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Will Monument Valley be open for the “ring of fire” solar eclipse on Oct. 14? No—the iconic destination within the Navajo Nation on the Arizona-Utah border will be closed for five hours over the “ring of fire” annular solar eclipse, it has been confirmed.
A public notice dated Friday, Sept, 15 is now displayed on the website of the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park that reads:
“Please Be Advised the Navajo Tribal Parks will be in observance of the Eclipse on October 14, 2023 in regards to cultural beliefs during the eclipse. Navajo Tribal Parks will be Closed from 8:00 am and will reopen at 1:00 pm.”
Monument Valley Tribal Park is part of the Navajo Nation in northeastern Arizona, northwestern New Mexico and southeastern Utah. There are around 400,000 tribal members.
Navajo Cultural Beliefs
In Navajo culture, the event is called jóhonaa’éí daaztsą́ (“the sun is dead”) and sees the rebirth of the sun after the event. Many Navajo people will be inside fasting and praying. Expect local businesses to be closed and follow the Visit With Respect guidelines.
The letter from Adeline Tohannie, Park Manager at Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, goes on to say that the 17-mile scenic drive and park will be closed, with a few staff who are willing to work observing and enforcing park closure.
Home to iconic sandstone “mittens,” the solar eclipse will occur between 9:10 a.m. MDT and 12:01 p.m. MDT on Oct. 14, with the “ring of fire” visible from the area for 4 minutes 16 seconds at 10:29 am MDT, according to Timeanddate.com. Solar eclipse glasses must be used to observe the entire event.
Monument Valley Tribal Park is one of dozens of scenic locations in the Four Corners region—where Utah, Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico meet—in the narrow 125 miles wide path from where the “ring of fire” will be visible. The path stretches from Oregon through Texas, though most Americans will see a partial solar eclipse.
Nearby Goulding’s Lodge will be open and have glasses on sale for both lodge guests and visitors. Another location close to Monument Valley Tribal Park that will definitely be open for the eclipse includes Goosenecks State Park, which will be staging a Ring of Fire Fest event ($5) with telescopes, solar binoculars, food booths and some free solar eclipse glasses.
Note: when visiting backcountry locations expect facilities and resources to be few. Be prepared and bring everything you need—a full tank of fuel, food, cash, toilet paper, ice—because it may not be available in your location.
I am the editor of WhenIsTheNextEclipse.com and author of “The Complete Guide To The Great North American Eclipse of April 8, 2024.”
Wishing you clear skies and wide eyes.