The Mexican Hat is very easy to get to and there are good roads around it so you can get good views from many angles.
It is best in morning and evening with clouds in the sky. In the late spring the vegetation behind the hat turns green and this is ideal.
Great place just off highway 89 between Page, AZ and Kanab Utah. This is a short .9 mile or so hike from the road and not too difficult.
The very best shooting is morning, evening (golden hour) or at night. There is lots to see and it can be VERY hot so bring water in the summer. There are several trails to the various Toadstools so you can explorer several of them. Take a wide angle lens and get close...try HDR and yes take a tripod.
Only crowded in peak season (June, July, August), especially on weekends. The small parking lot can get full. Be there early in the morning if you'd like to avoid a crowded parking lot.
Explore a desert wilderness of stunning canyons and fantastically formed buttes carved by the Colorado River.
The best time to visit Canyonlands National Park depends on what you are looking for and if you are willing to avoid the noon and afternoon heat by getting up early. Read on for our detailed 'when to go' tips:
Best months regarding the weather are April/May and September/October. During these months daytime highs average 60 to 80 F and lows average 30 to 50 F. Summer months get boiling hot with temperatures > 100 F, especially The Needles district. Not recommended for strenuous day hikes. If you decide to hike in the summer: Get up very early and be back by lunch time. Thunderstorms can happen in late summer and early fall. Winters are cold: highs 30 to 50 F and lows 0 to 20 F. The Needles District stays slightly warmer during winter due to its lower elevation.
Avoiding Tourist Crowds
With 450,000 visitors/year it’s less crowded than the major parks. Most visitors come here in April/May and September/October. During these peak months the popular spots might be busy. Despite the high temperatures, summer became also slightly more busy recently. While 'Island in the Sky' receives the highest visitation, 'The Maze' is the least busiest. If you visit in the popular months and want to beat possible crowds: Avoid weekends and start your tour very early. Besides, if you drive or hike far enough you won’t be sharing with your trail with others regardless of the season. If you want total solitude: November to February. However, some roads could be inaccessible.
‘Breathtaking! And when you see it in life it’s just epic in its proportions!’
Monument Valley is not a National Park. It’s a Navajo Tribal Park with a stunning desert like landscape in Arizona and an excellent year-round destination. Seasons with pleasant weather and without a lot of traffic on the scenic drive are early spring (late March/April) and late autumn (October). Cooler but very quiet months are the winter months from November until March. Read on for more season details (spring -summer - fall - winter), the best ‘WHEN TO GO’ tips and our detailed hotel and camping guide.
Weather and Visitation
Despite the possibility for extreme weather conditions with some very hot days in the summer and a few colder times in the winter, most days of the year are quite suitable for an enjoyable visit. Due to the higher elevation of 5200 feet it’s a little cooler in general. The Wind is a major force in the valley. Even in the warmer months of spring and fall, bring an extra layer of cloth as it can get chilly in the mornings or late evenings. Light rain gear is also a good idea.
April - May (Spring)
The average maximum daytime temperature in April is a pleasant 19°C (66°F). In May it gets warmer with an average maximum of 25°C (77°F). That means both months are perfect for a visit. Most April visitors report, that it’s still quiet most of the time. In May it gets busier but still not heavily crowded. Keep in mind that particularly from April into June it’s often more windy than usual and it can become horrible dusty due to heavy winds.
June - July - August (Summer)
Clear, warm, sunny days and cool nights make this a delightful season to visit. July and August bring the warmest conditions, with temperatures in the 90s (over 33 °C) but rarely exceed 100 °F. The Visitor Center, as well as the scenic drive, become very busy during these summer months. Always check the weather forecast for occasional summer thunderstorms, especially from July to mid-September.
September - October (Autumn)
Still warm in September and pleasant temperatures in October. Autumn provides some of the most stable weather of the year. Keep in mind that in September even after labor day the scenic drive and the Visitor Center are often still busy. In October the crowds get smaller and there is less traffic on the road.
November - March (Winter / Early Spring)
Mild cold weather conditions start around mid-November. Snow conditions start later around mid-December and can last until February/early-March. Even in the winter, temperatures below 0 °F (−18 °C) are rare. But still, a warm coat is highly recommended. The valley only receives an occasional light snowfall and sometimes snowstorms in the winter. However, the snow melts usually within a day or two. Most visitors report that it's no problem to drive with almost any kind of car in the colder months. Winter is the perfect time for solitude without the crowds and low prices. Lucky visitors can see the valley and rock formations dusted in snow. Later in early spring, March is a great month without the holiday crowds and temperatures get more pleasant as they can rise up to 60°F (15°C), nights and mornings are still cool and chilly though.
Avoiding Tourist Crowds (Visitor Center / View Hotel / Scenic Drive)
Crowds in Monument Valley means a busy road while driving the scenic loop, many tourists at the Visitor Center and a fully booked View Hotel. The busiest months are from May to September with a peak in the summer months: late June, July and August. (The ‘official peak-season’ with different opening times is from April through September) If you plan to stay at ‘The View Hotel’ in high season, book well in advance. Also, keep in mind that the hotel rates are at their highest. Sometimes there are even busy days / weekends on the road in April or October. However, most visitors experience a rather quiet drive in early spring or late autumn and real solitude in the winter. During busier months the traffic starts to pick up around 10 AM. That means you can’t just pull over and take pictures at will because of the traffic and dust. In peak season the major viewpoints are crowded resulting in big traffic jams. Avoid those busy times by starting early in the morning with less traffic and less dust. Even in early spring and late fall, you’ll benefit by heading out at breakfast time. Avoid weekends and try to go on a weekday. Another option is to visit in the cooler months or even in the winter: It’s colder, but especially in December, January and February you’ll experience peace and solace. November (up to 12°C / 54°F) as well as March (up to 14°C / 57°F) bring more pleasant temperatures but it’s still much quieter than during busier months.
Another possible alternative to get away from the crowds during high season: Either take the self-guided hike on the Wildcat-Trail (see below) in the morning or purchase one of the Navajo tours for smaller groups. Some visitors book a tour for their family group only. Further reading on seasons and crowds: Some interesting and useful ‘when to go’ statements on TripAdvisor Peak vs Off-Season
Time of Day (Sunrise/Sunset)
Sunrise is not only the best time to dodge the crowds and avoid a busy road, it’s also a magical moment. To experience a stunning sunrise in the winter or late fall, stay at The View Hotel as you can't get into the park before 8 AM in off-season from the outside. In peak season they open at 6 AM. However, most visitors say, that watching the sunrise from the View Hotel is priceless regardless of the season. If you can, stay until sunset as well. It’s spectacular and unforgettable! Quote from our user Ray Downs: “Sunrise is great everywhere and sunset is best from the parking lot of the view hotel parking lot...that is where the banner photo was taken.” Check sunrise and sunset in advance here: Sunrise - Sunset Times Monument Valley
Amazing natural arches and surreal landscape where you have to hike to. The arches are not visible from the road. Roads are mostly paved and can get crowded in peak summer months.
Anytime is magical! Most comfortable temperatures in spring and fall. End of summer violent storm and heavy rainfall can occur which quickly causes flash floods.
More than 1.4 million visitors each year and the number is still growing. The most popular months are from March to October. Delicate Arch is the most famous one. Often there are more than hundred people and even more at sunset. Winter is great without crowds, but can be very cold. If you have snow trails can get slippery.
To avoid crowds and to get your car parked arrive early morning or even better late afternoon when temps are getting cooler. Morning and evening are best times to photograph.
TIP: If you want to avoid 100 degree temps but still enjoy comfortable weather go April, May or September, October. In September, it gets less crowded after Labor Day. Again, crowded in October at the Utah Education Association break
[updated by whentobewhere]
Just a short hike from the road, you will find Mesa arch. It is nice any time but magical in the morning and also at night with a full moon.