Whether approaching Monument Valley from the north (Utah, 25 miles) or south (Arizona, 23 miles) the drive is awe inspiring. It probably is one of the most photographed roads in the Southwest. The road through this richly colored land of majestic red monoliths, spires, hoodoos, and mesas rewards travelers with one of the Southwest's most unusual and inspiring landscapes.
Monument Valley became an overnight attraction for sightseers and Old West buffs in 1939 when director John Ford began filming movies there. Movies continue to be filmed here and have included in recent decades: National Lampoon's Vacation (1983), Back to the Future Part III (1990), Forrest Gump (1994), Mission: Impossible II (2000), The Lone Ranger (2013), A Thousand Ways to Die in the West (2014), and Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014).
Kayenta is your gateway to Monument Valley. While there, visit the Navajo Culture Center in Kayenta. This small museum is housed in a shade house located between Burger King and Hampton Inn and displays items and structures common to the Navajo culture. In addition there is a section on Navajo Code talkers from World War II.
1. Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park
Experiencing one of the most majestic - and most photographed - points on earth. The Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park maintains a visitor center, campground and restaurant, with Navajo-guided tours operating from the visitor center and Goulding's Lodge. A 17-mile, graded dirt loop road within Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park allows breathtaking views of the better known monuments.
Technically not in Arizona, but in Utah, the Goulding's Trading Post Museum is a must visit being so close to the Monument. It is here that many movie stars stayed during their visits and filming in Monument Valley.
Though not located on the Kayenta - Monument Valley Scenic Road, it's in close enough proximity to warrant a visit. The Navajo National Monument houses some Tsegi Phase cliff dwellngs (Betatkin and Keet Seel) built by the Ancestral Puebloans around AD 1250 to 1300.