A Day at Monument Valley

Saturday 1/25/2020 was our one full day at Monument Valley, and we made the most of it. Visibility was poor at View Hotel all day due to the persistent fog, so we explored other areas. And then we got lucky when the fog cleared for a couple of hours at sunset.

Monument Valley 2020
Fri 1/24/20Phoenix to Monument Valley
Sat 1/25/20A Day at Monument Valley
Fri 1/26/20Driving to Santa Fe
Fri 1/27/20Santa Fe & Albuquerque

We had arrived at View Hotel after dark on Friday, and when we woke up the next morning everything was covered with hoarfrost from the freezing wind and fog overnight.

Sunrise from our balcony. The fog was too thick to see anything other than the sun.

After breakfast, we checked out the Mesa Rim Trail. It allegedly has great views, but we couldn't see them.

Next we decided to explore Monument Valley, hoping that the fog might clear or at least be less dense down in the valley (about 900 feet below the hotel). This was the right call – we had a beautiful sunny tour of the 17-mile valley loop road, with just enough fog to keep things interesting.

Entering Monument Valley on the Valley Loop Road.
West Mitten Butte, briefly poking through the fog.
Three Sisters

Out at the far end of the loop, we came across three "rez dogs" (dogs that live wild on the reservation) at a place where there wasn't another person visible in any direction, miles from human habitation.

A young male stood in the road and made us stop as we came over a small rise, seemingly unafraid of our vehicle. Then two others appeared on the road ahead, an older female and a muscular young male. The female – who seemed to be in charge – lay down to watch us closely, and the big male stood directly behind her.

I drove forward slowly, and all three of them followed us for a while, but eventually lost interest. We would have given them something to eat if we had it, but we didn't. It was nice to see how healthy they looked, unlike some of the rez dogs I've seen in small towns on other reservations.

It amazes me that dogs can live wild like this. That icy hoarfrost last night! And it's interesting that they seem to have tactics for working the tourist vehicles that come through the valley.

Tourists taking a selfie in front of Merrick Butte.

After we finished touring the valley early in the afternoon, it was still so foggy that you couldn't see anything from the hotel. So we decided to drive north to Mexican Hat to get out of the fog.

The small town of Mexican Hat gets its name from this rock formation.

Back at the hotel, it was still too foggy to see anything. So we drove down into the valley to do some sightseeing, and after a half hour we saw something we'd never seen from the valley before: the View Hotel! The fog had lifted, so we rushed back to check out the view.

The view from our balcony.

I took full advantage of the fog-free views, and took many photos in all directions. Our balcony wraps around the south end of the building, giving us great views to the east, south, and west, and I could also lean over the railing and shoot photos to the north past the visitor center.

Sunset from our balcony at View Hotel.