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Thread: Moki Dugway . . And yes you want to ride it

  1. #1
    Rally Rat RTRandy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Dallas, Texas

    Moki Dugway . . And yes you want to ride it

    I had posted a request for route suggestions for my recent trip to Oregon and Washington and received super advice there to make a great trip:

    On one of the later posts there came advice from a forum member ( LSkrabut) out of Utah mentioning a place I had never heard off. I had been wondering about a section of road on my map that resembled a bowl of noodles and it finally had a name: Moki Dugway. It's considered one of the most difficult roads to negotiate in the U.S., but I think that's a little exaggerated.

    For those who like myself who had never heard of it or those who want to know more, here's a small report to hopefully shed some light. Keep in mind we were heading north so we climbed "Up" (1100 feet to be exact and it's all dirt) If you come from the north heading south you would be descending it. It's not like a mountain pass going up and down.

    Our day started out of Albuquerque so we took Hwy 550 up to Farmington and then headed west skirting Arizona and then heading north into Utah on Hwy 191. As luck would have it we hit the typical afternoon dessert squalls as the afternoon was upon us. One moment you're heading into a bad storm then the road changes direction you're heading for blue sky. Makes for some good debate as to whether it's time to put on the rain suit or not.

    The thick part is about where Moki Dugway is, but 15, 20 minutes later it could be moved off which it did to some degree. There's really no turning back either as it's in the middle of freakin nowhere.

    Ahead is the first warning of something to come.

    So here's the weird part: Your heading towards a wall and the road seems to come to an end.

    You look out to your left thinking it goes around that point, but that's all fenced in.

    A little further it turns and seems to hit the cliff. Keep in mind these little point and shoot cameras do nothing to show the scope out here. If you look closely you can see me on my bike ahead. This pic and others of me were taken by "Doc" Hermann my great riding companion who liked riding behind. Winds were gusting super high at the base and then dissipated once climbing though still pretty darn windy I think due to the storms around..

    The road turns to dirt and the reason you don't see it is because it's the same color as the cliff. It' very well groomed by the way though super tight switch backs and some steep grades along the way.

    See me?

    Starts to become like Where's Waldo here, but here you can see both levels here and teeny tiny me up above:

    Looking from above back down.

    No guard rails

    Overcast and poor visibility, but you get the idea.

    Doc stopped and shot some of me climbing in a slight drizzle.

    I got off to take this picture and as you can see it's really well groomed and maintained.

    Looking back from where we came just moments earlier.

    And remember: Don't look down whatever you do.

    So what advice can I give to ride the Moki Dugway other than take it slow and watch where you're going? My advice would be to be very careful with how you manage fuel since there just isn't any for miles. What we did was to head east off course in the wrong direction ( depending on how you look at it.) for about about 5 miles to the town of Bluff and filled up there first. We were heading to Torrey and the next gas I want to say would be about 100 miles at Hanksville or Blanding depending on where you're going. This is one of the few areas in the country where you see make shift solutions on bikes to carry extra fuel. Secondly you really need to be carrying plenty of drinking water hence the Camelbak filled with ice water on my back if you look at the bike photos.

    From what I understand the road was built by a mining company to get uranium ore from their local mine and apparently it's still maintained. It's a real rush once you get to the top and hit smooth pavement again. I remember we were laughing on the two way radio once we got to the top. Highly recommend it as a road worth adding to your "Must ride" list. Oh and don't forget Hwy 95 from Blanding to Hanksville though if you take the Moki Dugway route, it becomes hwy 261 which dumps you on to Hwy 95 north of Blanding. It's all good out there for sure.
    Last edited by RTRandy; 07-22-2010 at 05:15 AM.

  2. #2
    Registered User LSkrabut's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Spanish Fork, Utah

    Glad you enjoyed the trip up Moki Dugway. It is surely different than most other roads you might have been on. Did you see the sign before the climb for Valley of the Gods? Another interesting place in the middle of nowhere USA.

    Myself I really enjoy the run from Bears Ears (Intersection of 261 and 95, 8500', 20 miles north of Moki Dugway) to Hite, the bridge crossing Lake Powell or from Blanding to Hite. Rather high speed run for 65 (95) miles of sweeping turns and vistas that seem like it never ends.... Great mix of green, yellow, red and black desert colors mixed in with cliffs, canyons, mountains. Always wanted to turn around and do it again but my running tank doesn't have enough fuel and it is a long way from ANYWHERE I tend to hit that area about twice a year on a day trip of a 600 mile or so run.

    Another link of some of the sites in that area located in Utah and Colorado.
    Larry S
    Utah driven
    2010 K1300GT
    2003 K1200RS (sold), 1988 K100LT (sold)

  3. #3
    Rocky Bow BMW Riders #197 bogthebasher's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Calgary AB

    Thumbs up

    Very cool - especially since I rode that road last year quite by accident looking for a short cut to 'The Arches' park to the north as I left Mexican Hat. I had no idea until reading this thread that the road had such a unique name.

    A grader had just gone down the road and the gravel was perfectly levlled albeit six inches deep so things were definitely 'squirrely'. That was my first ever climb up a canyon wall with the RT and was thinking a GS would be much more fun. Thank-you for posting with the great pictures; for sure that is just an awesome climb and a perfect capper after seeing Monument Valley.
    Ken Dittrick
    2008 R1200RT (Biarritz Blau)

    Excuses are the rocks upon which our dreams are crushed - Tim Fargo

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Mississippi Coast
    NICE PICS, thanks for the post. Looks like a ride worth taking if anything for the view from atop!
    Jim Mock
    2008 R1200RT (The Blue Mule), R90/6 (New to me)
    MSF RiderCoach
    "Spring loaded to the riding position!"

  5. #5

    looks familiar

    hmmmmmmmmmm..........didn't know that road had a name

    here's a nice view for you

    I was heading to Monument Valley..........where'd you guys go????

  6. #6
    Rally Rat
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Canon City Colorado

    Great pictures

    That is one of my favorite areas. With adventure or dual sports there is a lot around there to explore. Monument Valley, Gooseneck State Park, John's Canyon, Muley Point, Valley of the Gods to name a few. Bluff, Utah has gas and all the services, worth a couple of days of site seeing.


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