A self-guided Monument Valley tour on the scenic drive should take between two and four hours, depending on how long you spend at each overlook. While visitors aren’t allowed to hike deeper into the park without a Navajo tour guide, you’re more than welcome to take stops along the way and enjoy the gorgeous views of Monument Valley’s iconic buttes and rock formations. While the road itself is only 17 miles, it’s entirely unpaved and some stretches are extremely bumpy, so it takes some time to drive the full loop. Most of the route has a posted speed limit of only 15 MPH. When you add in the time spent at the various attractions and overlooks by the side of the road, you can easily spend a whole morning or afternoon at Monument Valley.
If you’re driving through Monument Valley without a guide, we highly recommend getting there as early in the morning as possible. Not only are the geological features especially striking when painted red by the rising sun, but you’ll also get to avoid the crowds that can slow you down later in the day. During the peak season in the summer, there are sometimes lines of cars waiting to park at the most popular overlooks, so visiting in the early morning allows you to skip those.
Unless you decide to take a guided tour, there’s probably no reason to spend more than five or six hours in Monument Valley. The sights are gorgeous, but the loop itself is fairly short and you can’t really do any exploring on your own. Still, it’s a great way to spend a morning or afternoon with your family.
If you want to get the most out of your day in Monument Valley, we recommend trying out our Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park Self-Guided Tour.