Utah March 29, 2018
Utah’s Windiest Road Has Over 3 Miles Of Switchbacks And It’s Not For The Faint Of Heart
With all its natural beauty, Utah is one of the best places in the country to take a scenic drive. Of course, some scenic drives are a little scarier than others. Here’s a white-knuckle road near Mexican Hat that offers some stunning views… but it’s definitely not for the faint of heart.
Moki Dugway is a section of Utah Route 261, just north of Mexican Hat.
While most of UT-261 is paved, Moki Dugway is not. It's a graded dirt and gravel road that's easily traversed by most 2WD vehicles during good weather.
The steep, curvy, dirt and gravel road is carved right into the side of Cedar Mesa.
The scenic beauty here is unparalleled, but this is not a drive for the faint of heart. If you're afraid of heights (or just terrified of plunging to your death), then driving Moki Dugway is not for you.
You'll want to give yourself plenty of time to travel this three-mile-long stretch of road.
The speed limit is only five miles per hour for a reason. The blind curves and narrow width of this road make it very dangerous.
When you first start winding your way up Moki Dugway, it's fairly flat and not too scary.
The only thing you'll need to worry about is making those sharp curves while being distracted by the gorgeous vistas through your windshield.
As you get farther along, things get a little more dicey.
A steep, 10 percent grade combined with hairpin turns make for some white-knuckle driving. On one side, a cliff. On the other side, a steep drop-off with no guardrail. The road is only about one and a half lanes wide, which means that if there's a car approaching on the other side of this turn, things could get interesting.
Over the years, some vehicles haven't quite made it the entire way.
You'll see several crushed and broken cars littering the cliffs below. Can you imagine falling off the side of this cliff?
Of course, going up Moki Dugway is a breeze compared to driving back down.
That 10 percent grade is a lot scarier when you're riding your brake all the way down it. And, if you're the passenger while you're descending, just a foot or so from where you're sitting is a drop-off of up to 1,100 feet. This is the view when you look down.
We can't deny that the natural beauty in this part of the Beehive State is jaw-dropping.
Luckily, the Moki Dugway provides sweeping views of the Valley of the Gods that might distract you from the fact that you're driving on a crazy, curvy, terrifying road that's literally cut into the side of a huge cliff.
If you're going to travel along this stretch of road, keep a few things in mind. The Utah Department of Transportation recommends that only vehicles of less than 28 feet long and 10,000 pounds attempt this trip. Large RVs and vehicles pulling trailers are advised to use caution. During rainy weather, Moki Dugway may become slippery and might even be temporarily closed.
Have you ever traveled on the Moki Dugway? We want to hear your stories — tell us in the comments!
Ready to hit the road and explore more of the Beehive State?
Here are nine of our favorite beautiful byways in Utah.