Monument Valley, Utah
With its flaming red buttes and rock spires, Monument Valley is one of North America's iconic landscapes, and Goulding's Lodge is our favorite place here to soak up the scenery and learn about Navajo culture and the history of the pioneers.
At a Glance
Motion picture perfect crimson buttes and endless desert views
A unique heritage from the 1920's trading post to Hollywood legends
Great shared tours of Monument Valley with Navajo guides
More than a lodge, Goulding's is a community supporting the tribal reserve
Fascinating museum and movie theater with Western favorites each evening
Goulding's may not be luxurious by any standard but it's all about the location, location, location! Its quirky character and history also make it one of my personal favorites.Maudie Tomlinson
Head to the Earth Spirit Theatre each evening at 8pm to watch a classic John Wayne filmAnna Bleasdale
To start planning your vacation to Gouldings Lodge
Monument Valley and the surrounding Navajo tribal lands have been a film set for countless Hollywood Westerns from John Ford's Stage Coach in 1939 to the latest Disney blockbuster The Lone Ranger. Chose to spend a night or two at Goulding's to soak up the magnificent iconic views, go off-roading on a guided tour into Monument Valley accompanied by a local Navajo guide, or stay for longer to soak up the serenity of the Valley and chase that perfect panoramic photograph.
Goulding's Lodge offers basic but comfortable accommodations, with the main lodge rooms looking out over the community to the flaming iconic red buttes and slender spires. The Lodge also has a handful of cabins and homes, some of which offer stunning valley views.
Goulding's is more than a lodge, and also exists as a community first founded in 1920. The Gouldings built a trading post here to conduct business with the local Navajo Indians, but during the Great Depression trade slowed and, in a desperate attempt to bring relief to the Navajo people and themselves, Harry and Mike Goulding headed out to Hollywood in search of a solution. By luck and perseverance, they met John Ford and convinced him Monument Valley would be the perfect location for a film and the next month, 'Stagecoach' became the first of nine classic films the crew filmed in the Valley, with the Navajo locals billed as extras and even stars.
Whereas other properties may offer fancier facilities, Goulding's has an impressive heritage, a fascinating museum run from the old Trading Post (funds go towards education for the Navajo community), a quirky movie theater showing John Ford and John Wayne Westerns filmed in the valley, and restaurant and shopping facilities run by the local Navajo community which, together, make it a unique and memorable stop on your American road trip.
The 62 lodges at Gouldings Lodge have private balconies offering views of Monument valley - everywhere you look, there is dramatic scenery to be seen. The rooms themselves are simple but cosy and have flat screen televisions, a DVD player, a mini refrigerator, a coffee maker and individual climate control. The Lodge also has a handful of private casitas dotted around the property with two or three bedrooms available on an adhoc basis.
The dining room at Goulding's Lodge is a typical diner but affords panoramic views of Monument Valley, best enjoyed whilst tucking into hearty Navajo and American South Western inspired cuisine. Due to Navajo regulations, it is worth noting that the reserve does not allow alcohol to be served.
The Trading Post Museum, which opened in 1989, is a must to get an insight into the old trading post established by the Gouldings in the 1920s. Anasazi artifacts, historical photographs and movie picture memorabilia bring the history of the Lodge and the Navajo Indian Reserve to life.
The Gift Shop at the lodge features many beautifully hand crafted products, there is an impressive collection of over 300 rugs, handmade jewelry, pottery and pieces of art.
Goulding's Lodge has a small indoor pool appreciated by families after a long-day out on tour, as well as wi-fi hot spots, movie rentals so you can watch Westerns from the comfort of your hotel room and Goulding's Grocery Store stocks refreshments, baked goods and fresh produce. There is also a gas station, Laundromat and ATM.
Monument Valley is a photographer's dream. Whether you want to take in the iconic movie sites of Monument Valley in a morning from The Mittens, John Ford’s Point, to the Three Sisters or get out to the Southern side of Monument Valley to ancient Pueblo Anasazi sites with well preserved rock art and archaeological sites, Goulding's tours led by Navajo guides who know the valley intimately and can get off-the-beaten-path. Tours can also be taken from the kiosks in the parking lot at the entrance to the park. Guests can also visit the rough and unpaved scenic driving loop covering 17-miles of the valley floor in their own SUV vehicle with a $5 entrance fee, though it is worth noting that tours can enter areas that private vehicles cannot.
Location & Directions
Monument Valley, Utah
When to go
Gouldings Lodge has a desert climate moderated by altitude, with cool to cold winters and warm to hot summers, and plenty of sunshine year-round. Spring and Fall enjoy mild days and cool nights whilst the summer months from June to August provide warm to hot days and pleasant evenings. Winter is marked by crisp days and cold evenings, with occasional light snow fall.