Why 4x4?

Many new visitors to the park ask why we need 4-Wheel drive (4x4) vehicles and what type of terrain they will encounter when on a tour of Monument Valley. Once you enter the actual park, just beyond the visitor center parking lot, there are no paved roads. The 17-mile self-tour route is unfortunately, not well-maintained and is very bumpy with many potholes. We have seen a number of vehicles, (usually small cars) stuck on the self-drive route due to the poor road conditions and shoulder areas. Beyond the self-driven route, the roads are small dirt roads and in the less traveled areas require 4x4 to get through.

Totem pole sandstone formation as seen during a sunrise tour of Monument Valley Arizona.

The land in and around Monument Valley is covered with a very fine sand from the erosion of the sandstone in the area. Trekking through the sand can prove quite challenging as there are a number of characteristics that make the trip difficult. In some areas there are literally large sand dunes of a sand much finer than beach sand. There are many washes flowing through the area that can change the landscape and roadways with one heavy rain. The combination of wind, rain and sand yields a quickly changing landscape that requires knowledge of the area and alternate routes as well as a vehicles that can reliably travel through sandy areas. Some tours deeper into the valley, especially when going into Mystery Valley, will take you through some of these extremely sandy conditions. Our tour drivers are professionals and all have years of experience in going through the valley and getting you safely to the best sights. Visitors have also asked if we have ever gotten stuck in the sand. The answer to that is yes, and in fact, any honest tour company would admit to the same. This very rarely happens, although, it has happened before that a vehicle has gotten stuck while on a tour. We always have a truck on standby to aid in case of a truck getting stuck and carry plenty of cold water to ensure the safety and satisfaction of our customers. Because of our well-maintained 4x4 vehicles and experienced guides you can sit back and enjoy the beauty of the area around you and not worry about being stranded. We've got you covered and want you to enjoy the beauty of Monument Valley with us!