Monticello Travel Guide
Monticello is a cool oasis in the midst of the Canyon Country region of southern Utah thanks to its elevation of 7,000 feet. Located at the base of the Abajo Mountains and near several impressive national parks such as Canyonlands, Monticello makes a decent base for exploring the area. But with a population of less than 2,000, there’s little do in town except stock up and get ready for your next outdoor adventure.
With Moab just 55 miles to the north, few visitors make Monticello a deliberate stop on their travels around southern Utah. But the town has all the amenities needed to keep you going as you explore the bounty of scenic attractions in the region. Nearly all the businesses are located along Monticello’s main street, where highways 191 and 666 meet. There are a number of basic motels, simple restaurants and gas stations, but little in the way of shops.
Within easy driving distance of town are such southwest highlights as the Needles section of Canyonlands, the Abajo Mountains and the Great Sage Plain. A bit farther down the road are the many Native American archeological sites of the Four Corners region such as Mesa Verde National Park.
Canyonlands: just 45 miles away is the surreal Needles district of Canyonlands National Park with its myriad hiking, biking and four-wheel drive roads.
Abajo Mountains: these pleasant mountains to the west of town offer the closest hiking and outdoor recreation opportunities to Monticello.
Newspaper Rock: this massive cliff is covered with three different periods of written Native American history in the form of pictographs and petroglyphs.
Needles District Road: highly recommended and staggeringly scenic, this small road is the easiest way to get into the heart of the impressive Needles area of Canyonlands.
Squaw Flats Scenic Byway: this quiet two-lane paved road passes through some of the most scenic parts of the desert around Monticello.