Mexican Hat, a census designated place, population 88 (2000), gets its name from Mexican Hat Rock at the edge of town. A photo of the rock is in the gallery Moki Dugway is in scenic southeastern Utah on Utah state highway 261 on the Trail of the Ancients, 24 miles northeast of the Utah and Arizona border on US163, and 12.5 miles north of Mexican Hat, Utah. Moki Dugway drops over 1,100' (335+ m) off the edge of Cedar Mesa Escarpment on graded switchbacks into the Valley of the Gods. If not recently graded, washboard sections of the road may make it easier to descend the switchbacks rather than climbing them. It was so rough on my last trip that I would have turned around, if I could have, and come down it from the north a day or two later in the trip.
The term moki (also mokee) is deried from the Spanish word, moqui, a general term used by explorers in this region to describe Pueblo Indians they encounterd as well as the vanished Ancestral Puebloan culture. Dugway is a term used to describe a roadway carved from a hillside.
The United States Geological Survey, Federal source for Science about the Earth, its natural and living resources, natural hazards, and the environment
From the USGS:
Moki Dugway was built in 1958 for trucks hauling uranium ore.
The Moki Dugway is a gravel road, part of Highway 26(sic), about 24 miles south of Natural Bridges National Monument. The ancient inhabitants of this region had no such "highway" for travelling up and down the mesa.
Carved hand- and foot-holds and worn step-like paths of ancient American Indians can be found leading up cliffs and steep escarptments(sic) to food storage areas, dwellings, springs, or up steep escarpments like the one shown above (in the banner photo).
Outstanding scenic panoramas may be viewed from Muley Point (the back road to Mulely Point is visible on the map, at the top of Moki Dugway), we include two photos from the Point in the gallery. Raplee Ridge is on the lower right of the map, and Goosenecks State Park is just west of US163/U261. U316 to the park is not on this map, but is on the map in our article about Goosenecks State Park. Nearby are Natural Bridges National Monument, Ancestral Pueobloan ruins throughout Cedar Mesa, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Comb Ridge moncline, the Cockscomb monocline, Waterpocket Fold (Capitol Reef) monocline, scenic vistas, scenic byways, canyons, geologic formations, and primitive and wilderness areas.
Cycling photos at about 7 second intervals, with obscure previous/pause-resume/next/stop image-buttons in the upper-right corner that will light up on mouse-over. Select pause and previous/next to view at different interval or highlight information, resume to continue with the next photo. View Photos is an auto-show of Moki Dugway photos including the U261 approach to Cedar Mesa, the Valley of the Gods from a switchback pullout, different views of the switchbacks, photos from Muley Point, and Mexican Hat Rock in front of Raplee Ridge.