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Moki Dugway – Mexican Hat Utah
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Overview
Location

Near Mexican Hat, Utah

Elevation Gain/Loss

You will gain more than 1100 ft

Time Required

1 hour round trip

Fees

None

Best Season

Spring, Summer and Fall

Trail Condition

Dirt graded road. 10-11% road grades. Several hair pin turns.

GPS Coordinates:

Moki Dugway Road Start: 37.26785, -109.9351

Trail Map


Driving Directions

You can do this route coming from Natural Bridges National Monument or you can do this from Mexican Hat.  The Moki Dugway is very close to Mexican Hat and only took about 20 minutes to get to the base of the plateau that the road climbs up.

It is also in the same area as Valley of the Gods scenic drive so if you have time go do this drive too!


The Trail:

Moki Dugway

Moki Dugway is part of the scenic US Highway Route 261 located near Mexican Hat Utah.  The Moki Dugway was created by a mining company back in 1958 so they could easily bring their ore for processing in Mexican Hat.

Moki Dugway

It is a simple dirt road which has been graded quite nicely but it makes several very sharp hair pin turns.  We saw a few low clearance vehicles driving on this when we came through and they were going as fast as we were without any problems (15 MPH is the limit).  There are a few washboards which made us slide a little bit but if you go slower and don’t drive crazy you will be fine.

Moki Dugway

It is steep with 10-11% grades.  Not to mention the cliff edges are extremely dangerous and sometimes exposed.  If you have a fear of heights, you may want to think twice before driving this route.  I have a mild fear of heights and I started to freak out a little at some spots where I could see the valley floor 1000+ ft below.

Moki Dugway

Waiting our turn for a vehicle to come down this narrow part

Waiting our turn for a vehicle to come down this narrow part

There are a few retaining walls but overall there is nothing but a few feet of dirt to keep you from sliding off the edge.  Looking back on the drive, it wasn’t that bad but the higher we got the easier it was to get freaked out!  It was a fun and exciting drive for sure and one I will do in the future if I am down in the area.

Moki Dugway

If you look in the above picture to where there is a large gap in the rocks on the upper portion of the sandstone, once you get to the road up here, get out of your car and take the 100 yard trail to get the most amazing view you can get of the valley below!  I’ll speak about this more later.

Moki Dugway

There are a few pull-outs along the way so you can let cars pass by you.  The biggest pull out is at the last hair pin turn where we parked our car, took the pictures you see above, and hiked to that gap in the sandstone rock I mentioned earlier.  This very short 100 yard jaunt leads to an incredible overlook which is almost a completely vertical drop to the bottom so be careful here!

Moki Dugway Moki Dugway Moki Dugway

We found this plant with waxy leaves.

We found this plant with waxy leaves.

You are almost at the top of the plateau now.  Keep going up and you will have completed the Moki Dugway!  Right before you are at the very top, take a look to your left and you may seem some old cars that people pushed over the edge…

Moki Dugway Moki Dugway Moki Dugway

Personal Thoughts:

The name alone, Moki Dugway, sounds weird and interesting and it seemed to bring people from all over the country to this spot.  In fact, we were the only people with Utah license plates who were driving up and down this.

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Ratings (out of 10)
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Difficulty
2.0
Technicality
2.0
Enjoyment
6.5
The Bottom Line

Difficulty is basically the length, duration and stress of the Trek. If the Trek is really long then it will receive a higher rating. If the Trek is short then it won't receive that high of a rating. However, difficulty rating also includes how tired we were at the end of the Trek.

Technicality is how strenuous the Trek is. If there is lots of bouldering or if there is bushwhacking involved then the rating will be higher. Technicality also includes if there are steep inclines or the need for ropes and other equipment.

Enjoyment is strictly how much fun we had doing the Trek. Regardless of how tired and exhausted we were, if we had a ton of fun doing the Trek then it will receive a higher rating.

6.5
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About The Author
Jeff Johnson
Questions or comments? I'd love to hear from you! JeffTJohnson@ymail.com

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