What to do and see in Monticello, United States: The Best Places and Tips

July 24, 2017 Vergie Nakamoto

Monticello (/mɒntɪˈsɛloʊ/ MON-ti-SEL-oh) is a city located in San Juan County, Utah, and is the county seat. It is the second most populous city in San Juan County, with a population of 1,958 at the 2000 census. The Monticello area was settled in July 1887 by pioneers from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Monticello, named in honor of Thomas Jefferson's estate, became the county seat in 1895 and was incorporated as a city in 1910.
Restaurants in Monticello

1. Newspaper Rock Recreation Site

State Highway 211, Monticello, UT 84535 +1 435-628-2238
Excellent
56%
Good
32%
Satisfactory
10%
Poor
2%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 212 reviews

Newspaper Rock Recreation Site

A giant rock covered with ancient petroglyphs.

Reviewed By Dmarkwind - Kansas City, Missouri

The news here is that nearly 2,000 years of human artistic expression can be found on one big rock. A plethora of petroglyphs depict human figures, animals, birds, and abstract designs. A coating a dark “desert varnish” makes the patterns and symbols on the rock face stand out very clearly. Represented by the art are ancestral puebloans, Fremont, Paiute, Navajo, as well as Anglo travelers. The way the artwork is presented - it’s a little like graffiti because even archeologists aren’t entirely sure who contributed what when or what some of the symbols are meant to represent. This monument sits only about 150 feet off of highway 211 on Bureau of Land Management land located on the way to the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park. In addition to the monument rock, there’s clean restrooms and a few trails.

2. Chesler Park Loop Trail

State Road 211, Needles District, Monticello, UT
Excellent
91%
Good
7%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
0%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 57 reviews

Chesler Park Loop Trail

Reviewed By taj24 - SLC, UT

6.4 miles round trip of beautiful panoramic views. Our 10 and 8 year olds handled it just fine and there were lots of places to explore and climb. Follow the signs for chesler park as there are several other trails that connect. Could turn this into a longer hike by going past chesler park to druid arch. Steep at first from the parking lot, then levels off with a few ups and downs, then another steep part to the view point of chesler park. You could stop in the bowl at the 3 mile mark before the saddle that is the view point and be just fine. Views are phenomenal all along the trail and just keep getting better. On a warm day will need lots of water as it is pretty exposed. Took us 4 hours round trip...A little over 2 hours there, an hour and 15 minutes back and 1/2 hour for lunch break.

3. The Hideout Golf Club

648 S. Hideout Way, Monticello, UT 84535 +1 435-226-1292
Excellent
87%
Good
11%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 36 reviews

The Hideout Golf Club

Reviewed By Hankspond - Salt Lake City, Utah

The Hideout Golf Course lived up to its reputation as being one of Utah's best course. Challenging but very playable for the average golfer. Lots of wildlife to cheer you on.
10 to 15 degrees cooler than Moab making it a good choice on the hotter days.
Course is in great shape.

4. Canyon Country Discovery Center

1117 N. Main St, Monticello, UT 84535 +1 435-587-2156
Excellent
87%
Good
13%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 15 reviews

Canyon Country Discovery Center

Canyon Country Discovery Center, offers hands-on educational experiences about the Colorado Plateau through exhibits, adventure education field trips, workshops, professional development training, citizen science projects, and classes on our campus, and throughout the Colorado Plateau. We also offer night time sky programs, River Trips, Bear's Ears Monument tours, Hiking Day Trips, Camping, all designed to make your trip amazing. Check out our facility rentals for your next company retreat, family reunion, wedding or meeting.

Reviewed By Mamacitadedos - New Mexico

This is a great place for families! The climbing wall is perfect for kids. The educational activities are AMAZING! Great place outside to play and a wonderful trail to hike! Can't wait to return!Thank you! Our bouldering wall is a real treat and simple for those learning to climb.

5. Monticello Welcome Center

216 S Main St, Monticello, UT 84535 +1 435-587-3401
Excellent
57%
Good
22%
Satisfactory
11%
Poor
2%
Terrible
8%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 36 reviews

Monticello Welcome Center

Reviewed By Steve C - Annapolis, Maryland

Attached to the Frontier Museum is the Visitor CenterIt. the Mormon ladies who staff the Center are extremely friendly and filled with local information and lore.

We chatted it up with the ladies who ran the Visitor Center. The neatest thing in the whole place was “Little Town”, an amazing diorama of Monticello between 1888-1911.

It's all free and they have a huge assortment of brochures and books about the area. they also have nice, clean bathrooms and some vending machines.

For more travel tips, please check out my popular travel blog.

6. Frontier Museum

216 South Main St, Monticello, UT 84535 +1 435-587-3401
Excellent
49%
Good
28%
Satisfactory
19%
Poor
4%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 21 reviews

Frontier Museum

Reviewed By exbiztraveller - England

...desk staff one weekday when we called. Coffee, biscuits and plently of advice. Really good bookshop, maps etc. Plus spotless toilet facilities. Monticello may be a dump, but this place is a great asset to the community. Museum is missable,Thank you for stopping by and for the feedback! Please feel free to email me ([email protected]) with any recommendations on improving the overall quality of our city. Safe travels!

7. Big Four Tractor

232 S Main St., Monticello, UT 84535 +1 435-587-3401
Excellent
65%
Good
21%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
0%
Terrible
7%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 14 reviews

Big Four Tractor

The Big 4 Tractor is an important piece of Monticello Utah's farming history. In addition to the mechanized revolution that forever changed farming in America beginning in the 1850's with the development of new machines making the back breaking work of farming easier. Built in 1912, the Big 4 was initially designed for road work. Over time it was transferred between various dry farms in the area.

Reviewed By Steve C - Annapolis, Maryland

Next to the Frontier Museum and Visitor Center in an adjacent barn is the ginormous 20-feet-long by ten-feet-wide by eleven-feet-high, 650 rpm, 22,725-pound, 4-cylinder gas tractor called the “Big Four “30” – The Giant Horse” made in 1913 by the Emerson-Brantingham Company of Minneapolis. It is a remnant of olden days when colossus machinery ruled the day.

The initial cost of this behemoth that moved along at a top speed of 3 mph and needed a full time maintenance crew, was $4,000, a hefty price indeed in those days for a little shitkicker town in the middle of nowhere. But the local working wage per day was $11.20, and the total cost for using the Big Four tractor in grubbing and plowing was $3.51. So it was a good deal – at least for a few years, until it started regularly breaking down. Eventually, they just dug a big hole out in the desert and buried the amazing thing.

It doesn't cost anything to see the tractor and it's definitely worth a few minutes of you time to see something truly extraordinary.

For more travel tips, please check out my popular travel blog.

8. Loyd's Lake

Monticello, UT
Excellent
64%
Good
18%
Satisfactory
18%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 11 reviews

Loyd's Lake

Reviewed By Steve C - Annapolis, Maryland

If you are going to Lloyd's Lake, you should coontinue along the lake road for another thirty minutes up to the top of the Abajo Mountains

Following the directions that we had been given by the friendly lass at the Discovery Center, we took an amazing drive to the very top of the Abajo Mountains, following 200 West and Abajo Road out of town and then turning left after Dalton Springs where there was a sign to Lloyd’s Lake.

The gravel road climbed steeply through Gambel oak, and then aspen and conifer forests before rising above the tree line into a surreal alpine zone where large pieces of shattered brown rectangular Laccolith rock blocks looked like they had been dumped across the face of the lush green-meadow mountains that surprisingly resembled the Alps. The road was suitable for a SUV, and maybe a passenger car with high clearance, but was definitely not for the faint of heart because there was a sheer drop of at least a thousand feet on the left side of the narrow, steep cobble-littered road, and there were no barriers for the last mile up to the summit. If you got too close to the edge, that’s all she wrote.

At the top there was a communication complex of cell towers and barely room to park, but we squeezed our vehicle into a space between two spruce trees and the views from the tippy-top were absolutely stunning.

On the way back down from Abajo Peak we stopped at Lloyd’s Lake for a short hike around the shoreline. The only other person around was a lone fishermen, sitting in a lawn chair half asleep.

For more travel tips, please check out my popular travel blog.

9. ROAM Industry, LLC.

117 North Main Street, Monticello, UT 84535 +1 435-590-2741
Excellent
100%
Good
0%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 4 reviews

ROAM Industry, LLC.

Roam Industry is to be the focal point of human powered outdoor adventure in San Juan County, Utah by offering the best in gear, activity, remote accommodations, and services. Our mission at Roam Industry is to be the leading source in backcountry adventure as well as wilderness skills and education in San Juan County, Utah. Our hope is to be a source to clients we bring to the area as well as the local community.

Reviewed By codyrey - Springville, Utah

I have used Roam Industries several times to plan and guide my trips. They are thorough in their planning and very knowledgeable of the area and the proper gear needed for several different types of excursions. They've helped me on a variety of trips including climbing, biking, backpacking, bike packing, and skiing. I love to support local small businesses like these. They are down to earth and were flexible especially when I showed up with some ruckus teenagers that were ill-equipped for the trip. Dustin and Natalie are some of the coolest people you'll meet and I plan on going on more trips with them for sure. Highly recommended.

10. Church Rock

Monticello, UT 84535
Excellent
10%
Good
30%
Satisfactory
60%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

3.5 based on 10 reviews

Church Rock

Reviewed By BradJill - Hong Kong, China

For those driving along US Route 191 between Moab and Monticello, there is an interesting land formation called the Church Rock that you will find just along the road, 7 miles north of Monticello, near the Route 211 turnoff to the Needles District of Canyonland's NP.

This is a 60 metre tall, solitary land formation that is in the shape of a church. The large rock is made of harder Entrada sandstone which was surrounded by softer mudstone layers which were eroded long ago, leaving this isolated landmark standing on its on in the field next to the highway.

Unfortunately, The Church Rock now rests on private land so it can't be accessed directly by the public. However, the area around is rather empty, making it the prominent landmark in the area. As such, you really can't miss Church Rock and will see it from some distance as you approach by road. Just have a look at you pass by or stop your vehicle for a pic or two if interested. Then carry on with your road trip journey.

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