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Wildcat Trail & Monument Valley in Utah 2024

One of those places in Utah that make your heart beat faster due to its breathtaking scenery

Best time: April–June | September–October

Wildcat Trail & Monument Valley
Wildcat Trail & Monument Valley
Wildcat Trail & Monument Valley
Wildcat Trail & Monument Valley

The Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park is located on the Navajo Indian Reservation in the southeastern part of Utah. This is a semi-autonomous tribal land, which covers an area of 43,452 km and spreads over the three states of Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah.

It’s also the largest tribal land in the United States that features lots of beautiful spots. It is an iconic symbol of the American West. This area has been used for a huge number of commercials and films because of its scenic beauty.

The Valley Drive is a 27 km long dirt road that takes you through the stunning landscape. As the road is rather rough and at some points rocky and uneven, an SUV/truck would be advisable. Simple vehicles might experience their bottoms being scratched up. Also, RVs are not allowed on the Valley Drive. If you are driving the road yourself, you must stay on the road and are not allowed to go anywhere else. Another option is to get one of the tour guides stationed in the parking lot in front of the hotel that will drive you and take you off the main road to see some artifacts.

The valley is home to sandstone rock formations that tower from 122 to 305 m above the valley floor. Combined with the rest of the surrounding desert environment the area, all in all, looks like one huge natural wonder. This sacred land is the heart of the Navajo nation.

The Wildcat Trail is a 5 km loop hike to the most scenic places within Monument Valley. This trail is the only self-guided trail in the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, and it offers some of the most breathtaking sceneries over the valley and up-close views over the Monuments.

When you hike this trail, it feels like you’ve travelled in time. All those thousand years old majestic formations and the desert scenery around is an untouched witness of the Wild West times. The trail is moderate and well signed, you will need nothing more than a beginner’s navigational knowledge.

The Wildcat Trail leads hikers to the world-famous Mitten Buttes and Merrick Butte. At one point you will find yourself surrounded by these towering formations. The trek road is mainly sand, rock, and dirt. Start hiking north from the signed trailhead. When you’ve passed the 1.1 km point stay right to begin the loop part of the hike. Left way is the return trail. The trail drops into a wash, takes you through the narrow footpath and leads back to the parking lot. Along the trail, you will meet lots of rental cabins, which face the buttes and are perfect places to stay overnight and marvel the sunrise over the monuments the next morning.

Although the park is open year-round, the best season to hike this trail is spring (April through June) and fall (September and October), when temperatures are moderate and the weather is more pleasant. Navajo people welcome the visitors and treat them as honourable guests to make their walk here safe and comfortable.

Remember that it's also a great stargazing location. You may stay at the campground and enjoy the star show in the deep dark sky.

The View Campground, overlooking the West and East Mitten Buttes, is an excellent option to to spend the night before your Wildcat Hike. In the morning you will wake up to the first rays of sun with the amazing Monument Valley landscape right before your eyes. There are cabins for a more comfortable stay or you can just sleep in a tent. Breathtaking views are guaranteed in any case.

Practical info

What is the preferred time to visit Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park and the Wildcat Trail?

The Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park and the Wildcat Trail are best visited during spring and fall (April to June, and September to October). During these periods, hiking conditions are just right, the temperatures are moderate, and the weather is pleasant. All year-round, hiking conditions may not be ideal as they're less predictable, and the terrain can be challenging. Please note, the park is open year-round. Show more

What type of vehicle is allowed to drive on the Valley Drive in Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park?

If you're planning on driving through the Valley Drive Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, an SUV/truck is recommended. RVs are not permitted on the road, which is bumpy, rocky, and mostly dirt. The drive is not difficult with the right vehicle, and you should stay on the road. If you don't have one, you can take a guided tour that will make frequent stops to see the park's attractions. Show more

What can I expect from the Wildcat Trail in Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park?

The Wildcat Trail boasts breathtaking views of the valley and is an excellent place for unwinding as it's the only self-guided hike in the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. Hikers on the 5 km loop trail get to enjoy stunning views of the Monuments. It is relatively easy to navigate the trail and should be completed in 2-3 hours, and it's a must-do for low-level hikers. Show more

Is the Wildcat Trail challenging to navigate?

The Wildcat Trail is a well-signposted loop with a terrain of rocks, sand, and dirt. The trail is self-guided and takes hikers through the loop and back via the same path. Navigation is easy as long as hikers carefully follow the signs and stay on the trail. While hiking is an outdoor activity, hikers should follow guidelines and safety tips to prevent accidents. Show more

Can I watch the stars while camping in the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park?

Camping in the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park presents a unique opportunity to stargaze. The park's location in a remote desert with virtually no light pollution makes it perfect for watching the stars. The best time to enjoy this sight would be far from the full moon as the moon's bright light washes out the stars' view. A comfortable tent and warm blanket are desirable for maximum relaxation and enjoyment. Show more

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