Monument Valley   is a desert highland where the Navajos came to settle in the late fifteenth century.  N. Scott Momaday said of the area, "You see the monoliths that stand away in space, and you imagine that you have come upon eternity."  It was once a vast inland sea.  When the water receded, beds of red sandstone were left which were later carved into massive monuments.

In 1958, the Navajo Tribal Council   designated the Monument Valley National Navajo Tribal Park to preserve the Navajo lifestyle and heritage.   The park is found partly in Arizona and partly in Utah.  The Park Headquarters and Visitor Center is located in Utah 5 miles north of the Arizona state line off of US 163.  From there you can purchase a permit to explore the canyons via a 17 mile loop rough road or by horseback.

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Explore the Navajo National Monument.  It is a 360 acre site south of Kayenta containing ruins of three intact sets of cliff dwellings.  The visitor center is found 9 miles north of US 160 on Hwy 564.

From the visitor center, you can take a moderately strenuous 5 mile round trip hike to the Betatakin Ruins, a 135 room site built between 1250 and 1300 AD.  Or you can sign up for a hike to Keet Seel, a 160 room cliff dwelling 8.5 miles from the visitor center.  Ladders are available to explore parts of the dwelling.

Both of these tours are conducted daily from Memorial Day through Labor Day.