Amazing Mexican Hat Rock, Utah

Mexican Hat Rock and the Raplee Ridge Anticline.

Mexican Hat Rock and the Raplee Ridge Anticline, panoramic view.

I was once again passing through the San Juan River hamlet of Mexican Hat, Utah on my way back up to Cedar Mesa. So I decided to swing by Mexican Hat Rock, which is just outside of town.

“Hat Rock” is visible from the highway, and also has a couple of public dirt roads that can get you much closer to this distinctive geologic oddity.

Hat Rock, and Raplee Ridge.

Hat Rock, and Raplee Ridge.

The summit of the Rock itself looks like an upside down sombrero.

Mexican Hat Rock, up close.

Mexican Hat Rock, up close.

If you’re thinking that even nutty rock climbers wouldn’t dare try to scale the top of that, well you’d be wrong. They have. I recently was shown photos of rock climbers doing it. The visitor had great images up close and still in his camera from earlier that day. The climbers looked like Spider-Man in that they were upside down on the underside of the broad, horizontal cap stone.

Looking up at a portion of Raplee Ridge from above the San Juan River.

Looking up at a portion of Raplee Ridge from above the San Juan River.

Mexican Hat Rock has an equally amazing backdrop towering over it just to its south: the Raplee Ridge Anticline. And in this instance there was still snow on the ground in all the shady places. That makes for an even more attractive photographic opportunity, enhancing details in the landscape, especially the many geologic layers.

I drove down near the Rock, up a rough little side track that I knew goes around the south side of the rock and has a nice view of the San Juan River.

Mexican Hat Rock from the southeastern side.

Mexican Hat Rock from the southeastern side.

Then I reversed course, because it’s a dead end road, ending at a bluff above the river. I went back north toward the highway, then took a right down the road that goes to the river. At the end of the river road it was a very short walk down the bank to the San Juan River itself, with many small ice floes going by.

The icy but still flowing San Juan River below Mexican Hat Rock.

The icy but still flowing San Juan River below Mexican Hat Rock.

At the ice shelf on the river’s shore I noticed a great ice pattern. Even muddy water looks great frozen!

Ice crystals in muddy San Juan River water.

Ice crystals in muddy San Juan River water.

Photo Location: Mexican Hat, San Juan County, Utah.

Copyright 2016 Stephen J. Krieg.

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