I’ve read several articles about Moki Dunway – Scenic Byways Utah’s Highway 261 and couldn’t wait for the thrill; words like “Scary”, “White Knuckled” or “Hold on for dear life” brings the excitement out in us…call us adrenaline junkies if you may.
This stretch of road is about 33 miles in length, runs from the junction of U.S. Route 163 by Gooseneck State Park, to junction State Route 95 by Natural Bridges National Monument. If you happen to be traveling from Monument Valley/ Mexican Hat to Natural Bridges National Monument, you might want to take this beautiful scenic byway. Of the 33 miles there is a short section of 3-5 miles that some may think is “Scary”, “White Knuckled” or “Hold on for dear life” twisty road ascending/descending over 1000 feet on the cliff side – all with amazing views. It was just a normal scenic byway for us adrenaline junkies.
We made a stop by Gooseneck State Park to check out camping options: $10/night without any amenities, basically just a spot to park, however there was toilets. There is one table for a picnic and take in the views. We had heard of “free” camping on the Rim, but never found it. After looking over the rim, snapped a few photos was enough for our sister-in-law; who is afraid of heights, so that was not an option on this trip anyways.
Millions of years ago, the land here was relatively flat, and the river meandered on its course. Then a period of uplift occurred. As the land rose, the river flowed faster while still following its meandering course. The river cut into the land, eventually creating the impressive entrenched meanders that we see at Goosenecks State Park today. Eroded by water, wind, frost, and gravity, this is truly a magnificent viewpoint.
By this time our bellies were rambling, so back to Highway 191 and on to checked out Twin Rocks Restaurant - we heard they had great Navajo Tacos and Beef Stew. And we were not stirred in the wrong direction; the food had great taste and not bad prices. Matter of fact; we were so satisfied that we returned a couple of days later and had breakfast burritos while on our way to Monument Valley.
Just like Moab this section of Eastern Utah has lots of things to explore.