Moki Dugway

The Moki Dugway is located on UT-261 in southeast Utah, south of Natural Bridges National Monument. It is a series of sharp switchbacks down a steep gravel road over less than three miles. UT-261 is paved, except for the Dugway.

At the Natural Bridges National Monument Visitor Center, there is a brief description of the Moki Dugway. Here is the text:



The Mokee Dugway is located on Utah Route 261 just north of Mexican Hat, UT. It was constructed in 1958 by Texas Zinc, a mining company, to transport uranium ore from the "Happy Jack" mine in Fry Canyon, UT. to the processing mill in Mexican Hat. The three miles of unpaved, but well graded, switchbacks descend 1100 feet from the top of Cedar Mesa (on which you are now standing). 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.

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.

Today the standard term used to describe these prehistoric Native Americans, who lived in this region more than 1000 years ago, is "ancestral Puebloans". It is based on present day Puebloan tribes' and archaeologists' beliefs that these people were the ancestors of the today's Hopi, Zuni, Acoma and Rio Grande region cultures. You may also see them commonly referred to as the "Anasazi", a Navajo word meaning "enemy ancestors".


I drove down the Moki Dugway on September 3, 2005. Here are some pictures approaching it:

The first sign on UT-261 South after turning off of UT-95

Notice the road below, in the center of the picture