The name Monument Valley is currently used to describe a large area which includes the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, which would correspond more or less to a Navajo Nation national park.
As a visitor you can purchase an entrance to the park which only gives you access to the 17 miles long dirt road that cuts trough the park. To visit the park properly and have access to the best locations and vistas you will have to book a guided tour. This will give you access to all the closed areas, including the Mystery Valley, Hunts Mesa and the sand dunes around the Totem Pole. Driving on the dirt road might require a vehicle with high clearance underneath, especially after bad weather. That’s one more reason to book a guided tour, which will provide 4×4 Jeeps and trucks.
We booked our tour with Sacred Monument Tours and got to spend the day with T.J. He was amazing, really interesting person, knowledgeable and 100% immersed in Navajo culture. He showed us around his valley with great pride and described in great detail Navajo history all the way to the current way of life inside the reservation.
We decided to spend a couple of nights in the Valley to avoid rushing the visits and having to drive back out at the end of the day. We stayed at The View, which is the only hotel inside the Tribal Park. The Hotel is often sold out, because it offers on every room a balcony that overlooks the valley to the east. This means that you can have a perfect sunrise behind the mittens every morning. Make sure you set your alarm and watch this awesome spectacle from your room.