Moki Dugway (also called Mokee or Moqui) is a famous (or
infamous) stretch of Utah Route 261 - the main road bisecting Cedar
north to south. The Moki Dugway is a 3 mile section of gravel road
featuring 10% grades climbing through steep hairpin switchbacks
down) the more than thousand-foot cliff walls of Cedar Mesa.
to say, the Moki Dugway offers incredible views but there can be times
it?s not much fun to drive. The
road is carved right into the cliffside with sheer drops along the
and I've had many people tell me that driving this road was a traumatic
event. However, others believe that driving this road is a fantastic
experience. Personally, I enjoy driving this road but I won't take my
wife on it.
Wikipedia describes a mesa as ?tableland,
an elevated area of land with a flat top and sides that are
usually steep cliffs
.? And Cedar Mesa sure fits this
southern end is nothing but sheer cliffs that rise up nearly 1,100 feet
from the flat
desert below. The top of the Cedar Mesa is very flat and from a
Cedar Mesa dominates the northern horizon as you drive near
Hat, UT. The Moki Dugway climbs straight up the sheer walled cliffsides
of the Mesa.
Mesa fits the Wikipedia definition perfectly.
Moki Dugway is at the south end of Cedar Mesa and
climbs to the top near Mexican Hat where Utah 261 splits off from US
road leading to the Moki Dugway is an easy paved highway with
in all directions. As you near the Moki Dugway the dominate feature is
sheer cliffs of Cedar Mesa rising above. Soon you are passing signs
about the changes ahead. As the road begins its steep climb, the
and the road bed becomes well maintained gravel. San Juan County works
hard to keep
the road in good shape and it is usually an easy drive.
The views from the top of the Moki Dugway are truly spectacular.
You can see for miles into the Valley of the Gods and across the San
Juan River toward Monument Valley.
Climbing up the switchbacks, you quickly gain altitude. The
higher you climb the better the views of the Valley of the Gods and
off toward Monument
Valley. There are a number of pullouts along the road so be sure to
take advantage of
some spectacular sightseeing. At the top, the Moki Dugway ends rather
abruptly. One minute you are
climbing steeply and
the next you are on the mesa top - flat and covered with the Pinyon
pine/juniper forest that blankets Cedar Mesa.
Moki Dugway was constructed in the late 1950s to
facilitate the hauling of uranium ore from the "Happy Jack" mine in
Fry Canyon to the processing mill at Mexican Hat. Although the mine
abandoned, the Moki Dugway remains an important roadway. It's a really
and special highway - if you drive it you are sure to remember the