SingleRoadTrip: Leg 3 – Page, AZ to
Catch up on Leg 2 of my trip here.
Day 10: Page, AZ to Monument Valley – 124 miles
I had hoped to check out some sites between Page and Monument Valley, but with COVID striking the Navajo Nation hard, many sites were closed. The park of Monument Valley is also closed, but Highway 163 that runs through the Valley is open. The highway allows you to view all of the structures, but from a distance.
After driving through the Valley, I headed up to the Valley of the Gods. Valley of the Gods was part of Bears Ears National Monument but was excluded in 2017. It is still a protected area managed by BLM. In my opinion, the area is incredible and I am shocked it isn’t a national park.
The road through through the area is 17 miles long and is dirt; so I wouldn’t suggest it unless you have a truck or AWD vehicle. My Subaru did great, but you still have to take things slow. The route took me about an hour to drive through with stopping a few times for photos.
I stopped at a restaurant for outside, social distance dining in a fantastic location. I tried the delicious Navajo tacos.
I spent the night at the KOA Campground located in the middle of Monument Valley. The views are fantastic (though just feet off of the highway) and the facilities modern and clean.
Day 11 – Monument Valley to Albuquerque – 315 miles
Waking up to a light rain in Monument Valley, I tore down my tent and hit the road. I stayed on the route Google Maps set out for me with no detours. I arrived to the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort and Spa and checked in around 2pm.
Day 12 & 13 – Hyatt Regency Tamaya – Albuquerque – 0 miles
I was happy to take a break from the road and left my car parked for two straight days.
Day 14 – Albuquerque to Santa Fe to Durango, CO – 263 miles
Leaving Albuquerque, I made a stop in Santa Fe to get some “Christmas” chili at Tia Sophia’s.
As soon as I crossed in to Colorado it started to rain. By the time I got to Durango the weather cleared up and I was able to explore the old town.
I spent the night at the DoubleTree along the river.
Day 15 – Durango to Montrose – 109 miles
I took the “Million Dollar Highway” (US 550), part of the Alpine Loop of the San Juan Skyway, that is often cited as one of the most scenic drives in America. It takes you over a number of 10,000 ft. passes and past old mining towns.
There are a ton of forest roads, including some that parallel the highway, that you can take if you have an AWD vehicle. I decided to try Forest Road 825, also known as Brooklyn Road. The road tops out at an elevation of 12,139 ft. It offers some amazing views and passes by some old abandoned mines. Do not take these side roads unless you have an all wheel drive or 4×4 vehicle.
Total Miles: 2,685
Continue reading about Leg 4 of the road trip here.