You might ask yourself, “What is Valley of the Gods”? Valley of the Gods is a scenic, sandstone valley with absolutely stunning geologic formations. It is located approximately 15 miles southwest of Bluff and about 35 miles from Monument Valley (see directions below). Valley of the Gods is now part of Bears Ears National Monument.
Visitors will find many scenic locations to stop and explore this special landscape. With nearby Monument Valley taking first prize for fame, visitors will encounter fewer tourists while meandering through Valley of the Gods and can enjoy a more personal experience. Permits are not required and there are no fees to drive Valley of the Gods unlike Monument Valley.
Locals have given the rock formations in Valley of the Gods names such as Rooster Butte, Setting Hen Butte, and Balanced Rock/Lady in a Tub. As you drive through Valley of the Gods, think about names you would give to these formations.
This geological masterpiece, though a quarter of the size of its celebrated neighbor, Monument Valley, boasts a royalty of rich colors and fantastic formations, and is quite stunning. Valley of the Gods sits at the base of Cedar Mesa.
So how was Valley of the Gods formed? First, you should know these rock shapes are sculpted from Cedar Mesa sandstone which dates back to the Permian period, around 250 million years ago. Second, rocks were deposited by a shallow sea which covered the area at that time. Yes, you read that right. There was a sea.
After the water receded, iron in the rocks mixed with oxygen to form rust with rich red and purple colors. Then, water, wind, and ice over millions of years eroded the stone carving the unique buttes, monoliths (single massive stone or rock), and pinnacles you see today.
The Valley of the Gods is truly a geological masterpiece, rightfully earning its reputation as “a photographer’s paradise.”
Valley of the Gods has been used as a filming location for two episodes of the BBC television show Doctor Who. A small cavern at the base of the famously red cliffs running along the north side of the valley provided the location for the helicopter to land in Airwolf (a 1980s TV series).
Valley of the Gods is toured via a 17-mile, unpaved driving loop. You should plan on at least 1 hour to drive the loop through Valley of the Gods. See our map of Valley of the Gods Utah below.
The east entrance is accessed off US-163 approximately 15 miles west of Bluff. The west entrance is accessed from US-261. Nearby, must-see attractions include the Goosenecks State Park, Moki Dugway and Muley Point.
The 17-mile loop is unpaved, but the graded gravel and clay surface road is suitable for cars when the road is dry. The road has a few sharp turns and crosses several washes. After inclement weather, check conditions before trying to drive Valley of the Gods in a passenger car. Contact the BLM in Monticello at 435-587-1500 for more information.
Permits are not required and there are no fees to drive Valley of the Gods unlike nearby Monument Valley.
Check out our Guide page for guiding companies that offer daytime and sunset tours of Valley of the Gods.
Driving the Valley of the Gods Loop from the East Entrance on US Highway 163
Driving the Valley of the Gods Loop from the West Entrance on Utah Highway 261
Hours: Valley of the Gods is managed by the BLM and is open year round.
Valley of the Gods has graded gravel and clay roads. Visitors are required to stay on the roads as no off road travel is permitted. In good weather, Valley of the Gods can be accessed by passenger cars. In inclement weather, check with the BLM office to inquire about road conditions.
Fees: None; Permits are not required.
Camping: Dispersed camping is allowed but only in previously impacted sites away from ponds and corrals. Campfires are not allowed.
Directions from Bluff: Valley of the Gods is about 15 miles from Bluff. Head south from Bluff on Highway 191. Continue straight as the road becomes Highway 163. Continue about 12 miles and Valley of the Gods will be on your right.
Telephone: Valley of the Gods is maintained by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Monticello Field Office, in Monticello, Utah. T: 435-587-1500