Thursday, March 1, 2012

Valley of the Gods & The Moki Dugway

Keira loving the desert, Valley of the Gods, Utah.
Santa Clara, CA - More photos from the Fall Road Trip are here!  I've been a little short on time lately what with the jet lag and taxes to deal with, but... I've managed to get another small set of photos processed and posted.  In this set we will visit the Valley of the Gods at the base of Cedar Mesa in Southern Utah.

The Valley of the Gods is located about 40 miles north-east of the much more famous Monument Valley, and although the sandstone formations might not be quite as grand, they are well worth this little side trip.  This valley is also a lot more remote than the well visited Monument.  There are no gift shops here, no fees, & no tours.  There is also no water, no bathrooms and no facilities what-so-ever.  Just a sign post (where you can get a description of the formations) and a 17 mile dirt road (FR 242).  The road is in fairly good condition with a few lumps and bumps here and there, and should be just fine for most cars with a decent clearance (as long as the weather cooperates).

Sign post at the start of the 17 mile Valley of the Gods Road
Suwei and I took The Valley of the Gods Road from Highway 163 to the base of the Cedar Mesa and the Moki Dugway (Highway 261).  We arrived late in the afternoon and enjoyed watching the shadows get longer and the rocks turn redder.  Keira, of course, loved playing in the sand.

The Valley of the Gods & Cedar Mesa as seen from Highway 163.
The Valley of the Gods Road, Utah
The Valley of the Gods

Once the shadows began to overtake us, we turned north and headed up the side of Cedar Mesa via the Moki Dugway.  I had to look up what a dugway was.  Basically, it's a road dug into the side of a hill or below the surface.  This particular dugway is a three mile, crazy, twisty, section of road dug into the side of Cedar Mesa. In that three miles of twists and turns, the road climbs 1100 ft, each bend offering another spectacular view.  The road was built in 1958 by a mining company in order to haul uranium from the "Happy Jack" mine in Fry Canyon to the processing plant in Mexican Hat.  I'd highly recommend checking it out, if only to get to Cedar Mesa... which we'll visit in the next post.  Stay Tuned.

The Valley of the Gods as seen from The Moki Dugway at Sunset.
Check out these earlier posts from our 2011 Fall Road Trip:

Fall Road Trip 2011 - California to Colorado
Fall Road Trip 2011 - Part II - Misc. Colorado Including Grand Mesa
Fall Road Trip 2011 - Part III - Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
Telluride & The Canyons of the Ancients National Monument
Hovenweep National Monument

And that's it for now. Check out the slideshow for full sized photos (16 of them). Just click below.

Fall Road Trip 2011 - Valley of the Gods & The Moki Dugway

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