We are always on the lookout for interesting, off-the-beaten-path places to explore. In Monument Valley, that place would be 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.
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.
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.
However, viewed through Teardrop Arch, Monument Valley is stunning.
If you want a unique photo opportunity, it’s hard to beat Teardrop Arch.
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.
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 take this iconic photo.
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.
More information for your trip to Monument Valley:
- Guide to Monument Valley: The Ultimate Guide to Monument Valley
- Sunrise Tour: What to Expect on a Monument Valley Sunrise Photography Tour
- Road Trip Idea: 10 Days in the American Southwest: The Ultimate Road Trip
- Road Trip Idea: The Ultimate Arizona Road Trip Itinerary
- Slot Canyons: 10 Amazing Slot Canyons to Explore in the American Southwest
What do you think? Would you consider visiting Teardrop Arch? Let us know in the comment section below!
Are you planning a trip to the United States? Read all of our articles about the USA in our United States Travel Guide.
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