Valley of the Gods was the first stop on our two-week ambitious itinerary. Coming from flat flat Florida, the minute we got out of Vegas and started our 7-8 hour drive toward the mountains I felt a tremendous joy bubbling up in my stomach. There’s just something about mountains!
We didn’t get there until after sunset. Still, the soft moon light was enough to make out the overarching stone formations on both sides of the road. We immediately find a spot between two arches calling our names and set camp there.
Note: Valley of the Gods has no entrance fee and backcountry camping is completely free (no need to book anything or apply for a permit. Yay!)
The next morning we wake up in awe of the deep red rocks surrounding us and I’m immediately reminded of how much I absolutely love camping.
The unique rock formations are given pretty interesting names based on Navajo interpretations. We spotted rocks named Lady in the Tub, Mexican Hat, Seven Sailors, Santa and Rudolph among others. It also gets pretty fun to let your imagination go and name them yourself. They are all fairly close to one another. Below are some pictures of a map and the different trails that I found posted by the west entrance:
We drove around Valley of the Gods for quite some time and decide to hike to Devil’s Window. The total route roundtrip was about 9 miles. Make sure to download a GPS-based app (we used maps.me) to keep track of the trail as there are no markers at all and it is extremely easy to get lost on the way back. The entire hike took us about four hours in the blistering heat (bring as much water as possible), we also brought hats which really helped with the sun. Just be careful climbing the last part up to the window as it’s sand stone and when under pressure, easily crumbles apart. The view from the top is absolutely fantastic though; it gives you a panoramic view of the entire valley.
Realizing the enormity of this place we drove a bit more north to reach an overlook. At this point, we’re not just hungry for better views but also for a warm meal. So we stop by the side of the road with canyon view to cook some pasta, take a nap bathing in the afternoon sunlight and just enjoy the mars-like landscape.
On the way out of the park we make some more stops by the side of the road. The Mexican Hat rock brought out my inner salsa dancer as you can tell.
… and even at far distances the valley doesn’t fail to impress.
“Cool story, bro. But how much did it cost?”
Car rental and gas prices: see this post
Food: see this post
Park entrance: free
Total: For a breakdown of costs for the entire two-week trip see this post