5 Reasons You Should Visit Valley of the Gods

Valley of the Gods, though similar to its neighbor Monument Valley, is perhaps a more striking example of the hidden treasures one can find tucked away throughout southern Utah. With isolated buttes, towering pinnacles and undulating pathways that seem to stretch on forever, it's as if you have the whole place to yourself. Here's how to explore it right.

Spend the night.
Unlike Monument Valley, Valley of the Gods is located on land owned and operated by the Bureau of Land Management, meaning it's without tribal restrictions. There are no designated trails or campgrounds, but there's plenty of backcountry where visitors can explore off the 17-mile dirt-and-gravel road that winds through the valley. Venture out, find a spot and bunker down for the night.

Wake up for sunrise.
In the morning, it's as if the entire valley comes to life. The sun peeks up just over the horizon and spreads a warm glow over every monument, mesa and butte. It's spectacular. Even better? No crowds.

Arrive in a 4x4.
You don't exactly need a 4x4 to experience Valley of the Gods, but having one sure makes the journey a lot more fun. Undulating pathways and rocky trails just begging to be explored litter the area and, unfortunately, these spots are off-limits for your four-person sedan.

Come prepared.
On the off-chance you get a flat or even decide on a whim to spend the night, make sure you have enough gas, power, tools, etc. to accommodate. The Valley of the Gods is as breathtaking a place as any in southern Utah, but Mother Nature can be tricky when you least expect it. Out in this area there are very few gas stations or convenience stores to hit up if you find yourself in a pickle.

In a time when travel has become synonymous with technology, the best way to enjoy a place of this caliber is to find a balance during your stay. Sure, you should most definitely capture those SnapChats and post those #sunset photos on Instagram, but please, I beg you, to put down the phone or the camera every once and a while to just enjoy the view before you.

Hillary Federico is a writer, editor and photographer born and raised in New England. In her search to figure out what she wanted to do with her life, Hillary journeyed to New York to try her hand as a writer for reality tv, jetted to Nicaragua where she launched a non-profit foundation, and spent hours in the kitchen contemplating quitting it all for culinary school. Follow her continued adventures on Instagram @hfederico or on her blog www.andtheretheygo.com.