Located on US-163, the famous view of Monument Valley featured in the movie Forrest Gump is not to be missed. GPS coordinates: 37.101393, -109.990973.
Monument Valley. Of course, there’s the stunning and very popular Monument Valley just down the road.
More Information for your Trip:
- Southwest Itinerary:10 Days in the American Southwest: the Ultimate Road Trip
- Arizona Itinerary:The Ultimate Arizona Road Trip
- Monument Valley:Is Teardrop in Monument Valley Worth It?
- Antelope Canyon:Should You Visit Upper or Lower Antelope Canyon?
- Utah’s National Parks:Utah’s Mighty 5: Travel Guide and Road Trip Itinerary
- Willis Creek:Hiking Willis Creek in Grand Staircase-Escalante
Planning a trip through the United States? Read all of our articles in our United States Destination Guide.
You Might Also Like:
- California:One Day Itinerary for Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks
- Nevada:15 Things to do in Las Vegas with Teenagers
- Arizona:16 Amazing South Rim Viewpoints in the Grand Canyon
- Utah:Capitol Reef National Park: Best Things to do with Limited Time
All rights reserved © Earth Trekkers. Republishing this article and/or any of its contents (text, photography, links, etc.), in whole or in part, is strictly prohibited.
Valley Of The Gods
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Valley of the Gods
Valley of the Gods is een kleinere versie van Monument Valley. Net als in Monument Valley zie je er rode- en oranjegekleurde zandsteenformaties, buttes, mesa’s, torenspitsen en eindeloze, open ruimtes in een uitgestrekt woestijnlandschap. Als je vanuit Moab of Bluff richting Monument Valley rijdt, kom je hier langs.
Scenic Drive door Valley of the Gods
Een aantal kilometer voor het plaatsje Mexican Hat ligt het begin van de scenic drive die door Valley of the Gods gaat. Deze weg is 17 mijl (27 km) lang en onverhard. De toegang is gratis en er zijn geen faciliteiten. De gravel road is niet egaal en kan ook behoorlijk bumpy zijn, maar daardoor wel erg avontuurlijk. Je kunt de route echter wel gewoon met een gewone personenauto rijden (al is het in een SUV wel comfortabeler).
Je moet geen pech krijgen onderweg, want er zijn geen enkele voorzieningen zoals een tankstation of een plek waar je water kunt halen. Dus zorg ervoor dat je in ieder geval nog genoeg benzine in de tank hebt en voldoende drinken bij je hebt, want je bent immers in de woestijn.
Verborgen juweeltje in Utah
Hoewel het vlakbij Monument Valley ligt, is het lange tijd een verborgen juweel geweest in Utah. Grote voordeel is dat het er totaal niet druk is en het is net alsof je even weg bent van de bewoonde wereld. Valley of the Gods bevind zich in het land van de Navajo Indianen. De bekendste rotsformatie die je tegenkomt in de Valley of the Gods is Hat Rock. Deze lijkt op een figuur met een Mexicaanse sombrero op en het nabij gelegen dorp Mexican Hat dankt daar zijn naam aan. Wat ons betreft met recht een «goddelijke» plek, waarvoor je wel even een paar uur uit moet trekken.
Beste tijd om te bezoeken
De beste jaargetijden om Valley of the Gods te bezoeken zijn de lente en de herfst; in de zomer kan het er erg heet worden. Bij slechte weersomstandigheden is de weg moeilijk begaanbaar; bij goede weersomstandigheden kan je de route in principe met een gewone personenauto rijden, maar high clearance wordt wel aangeraden. De toegang is gratis, en er zijn geen bezoekersfaciliteiten.
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