View Full Version : Reliable Monument Valley Guide

23-Nov-2007, 09:20
Hello All,

My wife and I need a Navajo guide to take us on a private tour through Monument Valley on Christmas day - sunrise to sunset. Do you have recommendations for a guide or company who will be reliable and reasonably priced? How much should we expect to pay for such a tour?

Thank you.


Eric Leppanen
23-Nov-2007, 09:51
I was very happy with Tom Phillips several years ago. We did an overnight camping trip on Hunt's Mesa and an afternoon trip to Mystery Valley and Teardrop Arch.


eric black
23-Nov-2007, 11:06
I have always had luck just going to the visitor center parking lot and making arrangements to meet a guide about 2 hours prior to sunrise. What I havent had luck with is getting to a location that wasnt overwhelmed with a ton of less than courteous photogs from local tours (based out of the nearby motels?) that want to trample dunes and get in every picture you are trying to take. My last trip was an attempt at the Yei bi Chei location with about 20+ people that were bused in. My solution for next time will be to take my widest angle lenses and pick some of the less desired locations and hopefully get closer or at least even with than any others who might happen to be there. Expect to may at least $300+ if you are looking for a guide for an entire day- my last bill was $125 for just the morning.

23-Nov-2007, 12:10
Having never visited this site myself, but is a guide really necessary?

Juergen Sattler
23-Nov-2007, 14:56
Yes, a guide is necessary, because you will not get to most of the locations without one. The Navajos don't want you to tour on your own - this is a source of income for them.

Brian Vuillemenot
23-Nov-2007, 17:11
Having never visited this site myself, but is a guide really necessary?

You can shoot a lot off of the road or even from the overlook at the visitor parking lot, but if you want to go to the best off the road sites at the best times of day, you need a guide.

Steve Sherman
24-Nov-2007, 08:30
I've lead a number of workshops in the area and anytime in Monument Valley we hired a guide by the name of Fredrick Cly. Took all day tours with his guides and then he and his wife arranged a full course steak and chicken barbeque at the end of our shooting day. Some of us ran late shooting while he and wife had food prepared and waiting. They never rushed us just took care of us first rate. On top of all this his father (name escapes me now) actually guided all the early photogs through the valley in the 40's, including the big fella, Ansel. He is an outstanding gentleman and first rate guide, we used him 4 or 5 times. Fred's Adventure Tours is based out of Mexican Hat Utah as the school systems are better there for his growing kids.

Good luck, Steve

Brian Ellis
24-Nov-2007, 11:37
There have been quite a few questions here about Monument Valley guides, if you search you should find a lot of helpful information. FWIW, my one experience hiring a guide at random from the booths outside the visitors center wasn't good at all. We paid in advance for a half day outing beginning at noon. Our guide showed up around 4:00 p.m. and left us time to visit only one site. And that one site turned out to be one of the most trite, overphotographed scenes in all of Monument Valley (Teardrop Rock). On another trip I hired a guide who was recommended by a friend and he was great - overnight camping, cooking meals, etc. So I'd strongly recommend hiring a guide who's recommended by someone with experience if at all possible and use the booths only as a last resort.

Jim Ewins
24-Nov-2007, 23:15
We've hired from Gouldings, one time, a full day just my wife & I. We didn't see anyone til we got close to the center. This year we went with a group half day in the afternoon and got great locations at sun down.

25-Nov-2007, 07:17
Hire a guide that is referenced in the forum. Cost is a bit pricey but if you are going to shoot Monument Valley they are necessary. The area is a harsh place to live and make a living. The guides at the center, although well meaning, are not what you want if you want to shoot LF. My wife and I went in October and there was almost nobody there. The self guided tour, which is a road around the place, is good but opens after sunrise and closes before sundown but they do leave a gate open to leave if you are caught out after sundown ;) . I read in the forum that one could shoot from the road which is true only for so long. Pretty soon they started getting on you for stopping on the road when they saw that you were taking anything but a "snapshot". Monument Valley was not the highlight of the trip but a must see because it is quite striking.
Go to "The Valley of the Gods" which is close to Monument. I am telling you, go to Valley of the Gods. One can drive around and take your time, you can even camp overnight, and is very close to Monument Valley and in fact you can see Monument from some places in the Valley. In Monument you will have people breathing down your neck most of the time and what images you get will have been done to death. The guys here also turned me on to "Photographing the Southwest", do get the book that you need, they are invaluable. It is beautiful and unique country so have a good trip.

Richard Adams