The Moki Dugway is located on Utah Route 261 just north of Mexican Hat, UT. It was constructed in 1958 by a mining company to transport uranium ore. Route 261 is thirty-four miles long, with most of it on a flat, nicely paved two lane road. The tricky part is the three miles of unpaved, but well graded, switchbacks go up 1100 feet to the top of Cedar Mesa.
The term “moki” 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 left behind the numerous ruins in the area. The term continued to be used by the pioneers who moved into southern Utah during the 1800’s and their descendants.
As we approached the Dugway, the road was nice smooth pavement. But looking ahead we just couldn’t see where the road was going to go as we approached the Mesa wall.
We stopped at a turn-out to check out the view. In the distance, we could see something in the gap between the rocks.
A zoom picture revealed some people at the next turn-out in the road enjoying the view.
As we looked around, we could hear a large vehicle coming up the road behind us. Signs down below warned against large vehicles using the road, but around the corner came this big boy!
We watched as the truck made its way up the road ahead of us.
We continued up-ward to the next turn-out, where the views were quite impressive.
After successfully negotiating the Moki Dugway, we continued driving north to explore Natural Bridges National Monument. More on that adventure in our next blog.