Monument Valley is on the Navajo Indian Reservation in the 4 corners area of the Colorado Plateau. It is in NE Arizona, and SE Utah. It is 29,817 acres, and at an elevation of 5564 feet. The Tribal Park was established in 1958 by the Navajo Tribe. There is a visitor's center, a small campground, and a 1-way dirt road loop you can drive for a small fee. Climbing is illegal in the Tribal Park, as well as hiking off the loop road. There are a few residential homes here and there in the Tribal Park, and locals try to sell various crafts to the tourists around the Tribal Park. This area is one of the planet's most scenic wonders, and the rock formations in the Tribal Park are some of the world's most amazing rock formations, pinnacles, mesas, spires, and cliffs. It is an area of unbelievable beauty. This area has been photographed to the point where the whole world has seen the vistas, views, scenes, and formations of this amazing area. Hollywood has also taken advantage of this area, and Monument Valley has been the backdrop for many movies and TV commercials. One of the Tribal Parks more amazing spires is The Totem Pole, perhaps the world's tallest and skinniest spire. The Navajo Tribe has strictly stuck to their rule of no rock climbing in the Tribal Park, but with Hollywood money, we have seen Clint Eastwood and George Kennedy "climb" the Totem Pole, McGyver land a handglider on the Totem Pole's summit, and Xerox put a desk with a secretary on top of the Pole's summit as well. There have been clandestine ascents of most of the area's formations, and I believe a few climbers have been caught climbing in the Park and had their gear taken away from them. It is probably best NOT to climb in the Tribal Park, especially the formations on and near the one-way dirt loop road. Some of the other formations away from the Tribal Loop Road are less scrutinized by the Tribal Authorities, and are less of a risk for would-be poachers. Still, it is against The Navajo Tribes wishes and laws to climb within the Tribal Park, and anywhere on the Navajo Indian Reservation, for that matter, and most people adhere to their wishes.
The Tribal Park is about 25 miles NE of the town of Keyenta, Arizona.
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Monument Valley:
pitch 1, starting in saddle between Rabbit/Bear climb 110' pitch of 5.10a with a move of A.0, or a couple moves of aid to make the climbing about 5.8 C.1. pitch 2, 100', 5.7+ climbing ends at good ledge with two boltspitch 3, 5.9+ LB, 70' ends at ledge just left of the 3rd pitch. pitch 4, The hardest climbing I've ever done, it felt like 5.12+X- but essentially is a scree slope in a chimney with stacked rocks that only connect to one side of wall! (Bjornstad said of this pitch, "a long gully/chi...[more]Browse More Classics in AZ
If you're heading North through Monument Valley (from Flagstaff to Moab), there is a huge volcanic plug just off the road to the right (east), before reaching Monument Valley proper. Does anyone know what this is/if it's been climbed? Some of the rock looks very reminiscent of the high quality stuff at Smith...
Many people who travel to Four Corners Monument are inquisitive about the lifestyle and cultures of these Native Americans. You could tour the visitor center and learn more about them. If you want a more hands-on experience, you could visit Monument Valley, which is close to the monument. Pay three dollars and you get admission to the only point where the boundaries of four US states (Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah) hit each other. If you are interested in geographical points like that and like taking the famous "standing-in-four-states-in-one-moment" shots, then this place is a must-go I have to admit.
I am considering a trip through here in early spring. Climbing is illegal? Is there anyway around this? Is this strictly enforced? Are landowners amenable to being contacted and asking for permission? Or should I not even try?
All areas on the Navajo Nation are closed to non-Navajos unless you have a valid camping, hiking or backcountry permit issued by the Navajo Parks and Recreation Department or other duly delegated tribal authority. Failure to have a permit is considered Trespassing on a Federal Indian Reservation.
NO ROCK CLIMBING on Navajo Land. Please abide by the humble religious requests of the Navajo people and do not climb the Monuments. “Navajo law will be strictly enforced on this issue,” Parks Department Manager.
It's illegal. Go for a hike, enjoy the area, and leave the climbing gear at home.