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Other Cool Places
  Little Westwater Ruin
  Moki Dugway
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  Whiskers Draw
  Moki Dugway

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Moki Dugway on Utah 261

     The Moki Dugway (also called Mokee or Moqui) is a famous (or infamous) stretch of Utah Route 261 - the main road bisecting Cedar Mesa from north to south. The Moki Dugway is a 3 mile section of gravel road featuring 10% grades climbing through steep hairpin switchbacks straight up(or down) the more than thousand-foot cliff walls of Cedar Mesa.
Moki Dugway highway sign
Needless 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 road?s edge 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 description. It's 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 as seen from the southern approach
     Cedar Mesa dominates the northern horizon as you drive near Mexican Hat, UT. The Moki Dugway climbs straight up the sheer walled cliffsides of the Mesa. 
distance, Cedar Mesa fits the Wikipedia definition perfectly. 

    The 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 163. The road leading to the Moki Dugway is an easy paved highway with spectacular views in all directions. As you near the Moki Dugway the dominate feature is the sheer cliffs of Cedar Mesa rising above. Soon you are passing signs cautioning about the changes ahead. As the road begins its steep climb, the pavement ends 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.
View from Moki Dugway      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 them for 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.

     The 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 is long abandoned, the Moki Dugway remains an important roadway. It's a really unique and special highway - if you drive it you are sure to remember the experience.     

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