During the intense and unforgettable days of my journey from Las Vegas to Monument Valley, my ability to tell time was put to the test. I felt like I was in a daze because of the rush from one stop to the next, the beauty and incredible variety of places that were completely new to me, and the constantly changing landscapes.
But aside from these aspects mentioned in my romanticized account of my experience, there came a moment in the journey when I honestly could no longer understand what time it was and I risked not being able to follow the itinerary. I asked myself: “Does Arizona have 2 time zones?” It happened while I was traveling through Utah and the two different areas of Arizona – In my case, the stops, in order, were Bryce Canyon, Page e Monument Valley.
Does Arizona have 2 time zones?
Obviously, there is a rational explanation for US time zones, particularly the time zone in Arizona. In the Grand Canyon State, it’s a bit complex to understand what time it is, because of different factors. Let’s start from the beginning. A classic 3-weeks West Coast road trip typically crosses these four states: California, Nevada, Arizona and Utah. Of these states:
- California and Nevada adopt Pacific Time
- Arizona and Utah adopt Mountain Time
If this were the only distinction, it would be relatively easy to determine the correct time zone, but there are two more factors:
- Arizona does not apply daylight saving time, so the time remains the same throughout the year. California, Nevada and Utah, on the contrary, do apply daylight saving time.
- Arizona has another deciding factor, which is that the Navajo Nation, which is mostly in Arizona, has decided to apply daylight saving time, thus differentiating itself from the rest of Arizona.
Let’s take a closer look at Arizona’s time zone, which is what we are most interested in.
Arizona Time Zone: Difference between Page and Monument Valley
The time zone in Arizona varies depending on where you are in the state. The vast Navajo Nation also includes Monument Valley, the beautiful park of the Southwest that sits on the border between Arizona and Utah which is run by the Navajo. Daylight saving time is in effect here and therefore, from the second Sunday of March to the first Sunday of November, there will be this area will be an hour ahead of the rest of Arizona, and it will be the same time as Utah.
Then you will head towards Page – a lucky town in Arizona overlooking the Colorado River – to explore Antelope Canyon, which is certainly worth visiting. This famous slot canyon is run by the Navajo, but the area is not within the geographical boundaries of the Navajo Nation, which is why here in Page the Navajo, in order to make it easier for travelers, aplpy the time zone used in the rest of Arizona. Still confused? Let me tell you about my experience in detail.
From Page to Monument Valley: how the time zone changes
It was September. I was in Page. I spent the day visiting Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend and Lake Powell and then I spent the night in Page. The next day I left Page around 9:00 am and headed to Monument Valley, which takes about 2 hours. When I arrived at the park’s entrance, I realized that something didn’t add up. It wasn’t 11:00 am (as I predicted); it was 12:00 pm! It wasn’t a problem for me, because I could walk around the park enjoying the silence and taking my time, but it did fluster me a little bit. What can we take away from this?
- From the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November (daylight saving time): If you are going from Page (or the Grand Canyon or any other part of Arizona outside of the Navajo Nation) to Monument Valley, you lose one hour. This means that if it’s 9:00 am in Page, it will be 10:00 am in Monument Valley.
- During the rest of the year (standard time) there will be no time difference. For example, if you go from Page to Monument Valley on December 10, the time will be the same in both places. Therefore, if it is 9:00 am in Page, it will be 9:00 am. on Monument Valley.
From Monument Valley to Page: The Time Difference between the Two Places
Let’s continue looking at my trip. The day after I visited Monument Valley I had to go to the Grand Canyon, which – as you may know – is in Arizona, but not in the Navajo Nation. So, when I arrived at the entrance to Desert View, I realized that I had gained an hour! The same, of course, would apply if had gone to Page. So, let’s review…
- From the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November (daylight saving time), if you go from Monument Valley to Page (or the Grand Canyon, or anywhere else in Arizona outside of the Navajo Nation), you will gain one hour. Therefore, if it’s 10:00 a.m. at Monument Valley, it’ll be 9:00 a.m. in Page.
- During the rest of the year (standard time), as I mentioned above, the time will be the same in both places. Therefore, if you are making this trip on December 10, for example, this would apply.
Time Zone Utah-Arizona: How to Set Your Clock
We’ve studied a series of cases involving moving from one area of Arizona to another. We’ve also seen that during standard time and daylight saving time, the time in Utah and in the Navajo Nation remains the same. So to recap, if it’s 9:00 am in Moab, it’ll be 9:00 am in Monument Valley.
But what if we go from Utah to Arizona or vice versa? How do you calculate the time change if you are in Arizona but not in the Navajo Nation? I’ll help you with that right now, too, by using my trip as an example.
During that same trip in September that I talked about above, one morning I traveled from Bryce Canyon to Page. As you may have understood, in that case, there was a change in time. I realized that I had gained an hour. I departed from Bryce Canyon in Utah (with daylight saving time) and arrived in Page in Arizona (without daylight saving time)… as a result, when I arrived at the tour agency for tours to Antelope Canyon and it was still closed. It was too early! So what does this mean?
- During daylight saving time, if you go from Bryce Canyon (or Moab or any part of Utah outside of Navajo Nation) to Page or the Grand Canyon, you will gain one hour. This is also the case if you travel to Page from the Navajo Nation. If it’s 10:00 am at Bryce Canyon, it’s 9:00 am in Page.
- During daylight saving time, if you travel from Page to Bryce Canyon (or anywhere else in Utah outside of the Navajo Nation) you will lose an hour.
- During standard time, the time in Utah and in Arizona is the same once again. It goes without saying that if you choose to travel in this area on December 10, there is no time difference between Bryce and Page.
Is it clear now? I hope so! Arizona’s time zone has made and will make many travelers go crazy, but with this guide, you should be able to set the clocks correctly… have a safe trip!