Moki Dugway

One website describes Moki Dugway as a scenic backway. This is an apt description of a road that terrifies many travelers. It’s part of Route 261 in southeastern Utah, the last unexplored place in the continental U. S.

A Dugway is a road carved into a hillside. Moki was an explorer’s term for pueblo-dwelling natives. Route 261 is 34 miles of mostly good highway taking travelers to the Bears Ears, a relatively new National Monument established during the Obama presidential years. The part of 261 known as Moki Dugway is perfectly safe for most passenger cars being driven by those who are not fearful of gravel and altitudes. The 3 miles of Moki Dugway that is considered difficult and is often described as the most dangerous road in the United States by some was built by a company known as Texas Zinc Minerals in the 1950s. It was a route for trucks hauling uranium and the like down from Cedar Mesa to the town of Mexican Hat, Utah.

There are no facilities like gas stations along Route 261. The section that is known as Moki Dugway is not suitable for motor homes or trailers. Despite being gravel in part and with some turns that are unpredictable, this difficult part of 261 lasts for only 3 miles with an 11% grade, and Ruth and I saw evidence in the form of road construction vehicles that this road is being improved. We had no trouble driving up this beautiful mesa, but at one turnout we ran into a couple from Texas with 3 dogs that was not having a good day. They tried to haul a trailer up this road and got stuck. For now, Moki Dugway is not suitable for vehicles of more than 28 feet and weighing more than 10,000 pounds. From the top, visitors can see part of the Trail of the Ancients far below and lots of breathtaking scenery. We both recommend driving Moki Dugway before it’s like any other road. Continue on to Natural Bridges National Monument that is like a mini-version of Arches National Park.

Hank

About roadsrus

Since the beginning, I've had to avoid writing about the downside of travel in order to sell more than 100 articles. Just because something negative happened doesn't mean your trip was ruined. But tell that to publishers who are into 5-star cruise and tropical beach fantasies. I want to tell what happened on my way to the beach, and it may not have been all that pleasant. My number one rule of the road is...today's disaster is tomorrow's great story. My travel experiences have appeared in about twenty magazines and newspapers. I've been in all 50 states more than once and more than 50 countries. Ruth and I love to travel internationally--Japan, Canada, China, Argentina, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, etc. Within the next 2 years we will have visited all of the European countries. But our favorite destination is Australia. Ruth and I have been there 9 times. I've written a book about Australia's Outback, ALONE NEAR ALICE, which is available through both Amazon & Barnes & Noble. My first fictional work, MOVING FORWARD, GETTING NOWHERE, has recently been posted on Amazon. It's a contemporary, hopefully funny re-telling of The Odyssey. View all posts by roadsrus

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