Home » 2002 Cross Country Road Trip

Monument Valley, UT

Wednesday, August 7, 2002 - 10:00am by Lolo
112 miles and 2 hours from our last stop - 1 night stay


Since mountain biking is probably my favorite way of truly experiencing a place, I was anxiously anticipating our visit to Monument Valley. While reading Mountain Biking Utah, I discovered that the scenic loop through Monument Valley was actually listed as a relatively easy to moderate bike ride. This was great because I had already learned that RVs were not permitted on the loop.

Family crazy enough to bike Monument ValleyFamily crazy enough to bike Monument ValleyWe checked into Goulding's Monument Valley RV Park and got a great campsite overlooking the red sandstone buttes of Monument Valley. Fortunately for us, the day was a cool 84 degrees, not bad for desert in midsummer. It seemed like the perfect day for a bike ride. In my excitement to get started, I happened to mention our planned bike ride to the campground manager. He looked blankly at me and said, "You're going to bike ride the loop?" Undaunted, we set off in the RV to drive the mile into the Monument Valley Tribal Park.

While paying our entrance fee, we mentioned to the Native American at the entrance gate that we were planning to mountain bike the loop. I should have been concerned when he said he'd never heard of anyone doing that before. He must be new, I thought. The mention of my plan to a woman behind the desk in the Visitor Center brought the same blank stare of confusion. I, however, am a firm believer in the truth of the written word and I had clearly read about this ride in a Mountain Biking Utah guide.

Biking Monument ValleyBiking Monument ValleyWe parked our RV in the lot, unloaded our bikes, and set off on our adventure. The ride started with a sharp 500 foot descent down the sandy washboard road. Although going down was fun, I can't enjoy a downhill with complete abandon when I know that at a later point in the day it will be a tortuous uphill climb. Oh well, I decided not to think about that for now and to just coast on, enjoying the fabulous views.

Ever since our boys were little, we always tried to encourage them to push themselves and go the extra mile so to speak. On bike rides, I would use the promise of something good just around the corner to keep them going. In the past, that has meant just another mile for ice cream or we're almost at the beach, etc. With no amusement parks or ice cream shops in sight, I had to try to tempt them with the roadside sale of Navajo trinkets and the promise that I think we're halfway around the loop by now so turning back isn't going to make it any shorter.

All the while we were pedaling, a constant flow of cars went by, kicking up clouds of the dry red sand. We must have been quite a spectacle because people were waving and cheering us on. I tried to let their cheering drown out the whining which was now coming from my younger son.

Meanwhile, my husband who wants to document these adventures as later proof of our wonderful parenting, is pedalling ahead of us, jumping off his bike, removing his movie camera from his backpack, and filming us riding towards him. He repeated this process about a dozen times throughout our ride. He must have been exhausted.

By the time we finished the ride, we were covered in a thin coat of red sand and probably could have passed for Navajos. No matter what anyone says, I think it was a great ride and the only way I would have wanted to see it. Anyone can drive the loop, but I feel we truly earned it.


Lolo of the RV at GouldingsLolo of the RV at GouldingsMonument Valley is a Navajo Tribal Park that is famous for its red sandstone towers and buttes. The park has a Visitor Center and a 17-mile scenic drive. The self-guided drive begins at the Visitor Center and loops through the valley on a dirt road with many breathtaking overlooks. The road is definitely not meant for RVs. Jeep tours are also available, but quite expensive. There is a campground in the park, as well as one 2 miles away at Goulding Trading Post.


  • Monument Valley Mountain Biking the Loop
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Klattu on February 6, 2007

Y'all just keep having fun

Marc on August 15, 2013

Hi there,
We (my 23 year old son and I) are planning a trip through de South West National Parks with a RV in september/octobre.
I was looking for specific information on the internet, like riding the Monument Valley Loop on a MTB. I'm glad to have found your website. That's all about discovering your country, wow. So, it's ALLOWED to drive the loop on a MTB? Because our RV is not suitable to do so.

Kind regards

Herb on August 16, 2013

Hi Marc,

I can't say for sure what the current policy is, but in 2002 we biked the loop, and no one seemed to care. You might want to check for updated information.

Have fun, and please comment again if you bike the loop.


Nomad on October 15, 2013

Hi herb,

two days ago we biked the loop of Monument Valley. It was awesum. Before noon the sun was good, there were few cars and the road was not dusty because it had rained three days earlier. At some roads we went faster than de cars trying to avoid rocks and bumps. At ease, we did the 17 miles in two hours and a half. The last climb was condition training.
But hey, we did the moki dugway to Muley Point also by bike, one day before.
Coming at the end of a wonderfull journey, despite the government shutdown (we missed Bryce, Arches, Canyonlands and Mesa Verde) I'm glad we rented the mountainbikes for the whole trip.

kind regards

Herb on October 29, 2013

Hi Marc,

Thanks for updating us with your bike trip through Monument Valley. I'm glad that it was still open for you to bike though, and that you enjoyed the ride.

Too bad about the government shutdown for the other parks, but it sounds like you made the best of a tough situation. Maybe you'll get another chance to visit the other parks in the near future.

Thanks again, and safe travels,

Monument Valley location map in "high definition"

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