Top 5 Sights to See During Your Monument Valley Tour

By Redtail Air Adventures

Located far out in the desert on the Utah-Arizona border, Monument Valley is a sight you won’t want to miss out on! This iconic park provides a lasting image of the great American West- as it has been for thousands of years, and remains today! Monument Valley is a portion of the Colorado Plateau- it is decorated with awe-inspiring red sandstone buttes and mesas jutting out of the sleepy desert landscape.  

Getting to Monument Valley is time-consuming, but well worth the trip! To access this iconic area, you can drive on the US Highway 163, located due north of the Utah-Arizona border. At the entrance of the park, there is a $20 fee per vehicle. 

There are many ways that you can embark on a Monument Valley tour! While Monument Valley would take hours upon hours to drive through and see from a car and on foot, you can book a flight tour with Redtail Air out of Moab, and see the best parts of Monument Valley in just a couple of exciting, adventure-packed hours! Flights to Monument Valley provide you with unrivaled views, and will leave you plenty of time to visit all of the other incredible sights in the area- before your unforgettable trip comes to a close!

Whether you are visiting Monument Valley for a weekend, or only for a day, here are some of the best sights that you will want to check out!

Top 5 Sights!

1. The Mittens

How often do you get to see a couple of impressively huge rock formations that look almost exactly like a pair of mittens?! My guess is that your answer is along the lines of: “not often,” or even “never!” Monument Valley is perhaps the only place in the world that you can see something like that. The East and West Mitten Buttes rise hundreds of feet from the valley floor and make up a world-famous panoramic view. You have probably seen The Mittens in commercials, movies, or television shows- but nothing beats seeing them in real life. 

From the Ground:

While almost all of the hikes in Monument Valley require the presence of a tour guide, The Mittens are accessible from the Wildcat Trail- the only trail in the park that doesn’t require a guide. 

What to Expect

In total, the hike is around 4 miles long, and is rated as moderately difficult due to the sandy sections involved. You can bring your dog along, as long as it stays on-leash the whole time! This hike takes most people around 2-3 hours to complete, so give yourself enough time to do the whole thing, you won’t regret it! 

How to Get There

Reaching the trailhead is pretty simple. Travel west on the US Highway 163 until you reach Monument Valley Road. Turn left on the road, and drive for about 4 more miles until you reach the Monument Valley visitor center. Follow the sign toward Indian Route 42, and you will reach the trailhead shortly! 

Hike Duration

This hike takes most people around 2-3 hours to complete, so be sure to bring enough food or water to sustain your energy. The hike provides you with some incredible views, so be sure to bring your camera along, too! 

From the Air

Beholding The world-famous “Mittens” from the window of an airplane is an experience that you will never forget. While hiking the trail and seeing them on foot provides you with great views, the scenery you can take in from a plane is expansive and all-encompassing! 

What to Expect

Looking down at The Mittens from high up in the air might leave you wondering, ‘what planet am I looking at?’ The barren desert floor in concert with all of the incredible geological features jutting up makes you feel as if you are looking down at Mars! 

Flight Duration

While a hike to see The Mittens might take up a good chunk of your day, a flight tour will allow you to see so much more, in a short duration of time! If you are trying to pack in as much sightseeing as possible on a short trip to Monument Valley, booking a flight is money well spent. 

Testimonials

Those who have experienced The Mittens from a flight with Redtail Air have nothing but raving reviews. The experienced pilots at Redtail Air will provide you with friendly conversation chock full of insightful, local knowledge that you can’t get anywhere else!

The mittens of Monument valley

The Mittens from the ground

The Mittens during a flight to monument valley

The Mittens from the air

2. Totem Pole and Yei-Bi-Chei

The two formations called Totem Pole and Yei-Bi-Chei, are a couple of the more famous sandstone formations in the Monument Valley. Just like it sounds, the Totem Pole is a very tall and very thin-looking formation that juts out of the ground, like a totem pole! Yei-Bi-Chei, on the other hand, has a less recognizable name. Yei-Bi-Chei is a style of Navajo ceremony, and the formation takes on the name due to its semblance of fire dancers in the ceremony. 

From the Ground: 

The ‘Totem Pole’ is perhaps the skinniest and tallest spire formation in the world. It is an incredible sight to see that you do not want to miss out on during your visit to Monument Valley! 

What to Expect

The remnant of what was a butte at one point in time, the Totem Pole is considered to be sacred ground to the Navajo people and, like the rest of the valley, should be treated with respect. Hiking to the Totem Pole and Yei-Bi-Chei requires the accompaniment of an experienced guide due to the location and reverence of the land. 

How to Get There

Totem Pole and Yei-Bi-Chei are located off of Highway 89, approximately half a mile north of the Moqui Cave. Next to the highway, you will find a pull-off and a gated fence. The Totem Pole and Yei-Bi-Chei formations can be seen just past this pull-off! 

While you can choose to hike up to these beautiful formations to admire and photograph them, they are also fairly popular among rock climbers! Totem Pole is located right next to the group of thicker spires called Yei-Bi-Chei. Although equally as impressive, rock climbers opt to ascent the Totem Pole because it is equipped with bolts- and is the tallest, thinnest spire! These formations are incredibly beautiful to photograph in the sunset hours.

From the Air:

While the Totem Pole and Yei-Bi-Chei are sights to behold from the ground, they are even more spectacular from the air! From a bird’s eye view, you can really admire the effects of erosion on these incredible formations. Observing Yei-Bi-Chei from the air can give you a unique perspective- this amazing formation is known for its close resemblance to a formation of dancers!

What to Expect

Flying over these two unique formations in Monument Valley will allow you to see them from a unique perspective. You can really take it all in, and see just how impressively tall and narrow the Totem Pole is! Taking a flight with Red Tail Air can give you vantage points to take spectacular photographs that would not be possible from the ground. These formations together form a semi-circle shape composed of the rocks jutting out of the desert floor!

Flight Duration

Taking a flight tour will not only allow you to see more in a short amount of time, but it also gives you interesting vantage points. Hiking around Monument Valley often requires the presence of a guide, and many areas are restricted from accessing. In the air, you can really see it all in the most efficient and exciting way! Flying over the Totem Pole and Yei-Bi-Chei does not take more than an hour, leaving you plenty of time to see the other cool formations around.  

Testimonials

Redtail air is renowned for its great service and friendly, knowledgeable staff. The pilots can point out all of the most interesting formations and teach you about the area at the same time- all while flying your airplane and getting you around safely!

Totem Poles seen during a monument valley tour

Totem Pole and Yei-Bi-Chei from the ground

Totem Pole and Yei-Bi-Chei from the air

3. Natural Bridges National Monument

The Natural Bridges National Monument is a sight you won’t want to miss during your visit to Monument Valley. There are ancient Puebloan ruins that you can visit, as well as three huge natural land-bridges! These sights are so spectacular, they will leave you with your jaw on the floor. The bridges were carved by a stream and formed over millions of years.

From the Ground:

You can take a gander at these three astounding natural bridges by taking a drive along the nine-mile paved road, which makes a large loop. There are several overlooks along this road where you can stop and take photographs.

What to Expect

When you take the time to experience Natural Bridges National Monument, you can see three incredible natural bridges and many Anasazi cliff dwellings! There are also ancient pictographs and many beautiful white sandstone canyons in the area. 

How to Get There

At the looped road, you will see short highly-traveled trails that will take you down to the bridges. If you want to see all three natural bridges up close there is a 5-mile walking path that is rated as moderately difficult that you may want to take. There are many variants of this hiking trail that you can take if you decide you only want to see one or two of the bridges. 

Hike Duration

While you can make your hike as long or as short as you’d like, seeing all three bridges, as well as the ancient ruins, may take a few hours. Be sure to carry plenty of water and do not overexert yourself in extreme temperatures! 

From the Air:

Looking down at Natural Bridges National Monument from an airplane window will make you believe you are looking at a giant’s playground! Seeing the way the rocks are shaped and formed from up above is a very mesmerizing experience. The colors and shapes come together to make a beautiful panoramic view that you can’t get anywhere else in the world. 

What to Expect

Expect to be swept off of your feet during a flight tour to Monument Valley. Natural Bridges National Monument is just one of the many incredible sights to see on a tour with Redtail Air, and is not one that you should miss out on! 

Flight Duration

While hiking to all of the natural bridges takes a good amount of time and preparation, a flight tour will allow you to see all three of them in close proximity to one another! Utah has so much to offer within Monument Valley, and on a short day trip or weekend-long excursion, booking a flight tour will give you the most bang for your buck! You can see all three natural bridges in about 1-2 hours.

Testimonials

Customers are blown away by the service they receive from Redtail Air Adventures. Our guides will keep you entertained throughout the duration of your flight with their sharp humor and extensive natural history knowledge! 

Natural Bridges National Monument from the ground

4. Valley of the Gods

Located in close proximity to Mexican Hat, Valley of the Gods is a scenic area that you should definitely make time for during your trip to Monument Valley! Here, you can find buttes, pinnacles, and plenty of wide-open desert landscape. 

From the Ground:

What to Expect

Unlike much of Monument Valley, Valley of the Gods is located on public BLM land, and exploring the area does not require the presence of a certified hiking guide. While there are no designated trails or campgrounds, there is plenty of space here for backcountry exploring, backpacking, and camping. 

How to Get There

To get onto Valley of the Gods Road, drive north of Mexican Hat. About 7.5 miles north is where the road forks off of Highway 163. On Valley of the Gods Road, you can drive north and west, and you will reconnect with Highway 261 in about 6.5 miles. The road can be rough, so be aware of your vehicle capability, driving ability, and weather factors! 

Hike Duration

Because there are no actual designated hiking trails in this area, your hikes can be however long or short you choose! There are lots to explore in this area. 

From the Air:

What to Expect

From your flight, you will get spectacular views of all of the rock formations that the Valley of the Gods has to offer! There are numerous buttes, pinnacles, and panoramic views that you can take in from the comfort of your airplane seat. 

Flight Duration

Seeing the entirety of Valley of the Gods can take many hours, if not all day if you choose to set out on foot. While hiking is a great option, we understand at Redtail Air Adventures that you may be trying to squeeze in as much as possible into a short weekend trip! We cannot recommend a flight tour enough- it is truly the best way to get the most out of your vacation time here in Utah. Seeing Valley of the Gods via flight will only take an hour or two from your jam-packed day, and it is definitely worth the time! 

Testimonials

With no hiking trails to tell you where to go and what to see, a flight tour can really be a game-changer. A tour guide from Redtail Air can point you in the direction of all of the coolest sights in the Valley of the Gods, so you won’t be stuck wandering around aimlessly- left to your own devices!

Valley of the God seen on a monument valley tour

Valley of the Gods seen from the ground

Valley of the Gods seen on a redtail flight tour

Valley of the Gods from the air

5. Dark Canyon Wilderness Area

From the Ground:

What to Expect

While much of Monument Valley offers solely desert scenery, the Dark Canyon Wilderness Area gives you some beautiful forested areas as well! Here you can see both forest and desert views and interesting ancient native ruins.

How to Get There 

The GPS coordinates of the trailhead are approximately: 37.683738, -109.919035. The Woodenshoe Canyon Road is rough and rocky in places but will lead you straight to the trailhead for the Dark Canyon Wilderness Area- which is just south of Canyonlands National Park. 

Hike Duration

The Dark Canyon Wilderness Area offers a long hiking trail that can be backpacked over a span of 5-7 days. It is integral to carry all necessary supplies, and have adequate map-reading and orienteering skills. The hike is a total of 40 miles, but there are many side-spur trails to venture onto that can make it even longer! 

From the Air:

What to Expect

If you have grown tired of seeing the expansive, barren, desert landscapes that dominate Monument Valley, then flying over The Dark Canyon Wilderness Area will give you the change of pace that you need! This area is rich in plant life, geological features, and archaeological remnants that will provide you with a wealth of historical knowledge. 

Flight Duration

If you don’t have the time or the ability to backpack into the wilderness for a whole week, then booking a flight with Redtail Air Adventures can allow you to see The Dark Canyon Wilderness Area in a shorter time frame! Flying with a guide will allow you to see all of the beauty of this backcountry area without the strenuous work and daunting planning required to hike it. 

Testimonials

It is nearly impossible to visit The Dark Canyon Wilderness Area and not have a great time! With the unique landscape below you and diverse views, how could you not love it? Booking a flight with Redtail Air Adventures will allow you to pick the brain of one of our knowledgeable tour guides. They will tell you all about the rich ancestral Puebloan history of the area as well as the geological history of the incredible rock formations.  

Dark canyon wilderness during a monument valley tour

Dark Canyon Wilderness Area from the ground

Explore Monument Valley With Redtail Air!

Monument Valley is one of the most majestic places on Earth that you can visit! There are countless sandstone monuments around every corner- and each one is unique and interesting in its own right. The landscape is so large here, it can be a little overwhelming! 

While hiking in Monument Valley is a great experience in itself, you will never be able to take in all of the sights that you want to by traveling on foot. If you are pressed for time on your day trip or weekend getaway to Monument Valley, booking a flight with Redtail Air will allow you to get the richest experience possible out of your short stay. 

See Monument Valley from the Sky!

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