The Goulding’s RV park was recommended and when we heard the name we thought we were going to a town in Utah named Goulding. As it turned out Goulding’s Camp Park is a 1-stop ‘destination’ spot just north of the Arizona-Utah border, adjacent to the Navajo Tribal Park. The Camp Park includes a lodge, RV park, museum, restaurant, gift store, theatre, grocery store, laundromat, gas station, church, air landing strip, tours and hiking trails.
And, ‘Goulding’s’ actually refers to Harry and Leone Goulding – who first came to Monument Valley in the early 1920’s. By 1928 they constructed the Trading Post, where they conducted business with local Navajo Indians. Their real claim to fame is they are credited for bringing the Hollywood film-making crews to Monument Valley. The first film shot in the location was John Ford’s classic Stagecoach starring a very young and handsome John Wayne. John Ford went on to film eight more classics in Monument Valley. Other films shot in the area include Forrest Gump, Thelma & Louise, Back to the Future III and Mission Impossible II.
The RV park was so picturesque – red rock all around, ‘window’ to the stunning monuments and a neat little hiking trail to its own Hidden Arch.
MONUMENT VALLEY NAVAJO TRIBAL PARK
This historical park sits within the boundaries of a Navajo reservation and is managed and maintained by the Navajo Nation. It sits at 5,564 ft. above sea level and nearly 91,696 acres extends into Arizona and Utah. The height of the monuments range from 100 feet to 1,500 feet tall.
Park entry fee was $20/car and our ticket was good for 2 consecutive days. This self-guided valley drive is 17 miles (27 km) on unpaved dirt roads and takes approximately 1 1/2 to 2 hours to complete the valley drive. We did it in 4 hours…
Each of the monuments have their own unique name and usually resemble the shape of the Mesa or Butte or Spire. Some were a little more difficult to decipher.
At many of the look-out spots the Navajo had set up tables with their wares for sale. Plenty of Navajo jewellery and pottery available. This particular day the wind was howling and temp’s were chilly.
While the 17-mile Valley Drive is open to all paying customers, there are a number of back country roads and monuments that are only visible to those on the guided tours and there’s a number of tours to select from – including both sunrise tours and full moon tours in the summer.
The basic tour starts at $60/person for 2.5 hours.
The deluxe tour is $73/person for 3.5 hours.
The 8-hour tour is $135/person.
Hogans (‘home’ to the Navajo) are sun-baked mud covered homes constructed of cedar, bark, sand and water. In Navajo beliefs there is always a balance of life – a female and a male. The cone shaped home is the Male Hogan and the round shaped home is the Female Hogan.
The Male Hogan is used as a temporary home because it can be built quickly and taken apart to be used at another location. The Female Hogan is used as a permanent home and accommodates more people. With a simple fire the Hogan’s retain heat for long hours in the winter. During the summer, the temperature is 25% cooler than the outside temperature.
Hogan’s are still used by the elderly and for ceremonial purposes so you often see these structures near a modern residential home.
Use of teepee’s on the Navajo Nation are strictly for religious purposes. Guidelines are to please show respect and do not intrude.
However, my favourite teepee – this bed & breakfast!
This visit was historic, educational and so dramatic. We spent the previous week looking down – way down – into the Grand Canyon. This week we looked up – way up – at these beautiful Monuments. Missing for the few days was that beautiful blue Utah sky. Nevertheless, it was remarkably – memorable and monumental!