Snowy Moki Dugway, Goosenecks, and Monument Valley

The southern escarpment of Cedar Mesa, looking toward Monument Valley.

The southern escarpment of Cedar Mesa, looking toward Monument Valley.

The Christmas snow storm really cloaked Cedar Mesa, the Goosenecks of the San Juan River, and Monument Valley.

Highway 261 below Cedar Mesa.

Highway 261 below Cedar Mesa.

Driving to the southern edge of Cedar Mesa on Utah Highway 261, I once again peered down onto the San Juan River valley. Highway 261 descends the 1,100 feet from the top of Cedar Mesa down to the valley floor via a steep series of switchbacks called the Moki Dugway. The Dugway is the only section of the highway that isn’t paved, and it has no guard rails except for some concrete barriers along the outside edge of the uppermost switchback. Which gives a lot of visitors…apprehension…when they encounter it for the first time.

The Moki Dugway portion of Hwy. 261.

The Moki Dugway portion of Hwy. 261.

Seeing the cliffs and canyons of this high desert country in snow really accentuates the landforms. Shapes and formations not usually apparent stick out much more.

Goosenecks of the San Juan River, with snow.

Goosenecks of the San Juan River, with snow.

Once down the Moki Dugway, be sure to stop by Goosenecks State Park. The overlook of the San Juan River goosenecks near the hamlet of Mexican Hat is spectacular.

Monument Valley from Redlands Overlook, east of Kayenta, Arizona.

Monument Valley from Redlands Overlook, east of Kayenta, Arizona.

After driving west through Mexican Hat, the next area of interest is Monument Valley. I stopped at the Redlands Viewpoint off of Highway 163 for a nice early morning scene.

© Copyright 2015 Stephen J. Krieg

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