Julie United States 15 Comments

We are always on the lookout for interesting, off-the-beaten-path places to explore. In Monument Valley, that place would be Teardrop Arch.

Teardrop Arch

On a visit to Monument Valley, most people self-drive the 17-mile Tribal Park Loop, which takes you past the very popular sites such as The Mittens and John Ford’s Point. Taking a tour lets you explore further and most people choose either Lower Monument Valley or Mystery Valley.

We drove the 17-mile loop and took a sunrise photography tour of Lower Monument Valley. For a different view of Monument Valley, and to do a little bit of hiking, we opted to take the “unpopular” tour to Teardrop Arch.

So, was it worth it?

Teardrop Arch in Monument Valley

Where is Teardrop Arch?

Teardrop Arch is located west of Interstate 163 near Gouldings Lodge. From the Monument Valley Visitor Center, it is about a 15 minute drive to get here, the last portion on unmarked, sandy roads.

Teardrop Arch Map

About Our Experience

Earlier in the day, our guide on our photography tour warned us that Teardrop Arch is not very exciting. This had Tim and I wondering if we made the right decision scheduling this tour.

Because of its “unpopularity,” we were the only two people on the tour out to Teardrop Arch in the afternoon. We used Navajo Spirit Tours and our guide was Sean. Sean told us that people rarely book this tour and the last time he led a group out to Teardrop Arch was one month ago.

Yikes!! Was this going to be a waste of time?!

Sean drove us past Gouldings Lodge and then onto sandy roads to Horse Shoe Canyon. It was here that Sean parked our vehicle and we walked for 15 minutes through desert terrain and up onto a rocky outcropping to Teardrop Arch.

Horse Shoe Canyon


From here, we had a view of Monument Valley. It’s a nice view, but with the buttes and mesas so far away and the local public schools in the foreground, I can see how this would not be the favorite view of most visitors to Monument Valley.

Monument Valley View from Teardrop Arch


However, viewed through Teardrop Arch, Monument Valley is stunning.

Monument Valley


If you want a unique photo opportunity, it’s hard to beat Teardrop Arch.

Tim Rivenbark

Earth Trekkers


Knowing that Tim and I are hikers, Sean modified the tour so we could visit more than just Teardrop Arch. For the next hour, we scrambled up and down the sandstone formations, explored caves, and learned about the Anasazi people who once lived here. It was just the three of us, and to be able to explore like this was pure fun.

Hiking Teardrop Arch

Monument Valley Tour

Monument Valley in May

Anasazi Cave

View from the Cave

For us, it was a wonderful experience, and we really had a great time.

Why go to Teardrop Arch?

If you like getting away from the crowds, this is a great tour to take. If you want an alternative view of Monument Valley, Teardrop Arch offers you a very unique perspective. And if you want to do a little hiking, this is the best tour to take in Monument Valley.

So, is Teardrop Arch Worth It?

We say yes!

However, if you have limited time in Monument Valley, the #1 thing you must do is drive the 17-mile Tribal Park Loop. This loop hits the highlights of Monument Valley.

You also must make the quick drive out to Forrest Gump point (37.101620, -109.990654 on Google Maps) so you can get this iconic view.

Forrest Gump Monument Valley

If you have time for a tour, Teardrop Arch is definitely one to consider. It is pure fun, offering unique views of Monument Valley, and you just may have it all to yourself.

If you are traveling with kids, this may be more interesting for them than just driving around looking at buttes and mesas all day. They will enjoy exploring the caves and rock scrambling.

Scheduling Your Tour to Teardrop Arch

We used Navajo Spirit Tours and paid $80 per person. Our guide, Sean, was fabulous, modifying our tour to fit our interests and teaching us about the history of Monument Valley. Navajo Spirit Tours offers many different tours in Monument Valley and they get rave reviews from other customers.

If you want to hike to the caves after visiting the Arch, let the staff know when you book your tour. Our understanding is that the “normal” tour just takes you to Teardrop Arch. For us, it was the hiking part of the tour that made this so much fun.

The entire tour lasted about two and a half hours, including transportation time.

More Tours in Monument Valley

Another popular tour is to Mystery Valley, where petroglyphs and the history of the Anasazi people are the highlight. We did not take this tour, so I cannot comment if it is better that Teardrop Arch.

We also took a sunrise photography tour of Lower Monument Valley with Phillips’ Photography Tours. This is highly recommended if you are interested in photography. If you do not like the idea of waking up so early, many companies also offer daytime tours of Lower Monument Valley.

The ultimate excursion in Monument Valley is the day trip (with an optional overnight stay) on Hunt’s Mesa. Pricing out around $300 per person, this was too expensive for our budget. But what you get are unbelievable sunset views over Monument Valley and a steak dinner cooked over a campfire. It’s a long excursion, lasting about 7 hours, and most of that time is spent driving over rugged terrain. It sounds awesome and we strongly considered it, but the price tag was too high. But if you are looking for an adventure and the best view of Monument Valley, put Hunt’s Mesa on your list.

What do you think? Would you consider visiting Teardrop Arch? Let us know in the comment section below!

More information for your trip to Monument Valley

MONUMENT VALLEY: Learn what there is to do and how to plan your visit in our Guide to Monument Valley. We also have an article on what to expect on a Monument Valley Sunrise Tour.

ARIZONA ITINERARIES: If you are looking for road trip ideas through Arizona, we have a couple of good ones. See the highlights of Arizona in our 10 Day Arizona Itinerary, visit the Grand Canyon and Utah’s Mighty 5 in our Two Week American Southwest Itinerary, and visit parts of Arizona, Las Vegas, and southern Utah in our 10 Day American Southwest Itinerary.

ANTELOPE CANYON: Journey through Upper Antelope Canyon and Lower Antelope Canyon in photos. If you only have time for one, don’t miss our article Should You Visit Upper or Lower Antelope Canyon?

SEDONA: To learn what there is to do in Sedona, read our article Best Things to Do in Sedona. To help you plan your time, check out our One Day in Sedona Itinerary and Sedona Itinerary Ideas for 1 to 6 days. For links to all of our Sedona articles, check out our Sedona Travel Guide.

GRAND CANYON ROAD TRIP: If the Grand Canyon is on your to do list, learn how to combine it with other places in Arizona, Nevada, and Utah with our Grand Canyon Road Trip Ideas.


Are you planning a trip to the United States? Read all of our articles about the USA in our United States Travel Guide.


Teardrop Arch Monument Valley Tour


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Comments 15

  1. Avatar for Tammie Young
    Tammie Young

    Hi! We are huge fans of Monument Valley (our special place) and are getting married there in March. However, the Navajo Nation isn’t issuing permits right now so our wedding planner thinks Tear Drop Arch would be good. Our officiant is Navajo. I noticed that in one of your captions you said yall stopped and hiked 15 minutes to the Arch. Is it a difficult hike or just a walk? My 69-year-old mother will be there.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      If I remember correctly (it’s not been a few years since we did this), it was a mostly flat walk in gravel/sand followed by a short uphill walk on giant boulders to the viewpoint. My mom is a few years older and I think she could do this, if you took your time. It’s a beautiful spot and off the beaten path and I think it’s a wonderful place to get married. Cheers, Julie

  2. Avatar for Deb Sell
    Deb Sell

    Thanks for the write up and pics. I am going for 3 days in Oct and will do this one…like the idea of something different and this looks perfect. Sounds like you recommend the tour company you went with as well? Travelling with a mobility assist service dog so hoping that isn’t an issue (he’s fully trained). Looking forward to this!

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
  3. Avatar for G Harper
    G Harper

    Thank you for a great writeup. You have a picture of what appears to be an Anasazi dwelling inside a cave. How close was this to Teardrop arch or how far of a hike from one to the other? Thanks!

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      This was about a 20 minute walk from Teardrop Arch. If you want to add it on to your tour, ask your guide or the tour company ahead of time so they can allot enough time to visit this, since this is an extra add-on to the typical Tear Drop Arch tour. Cheers, Julie

  4. Avatar for Jade Mathew
    Jade Mathew

    Hy Julie, I am JADE MATHEW, I also love traveling and exploring new destination, Your photos are looking Great, These photos make me want to make a long trip with my friends. Traveling always makes people me Happy And fullfill my soul With Joy and happiness

  5. Avatar for Mel Coker
    Mel Coker

    Great review and perspective. Awesome information and pictures. We are doing a 12 day, 11 night epic Road trip in Utah May 8-19 of this year. Your blog has been helpful and I’ve included your link into my itinerary ( melcoker.com/utah2019.pdf ) and on my own travel page: http://www.melcoker.com

    Y’all have lots of fun and that is fantastic!

    Chapin, SC

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      1. Avatar for yvon TESSIER
        yvon TESSIER

        We will go atMonument Valley, please at what time of the journey you had visited TEAR DROP ARCH??
        We believe that we can’t go alone , we must take aguide?

        Thank you and sory for my bad english language
        Take care

        1. Avatar for Julie Post

          Hello Yvon. Thanks for writing in to us. We did the Teardrop Tour in the afternoon of our second day in Monument Valley. The only way to do this is with a guide since it is on Navajo land. You can click the link in this article to use the same company that we used…they were great. Cheers, Julie

  6. Avatar for Kati

    Hi Julie,

    Your photos always make me want to pack my bags straight away!! I’ve read quite a few of your posts over the last year (pretty much all your Australia ones 🙂 ) but have just never commented.

    I know you guys are hikers and I’m curious of why you went on a tour there. Can you not hike there by yourself (is that a silly question to ask?? Excuse my ignorance…)?

    What time of year did you go? We went to the Northern Territory last year at the end of Aug/early September and it was seriously too hot for me already. I’d expect similar temperatures (if not higher?) in Monument Valley so keen to hear what time of year would be best to visit.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Hello Kati. We visited Monument Valley the first week of May and I thought the temperatures were great. Mid 70’s to 80’s (Fahrenheit) during the day, down into the 30’s at night. Temperatures can fluctuate but that was our experience in May. Monument Valley is part of “Navajo Nation,” an area owned by the Navajo Indians. Most parts of Monument Valley are only accessible if you have a guide. There is a scenic drive through Monument Valley that you can do on your own, but everything else, including Tear Drop Arch, needs to be done with a guide. Check out our Monument Valley Guide if you haven’t seen it yet…it will give you more info if you are planning a trip to this area. It’s a really cool spot, similar in some ways to Uluru. Cheers, Julie

  7. Avatar for Pilot Mark
    Pilot Mark

    This looks beautiful, guys. Sometimes its good to go off the beaten track to find something unique! I was recently in Ecuador and loved exploring the Cloud Forest…I lost myself amongst the beauty of the wilderness that surrounded me and felt like I avoided a typical tourist trap.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      That sounds amazing! I think it’s good to see the touristy spots (they’re popular for a reason) but it’s nice to mix it up with some unexpected places. Cheers, Julie

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