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Planning your visit to stunning Valley of the Gods in Utah

Not as well known, and unfairly eclipsed in reputation by nearby Monument Valley to the south, Valley of the Gods is a real treasure waiting for you to discover

Buttes in the morning sunlight in Valley of the Gods
Being overshadowed by Monument Valley has some real benefits to the independent traveler in search of something special and not overrun by crowds.

Why Valley of the Gods is better than Monument Valley

  • The Valley of the Gods is on Utah BLM land, not an Indian reservation, so access is free. 

  • It is open 24 hours a day. You can enter prior to sunrise and be in position for breathtaking sunrise photography or stay late after sunset and capture those amazing colors in the sky after sunset, or do night astrophotography of the Milkyway to your heart’s content.

  • There is no commercialization of the area, it is still pure and natural, there are no hotels inside, or Indians paid to sit on a horse so you can take a picture of them or any of the other Disney-like experiences you will find in Monument Valley.
  • You are free to roam. You don’t have to hire a Navajo guide or take a tour, you are not limited to only accessing a few areas.

  • Less crowded and less touristy. A lot less people know about Valley of the Gods, it isn’t over-run by tourists, you will have many places just to yourself.\

  • Just as amazing and stunning scenery. There are actually more formations in Valley of the Gods to see, they are just as stunning. 
The rock formation De Gaulle and his troops on the right
De Gaulle and his troops on the right
Daily, 24 hours
Dogs okay
Getting there
  • The west entrance ( 37.264219, -109.932510 )is at the foot of the Mokey Dugway on UT-261
  • The southeast entrance is on US-163 at ( 37.235004, -109.814339 ).
  • The route is a 17-mile dirt road that connects Highway 163 and Highway 261.
  • You can drive it with any car.

Photo advice for Valley of the Gods

  • This is a photographer’s dream location, the rock formations and stunning and you have free access to roam around to create stunning compositions.

  • In the later afternoon to sunset, the scenery is best from the western entrance. 

  • From sunrise to early morning, the scenery is best from the eastern entrance.

  • The majority of the best images can be made right from the road, or stopping and climbing a nearby hill

  • The same features change depending on which direction you are driving the road

Valley of the Gods Map


The view across the open prarie in Valley of the Gods Utah

Valley of the Gods provides plenty of opportunity for creative photography
Valley of the Gods provides plenty of opportunities for creative photography
Rock formations and buttes in the early morning light in this stunning Utah landscape

Battleship Rock on the right
Battleship Rock on the right


Stunning rock formations in the warm light of morning


Lady in the Bathtub formation in Valley of the Gods
Lady in the Bathtub 


The dirt road leading through the towering rock formations

Explore Nearby...


House on Fire Ruin

House on Fire Ruins in Mule Canyon South Fork

There are many ruins in the canyon, but House on Fire ruin is the most famous of them, getting its name from the effects that the sunlight has on the sandstone cliff of the overhang that it is built under

Road Canyon Fallen Roof Ruin 2

Fallen Roof Ruin in Road Canyon

Road Canyon contains many ruins, granaries, and kivas. “Fallen Roof Ruin” derives its name from the elaborate pattern created by the missing sandstone slabs of rock that fell out of the roof of the alcove in front of it.

Butler Wash Ruins 4

Butler Wash Ruins

Choose to view the ruins from an overlook or hike up the wash and explore the ruins close up

Lower Butler Wash Road - Hikes

Lower Butler Wash Road is a unique area of Comb Ridge, home to a dozen unmarked trailheads not published by the BLM or marked with signs. All are short hikes (1-3 miles round trip) that lead to amazing ancestral sites, caves and alcoves with 800-year-old ruins, petroglyphs, pottery shards and more.
Multi-colored hand prints on the back wall

Double Stack Ruin

See a higher and lower set of ruins with painted handprints, metates, rockart and impressive mud mortared rock walled structures still standing

Lower Butler Wash road monarch cave 3

Monarch Cave

Hidden up a side canyon of Comb Ridge is an impressive ruin complex with petroglyphs, pottery sherds, corn cobs, sharpening grooves, and grinding metates.

Butler Wash road wolfman rockart 13

Wolfman Panel

Hike to see multiple rock art panels with one with a unique wolfman like figure, across the canyon are ruins you can continue to

Lower Butler Wash Road Fishmouth Cave 5

Fishmouth Cave

A short easy hike to a large cave with handprints and metates, there are a number of smaller ruins to see along the trail.

Lower Butler Wash Road Split Level Ruin 8

Split Level Ruin

The hike to a ruin split over two ledges is filled with hundreds of pictographs, large rocks covered in metates, sharpening marks, pottery shards, and painted handprints

Goosenecks State Park ...

Scenic Drives...

Recapture Pocket_ 4

Recapture Pocket

This is a little visited but interesting location full of goblins and hoodoos contained in three main groups of formations relatively close to each other

Everything Else...

Newspaper Rock 2

Newspaper Rock

A famous rock panel carved with about 650 individual petroglyphs of abstract shapes and symbols to more recognizable human and animal figures

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