Photographing the Mittens Shadow at Monument Valley

The weekend of September 11, 2021 i drove a Ford Mustang to Monument valley. I had previously visited during covid shut down but had not been able to drive the 17 mile loop due to being closed. I decided to take my own tent and stay at Rent A Tent that is located along Monument Valley drive and close to the park entrance. The drive to Monument Valley from Grand Junction, Colorado is fantastic especially in a top down Mustang, i drove via Cisco and the old HWy 128 into Moab. From Moab it’s a scenic drive all the way driving past Valley of The Gods and Mexican Hat.

When i arrived at Rent a Tent a small off the grid camping site a nice lady met me at the entrance and took me down to the tent site. It was very hot and i ended up renting one of their tents that has a comfortable bed and everything you need for camping. This place is normally booked out solid so it was amazing that i had the opportunity to stay so close to Monument Valley for a very affordable price.

Excited to see the Mittens at sunset i drove into the park. Cost to get in was $20 and the pass was valid for two days. The last time i had visited in May the park was closed unless you were staying at the View Hotel or cabins and then you could only see the view from the hotel balcony. Everything else at that time was strictly off limits with people watching us in vans to make sure we did not go over the park line. I was curious this time on what would be open and what i would be allowed to do. To my surprise it seemed that the trails were open and the valley loop drive was also open to a limited number of private vehicles. I was told to arrive early for a good chance to enter the park in my own car or the only other way would be by a private tour.

I spent the golden hour wandering along the rim trail taking photos of different views of the Mittens. I had the trail to myself as the park despite being open was quiet due to lack of foreign tourists. After sunset i returned to my tent and watched the milky way bow rising and listened to the blissful sound of tribal drumming happening somewhere off in the distance.

The next morning i got up at 5pm to a sky full of stars and drove to the valley drive loop entrance located near the cabins. Not sure exactly what time it would open i waited around and eventually a guide showed up about 6.15am, i had to fill out a form and sign a waiver. I was the first in line and the sun was yet to rise so i was looking forward to the colorful views.

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