After leaving Valley of the Gods, we set out to tackle the Moki Dugway before heading on to Natural Bridges. I had never heard of the Moki Dugway before this trip and after reading a few reports I was a little worried that my fear of heights might get the better of me on this road. But, I was up for an adventure and for a challenge.
The Moki Dugway is a short well-maintained three-mile dirt/gravel road that takes you from Valley of the Gods up to Cedar Mesa (or vise versa). It’s unpaved and has a 1,200′ elevation change. In order to cover this in such a short distance, the grade is 10-11%, depending upon who you ask and it has a whole bunch of switchbacks. If you’re slow and thoughtful this drive really isn’t half as bad as what people say.
The views from the top are incredible. You can look out over Valley of the Gods and if it’s a clear day you can see Monument Valley, Mexican Hat, Goosenecks, and more. It’s well worth the trip especially if you’re road tripping the Grand Circle through the Southwest.
So how did the Moki Dugway get started and what in the world is a Moki and a Dugway? Let’s start with the latter. The word Moki is derived from the Spanish word Moqui. It was used by explores of this region to describe the native Pueblos as well as the vanished Pueblo culture. Dugway is a term that basically describes the carving of a road out of a hillside. The Moki Dugway was constructed in the 1958 in order to haul uranium from Happy Jack Mine on Cedar Mesa to Halchita near Mexican Hat.
Has anyone driven through here? What did you think? Was it as scary as they say or was it a piece of cake?