Valley of the Gods
Valley of the Gods is a scenic backcountry area is southeastern Utah, near Mexican Hat. It is a hidden gem with scenery similar to that of nearby Monument Valley. Valley of the Gods offers isolated buttes, towering pinnacles and wide open spaces that seem to go on forever.
Monument Valley is located on Navajo Nation land and visitors exploring the area usually travel with a Navajo guide. A permit from the tribe is needed before you can hike into the backcountry. Valley of the Gods offers similar scenery without the tribal restrictions; it is located on BLM land and is open for hiking, backpacking and camping.
There are no designated trails or campgrounds, but there is plenty of backcountry where you can wander and explore.
A 17-mile dirt and gravel road winds through the valley. It is sandy and bumpy, with steep sections. It provides a fun drive through an area that is usually deserted. It is a great place to get away from civilization - to get away from everything associated with modern life.
Bike enthusiasts enjoy riding the road through the valley.
Because of its isolated nature, people exploring Valley of the Gods need to be self-sufficient and carry emergency supplies. There are no facilities, no gas stations, stores or services. You may or may not see other travelers along the road.
The Valley of the Gods Road runs between Highways 163 and 261. The road forks away from Hwy 163 about 7.5 miles north of Mexican Hat. It winds north and west and then connects with Hwy 261 about 6.5 miles northwest of the point where Hwy 261 forks from Hwy 161.
The road is recommended for high clearance vehicles. During dry weather, many people drive the road in family cars - but be advised that it can be rough. When the weather is wet a 4X4 may be needed to get through.
The western end of the Valley of the Gods road connects with Hwy 261 just below what is known as the Moki Dugway. (The Moki Dugway is section of very tight switchbacks that allow Hwy 261 to climb the cliff face to the top of Cedar Mesa.)
As a side note, the scenic area has appeared in a couple TV shows. The 1984-1987 CBS show Airwolf used a mesa in Valley of the Gods as the secret hiding place of the super-helicopter Airwolf. And two episodes of the BBC science fiction TV show Doctor Who were filmed in The Valley of the Gods.