I am in the initial planning stages of our next major RV escape to the Southwest.
In Utah we plan on exploring around Moab, then head south on US Route 191 just south of Blanding where we will head west on State Route 95 to Natural Bridges National Monument. After hiking Natural Bridges our plan was to head south on State Route 261 to Mexican Hat and onto Monument Valley in Arizona. The rand McNally atlas showed each route as solid red which “normally” indicates an improved all weather paved highway. However, while plotting the route in closer detail using the handy Utah Gazetteer I noticed a section of State Route 261 that looked like a worm had squiggled across the page when it was printed. Listed next to the smudge of red ink was the designation “Moki Dugway” (aka: Mokee Dugway).
A quick online search produced the following description,” It is a graded dirt switchback road that is carved into the face of the cliff edge of Cedar Mesa. This road was originally built to accommodate the uranium ore trucks in the 1950s.” Further research produced the photos shown on this page. Rotating my computer screen toward my wife so she could view the photos, quickly let me know that we would be changing our route. While I like an adventure, descending 1,100 ft in 3 miles on a narrow gravel road with multiple switchbacks, grades of 10% and no guardrails, I had to agree with her.
RVing the Moki Dugway is one adventure I am happy not to experience!
Brave readers can check out a video here .
Dave Helgeson’s many roles in the RV industry started before he even had a driver’s license. His grandparents and father owned an RV dealership before the term “RV” had been coined, and Dave played a pivotal role in nearly every position of an RV dealership. He and his wife Cheri launched their own RV dealership in the Pacific Northwest. The duo also spent 29 years overseeing regional RV shows. Dave has also served as President of a local chapter of the Recreational Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA), worked on the board of advisors for the RV Technician Program of a local technical college, and served as a board member of the Manufactured Home and RV Association. Dave’s reputation earned him the title of “The foremost expert on boondocking,” bestowed by RV industry icon, the late Gary Bunzer (The RV Doctor). When he’s not out boondocking, you’ll find Dave in the spotlight at RV shows across the country, giving seminars about all things RVing. He and Cheri currently roam in their fifth travel trailer, with Dave doing all the service, repair and modifications to his own unit.
I don’t know why its an issue for an R/V… I took my 1998 Freightliner Classic XL pulling a 48 foot long Lufkin stepdeck down that hill… The tractor trailer was 72 feet long… The only issue I had was with the upper switchback, where I had to back and forth the tractor to get around… The trailer was empty… I was living in East Carbon, Utah at the time, and this was kind of a bucket list thing I had to do, because it was there… The road was built for 1950s trucks, so I felt it was capable wright wise for a modern semi to use, especially empty… Any R/V can use this as long as proper care is used, and safe speeds are used…