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Best Time To Visit Monument Valley (To Experience The Great Outdoors!)

Plan your visit to Monument Valley with our guide on the best times for outdoor exploration, optimal weather, and avoiding crowds. Essential for every traveler.

Alex Frick
September 19, 2022
Best Time To Visit Monument Valley (To Experience The Great Outdoors!)

Monument Valley has one of the most recognizable landscapes in the United States. With panoramic vistas, colossal mesas, and the iconic sandstone bluffs, a trip to Monument Valley should be near the top of every bucket list.

Monument Valley rests atop the Colorado Plateau along the Arizona-Utah border in the sacred lands of the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park.

Before 1930, this American icon was relatively unknown, and its beauty wouldn’t find national recognition until Hollywood discovered the incredible backdrop featured in so many films to this day.

May and August are the best times to visit Monument Valley. The weather in these shoulder seasons is tremendous, with comfortable average daily temperatures of a high of 84°F/28°C to lows of 67°F/19°C. These months are perfect for exploring the iconic monuments while beating the busy summer rates, saving a potential 25% on travel accommodations.

While Monument Valley’s climate allows for memorable visits during all months, depending on the visitor, some seasons of the year will be a better match than others. Let’s discover which season is best suited for you!

When You Shouldn't Visit Monument Valley

December is the coldest month in Monument Valley. You can expect temperatures to drop to an average of 28°F/-2°C on bitter evenings. The nights are long, with only 9 hours of sunlight per day. While it makes for incredible night sky views, the icy evenings can be challenging.

July is the warmest (and busiest) month in Monument Valley. On average, temperatures will reach 97°F/36°C consistently throughout the month. The days are long, and the sun is unforgiving. Combined with the busy summer crowds, long hours exposed to the sun can be difficult for some visitors.

When Is The Cheapest Month To Visit Monument Valley?

The cheapest time to visit is February! Travelers can get discounted rates on accommodation, rental vehicles, and flights. Nearly all of your travel budget will go directly to these three items.

Try to start booking flights and renting a car at least three months ahead of time. This will be the best way to find the cheapest rates on accommodations for your visit.

The nearest airport is in Salt Lake City, Utah. The cost of a roundtrip flight can average anywhere from $288-$435. During the winter, rates may decline slightly to prices as low as $167-$350. Rental car rates will vary greatly depending on the type of vehicle and dealership you may choose.

Hotel accommodations can be limited; however, there are several unique options for travelers on any budget. Hotels will have their highest rates during the summer months, while the fall and spring will bring the cheapest rates.

Camping is an excellent option for a memorable journey to Monument Valley. There are several beautiful campgrounds hidden throughout the valley.

For a unique hotel experience, book a Tipi at the Monument Valley Tipi Village. The village is a campground specializing in native Navajo tipis with stunning views of the iconic sandstone bluffs. These Tipis are pretty exclusive and book very quickly. You can reserve your own tipi with two queen-sized beds for $135.

Related Read: Best Time To Visit Monument Valley

Best Time to Visit Monument Valley: A Monthly Breakdown

You already know December is the coldest month to visit and that in February you can find the best deals, but what you may not know is that every month is special in it's own unique way. Monument Valley can and should be visited all year long. Our monthly breakdown will give you some insight into why each month may be the best month for your family to visit Monument Valley.

January: Best Month for a Road Trip

(Kick up dust on the Tribal Park Loop). The daily average temperature can range from 45°F/7°C to 28°F/-2°C. With a sharp crispness to the air, January is the best time to enjoy the off-road tour through the iconic desert landscape.

When winter turns cold, the crowds depart, and the roads are clear. Taking the 17-mile trek along the Tribal Park Loop is a fantsatic journey that accesses Monument Park's greatest highlights. Visiting in winter allows unique opportunities to experience the recognizable sandstone bluffs blanketed by the desert’s abundant snowfall.

While the dirt road does not require a 4x4 vehicle, the road can be bumpy and slick. Consider upgrading to a 4x4 when choosing a rental vehicle.

February: Best Month To Take In Monument Valley's Film History

Visit the famous shooting locations of some of Hollywood’s greatest movies. The daily average temperature can range from 52°F/11°C to 33°F/6°C. Visiting Monument Valley’s rich film history is one of the best-known attractions.

While the weather begins to improve, the crowds will remain thin - making February a perfect time to visit. The scenic landscape of Monument Valley has been used as a background for some great films dating back to the 1930s. Built on the successes of John Wayne and the early Westerns, the valley is recognizable in all forms of pop culture today. Most movie locations may only be seen by booking a tour conducted by official Navajo guides.

  • Stagecoach (1939)
  • Easy Rider (1969)
  • Forrest Gump (1994)

Related Read: 50 Most Beautiful Places in the US

March: Best Time for a Desert Safari

Enjoy a one-of-a-kind experience with a native lead tour through the secret corners of Monument Valley. The daily average temperature can range from 62°F/16°C to 40°F/4°C. The sun brings warm afternoons while the evenings remain chilly. This unique adventure travels both by vehicle and by land.

Immerse yourself into the life of the Navajo Tribe and experience the native lands and their history. Most routes you will take are on restricted grounds, only accessible by guided tour.

This backcountry tour will take you to lesser-known destinations loaded with history and culture. Upgrade your tour and experience a hogan, a formal structure of the Navajo Indians and participate in a traditional musical performance.

  • Sacred Monument Tours
  • Private Tour with One of the Last Surviving Navajo Code Talkers, Peter MacDonald
  • Upgrade to a Native American Hoop Dance

Related Read: 15 BEST Lazy Rivers in Arizona

April: Best Time to Ditch the Pavement and Go Off-Road

Get out your Jeep or buggy and leave the typical journey in the dust. The daily average temperature can range from 71°F/22°C to 46°F/8°C. The days are becoming warmer, but the spring breeze remains cool.

Most of the surrounding lands in Monument Valley are free to explore. Thanks to the valley's sandy surface, many roads that have been established may only be accessed by a 4x4 vehicle.

The pathways around the popular bluffs are tremendously beautiful; however, they can become quite crowded. Try the hills in the surrounding mesas to enjoy switch-backing routes that bring you to incredible panoramic views of the entire iconic valley.

Unsure where to go? Book a 4x4 group tour and discover the grandeur of Monument Valley.

May: Best Time to Rock Out

Take advantage of the geologic adventures of Monument Valley. The daily average temperature can range from 81°F/27°C towards 55°F/13°C. As the evenings become cozy, warmer days inch closer to summer. The weather during the day is still comfortable, but too much time under the sun is a condition worth monitoring.

Monument Valley is a geology major’s playground. The bluff formations of the iconic valley are sedimentary sandstone, originating from before the Jurassic Period.

The valley was once a great seafloor. As millions have years have passed, the plateaus arose from the surface and erosion chipped away at the soft materials of the sedimentary rock, creating the towering formations.

Although it is illegal within Monument Valley, travel to the surrounding mesas for some of the most unique and technical rock-climbing experiences an adventurer could ask for.

Related Read: 50 BEST Places To Visit In November In The USA

June: Best Month for Exploring The Valley

June is the most exciting time to go hiking in Monument Valley. The daily average temperature can range from 93°F/34°C to 65°F/18°C. While the afternoon temperatures can be blistering, the hiking trails are short, and the heat is quite manageable.

Although there are only a few hiking trails, this way of travel is the best way to experience Monument Valley. There are a variety of trails to enjoy; however, many of them are restricted without registering for a backcountry permit.

For the ultimate desert adventure, reserve a backcountry permit through the Navajo and backpack beneath the stars. The nights remain cool and the valley's silence is something special to behold.

  •  Wildcat Trail
  •  Monument Valley OHV Loop
  •  Navajo Tribal Park

July: Best Month for Shopping

Beat the heat and take home a piece of Monument Valley. The daily average temperature can range from 97°F/36°C to 69°F/21°C. July is undisputedly the hottest month of the year. Spend a few hours in the early afternoon and take in the artsy culture of the Navajo Nation.

While the oppressive summer heat bears down on the valley, escape the elements by diving into the cultural arts at the Monument Valley Trading Post. Enjoy the selection of traditional and contemporary art and memorabilia of the historic valley.

Sift through a healthy collection of custom pieces handcrafted and available for purchase – including conventional Navajo jewelry, earthen pottery, woven baskets, and rugs.

August: Best Month to Capture Monument Valley

Monument Valley is one of the most photographed images in the world. There is no better time to capture yourself than August. The daily average temperature can range from 93°F/34°C to 69°F/21°C.

While the afternoon in Monument Valley is a plateau of scorched Earth, waiting until the golden hour and seizing the perfect sunset shot is the best thing to do in August.

Monument Valley is world-renowned for its picturesque sunsets straight out of a Hallmark card. The clouds begin to form in the late summer month and create a beautifully illuminated backdrop for Monument Valley.

For the best views, use the unique vantage points from the surrounding mesas to capture wonderful panoramic images of the entire valley.

September: Best Month to Relax

Enjoy the views of Monument Valley in leisure and luxury. The daily average temperature can range from 93°F/34°C to 69°F/21°C. The afternoons are still warm, but the evenings are cool and refreshing, making September the best time to appreciate the amenities the valley has to offer.

The local tourism industry recognized the beauty and opportunity Monument Valley has to offer. The community has established many unique desert hotel experiences with droves of visitors every year. Your stay can range from budget-friendly motels to luxury accommodations built into a sandstone mesa.

  • For a budget-friendly hotel that does not sacrifice quality, stay at Goulding's Lodge and RV Park
  • For a luxury stay, book a room at the View
  • For a truly unique visit, check out Monument Valley Tipi Village

October: Best Month to Sleep Under the Stars

There is no better way to experience Monument Valley than to go camping. The daily average temperature can range from 72°F/22°C to 49°F/9°C. With the cooling evening temperatures and the longer nights, October is the ideal month for camping in the valley.

Before we get ahead of ourselves, camping is restricted in the valley without a backpacking permit. You can acquire one at navajonationparks.org.

The serenity of sleeping under the night skies in Monument Valley is indescribable. With an entire valley the choose from, there is no shortage of unique and memorable experiences available for individuals who enjoy the rustic environment.

  • Hummingbird Campsite
  • Mustang Valley Campground
  • Sleeping Bear Campgrounds

November: Best Month for a Date

Going out for an evening in Monument Valley is a romantic experience with limitless possibilities. The daily average temperature can range from 55°F/13°C to 36°F/2°C. The crisp evenings are perfect for snuggling up to your better half.

Monument Valley offers the unique opportunity to get creative. Keep it simple by taking your sweetie to a high-class dinner establishment or grab an easel and paint the beautiful valley during the golden sunset hours. The chances to impress your partner are endless.

  • Goulding's Stagecoach Dining Room
  • Dineh Horseback Tours
  • Sunset at Muley Point

December: Best Time to See the Milky Way

With the lack of ambient light, the views of the night skies are spectacular. The daily average temperature can range from 44°F/7°C to 28°F/-2°C. Grab a warm blanket and enjoy the stars on the year's longest nights.

Monument Valley is recognized as a "dark skies" territory. With little light and clear skies, you can view millions of galaxies light years away. Pay attention to the moon cycles and visit during the new moon when the picturesque skies are at their darkest.

Alex Frick
Article updated:
March 28, 2024
Raised in the Midwest, Alex is an RV-pulling, bike-touring, globetrotting, slow-hiking nomad. He travels full-time with his travel nurse wife and their famous hiking tabby, Rafiki (yes, she has an Insta). He enjoys experiencing lesser-known destinations and discovering hidden gems.
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