"Gouldings Lodge Monument Valley" Monument Valley State Park by Micgwit
Monument Valley State Park Travel Guide: 356 reviews and 1,039 photos
We spent 3 nights here with the beautiful Dineh (Navajo) people. This is the only hotel/motel actually in the valley. There is a small indoor air conditioned pool which was very enticing at the end of a dusty day out hiking.
We experienced the full day tour accompanied by our Dineh guide "Don", who was very knowledgeable and kind; he ensured we had every chance to experience the beauty of his land and showed us the best spots to take photos.
Our tour included 'Mystery Valley' and lots of areas in the main valley that one cannot go to without a Dineh guide. We were shown Petroglyphs and ancient Anasazi ruins dating back almost 2,000 years. We also visited a traditional Dineh 'Hogan' which is similar in shape to an Igllo but made of Juniper trees and dirt/sand. The similarity to an igloo can possibly be reasoned due to the fact that the Dineh (Navajo) are descended from the first Inuit/eskimo peoples who crossed the Bairing Straits during the last Ice Age. If you plan to just self drive through the main valley you will miss the best sites. I have attached a few photos to this review, of some of the sights.
The rooms are very high quality and the restaurant had the best food we had whilst staying in the States. We are English and are used to quite spicy food so the spicy pork stew with chillies and Navajo fry bread was an amazing find after all the bland tasteless food on offer in Las Vegas. The Dineh themselves are a proud, reserved people but if one takes the time to speak to them and listen rather than talk, one will be enthralled by their history and love of the land. There is a small museum on site that is well worth taking your time to experience. Please don't rush in and out. Read the notes accompanying the photos and items, ask questions of the person in charge of the museum on the day you visit, she/he will enhance your trip by giving you first hand accounts of recent Dineh history and recount tales passed down to her/him by forebears.
It is possible to book horse riding in the valley and other activities but night times are very quiet. Plan to spend down time on your balcony watching the sky for shooting stars and of course the wow factor of having a sky full of stars with no light pollution. Be up very early in the morning, sit on your balcony and watch the best sunrise I have ever experienced. The sun rises above the Butes and Mesas and is stunning; see the photo I took from our balcony.
The sale of alcohol is prohibited by law on the whole of the Navajo Nation lands so if you wish to share a glass of wine with your loved one, on your balcony, in a romantic setting after having eaten an excellent meal in the restaurant, take your own wine with you.
All in all this is a magical place and we are already planning our return. Take a look at the photos.
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