Moki Dugway

Moki Dugway, a graded dirt switchback road with breathtaking views

The Mokee (or Moki) Dugway, located on Utah Route 261 just north of Mexican Hat, Utah is a staggering, graded dirt switchback road carved into the face of the cliff edge of Cedar Mesa. It consists of 3 miles of steep, unpaved, but well graded switchbacks (11% grade), which wind 1,200 feet from Cedar Mesa to the valley floor near Valley of the Gods.  

Road closures can be frequent, so check conditions before traveling to this area. The road includes three miles of unpaved, but well graded, switchbacks descend 1100 feet from the top of Cedar Mesa. The State of Utah recommends that only vehicles less than 28 feet in length and 10,000 pounds in weight attempt to negotiate this steep (10% grade), narrow and winding road. Most vehicles can travel the route safely. Caution is advised for motor homes or vehicles pulling trailers. A parking area near the top provides a stunning view of Valley of the Gods. It's a relatively easy gravel road to drive, for the driver, but if you're the passenger, sitting on the edge and your driver is enjoying the view... Well, it can be more of thrill ride.
The road was constructed in 1958. Given the road's condition, it's important for drivers to pay close attention as they are navigating their way through it. 
The surface of the road is gravel and sand. Mokee Dugway it is a graded dirt switchback road that is carved into the face of the cliff edge of Cedar Mesa, with a serie of sharp switchbacks down a steep gravel road over less than three miles. UT-261 is paved, except for the Dugway. The term "mokee" is derived from the Spanish word moqui, which was a general term used by the 18th century Spanish explorers and settlers in this region to describe the Pueblo Indians they encountered and the vanished culture which had left behind the numerous ruins they discovered during their travels. This term continued to be used by the Anglo pioneers, who moved into southern Utah during the 1800's, and their descendants. 

This graded dirt switchback road was constructed in 1958 to haul ore from Cedar Mesa to Mexican Hat

This road is usually open all year, but it can be closed anytime when the access is not cleared of snow. This route provides breathtaking views of some of Utah’s most beautiful sites. Scenic views of Valey of the Gods and distant Monument valley open at every turn of the dugway. The Moki Dugway was constructed in the 1950′s to provide a way to haul ore from the Happy Jack Mine on Cedar Mesa to the mill in Halchita, near Mexican Hat.  

During and after a storm the road may be impassable, even with a four-wheel-drive vehicle and can easily get muddy if it rains making it challenging to get through. Although it can be a reasonably easy drive in favourable conditions it also has the potential to be a very difficult track and at times impassable after wet weather. It is very important to check rainfall in this area before setting off and make sure you are well prepared for the trip. 


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