I drove down the 'Moki Dugway' switchback road on a long day/drive from Capitol Reef NP, which went through the impressive Glen Canyon NRA then via Natural Bridges NM and the magnificent 'Muley Point Overlook', finishing at a motel in Mexican Hat, as part of my month-long tour of the Utah/Arizona natural attractions last year.
It starts less than a mile after the turn-off for the 'Muley Point Overlook', on Highway 261, and was along with that attraction the culmination of a very 'productive' and wonderful day.
THIS IS, IF AT ALL POSSIBLE, A MUST DO !!!!!
I have compiled an extensive Trip Advisor 'Trip List' for my tour, which includes 'extra' attractions and also has links to the other individual TA reviews I've contributed for the accommodation/attractions I visited - it has been made a Trip Advisor 'Itinerary'; I hope it is of interest and use to you - I plan to add visitor information sections/viewable media sections..... The most direct way to access it is by clicking my review-count below my profile name to the left of this review text. Alternatively, see after my review below the dashed line...
It seems that for whatever reason, few people are aware of this tremendous 'switchbacked' section of road (the relatively low TA review-count reflects this). Look on a map and the north/south journey to/from Blanding/Moab isn't THAT much further if you go via these 2 adjacent attractions on Highway 261; also, it's not much of a diversion if going to/from Moab/Blanding to/from Capitol Reef NP....
Go 'direct' or avoid the detour and you're missing an experience of a lifetime, and it's better to go down that up !
The views from various overlook laybys near the start of the descent are very good, you can see far into the distance (south) and steep overhangs slowly reveal your intended route only once you peer over the edge - it's steep !
Heading south on the highway you obviously can't miss the switchbacks, BUT they can creep up on you as they only start proper after a long, sweeping left bend - there are plenty of warning signs beforehand though..... Before you start going down, do stop and check the views I've mentioned - parking is easy near the top, but rare and potentially unwise (but not impossible) enroute.
Highway 261 starts paved from either end but the switchback element is unpaved, well-graded and relatively narrow. Having said that, a brake test beforehand is recommended and don't go too fast as any urgent deceleration could invite an unwelcome skid - it's obviously best to go down with nobody coming up, but an oncoming 'meeting' should be readily negotiable. Sensible driving should make things perfectly safe, unless you ignore the State recommendation of a 28ft maximum vehicle length, 10000lb weight and it's not overly wide; the gradient is advertised as 10%...
The downloadable map of Glen Canyon NRA on the NPS website shows things pretty well, but does not represent the switchbacks in toto.
Visitor photos on this TA webpage already capture the views and approaches from north and south pretty well.
The descent down the 'Moki Dugway' switchback road is an exhilarating experience, with great views at the top - it should not be missed. The fact that the 'Muley Point Overlook' is so close-by seals the deal and makes this route an essential part of your Utah tour !
As well as the method described near the start of this review my TA 'Trip List' can also be accessed from the 'Utah Itineraries' link on the right of the Utah Forum page. Or the direct link is :
Alternatively, to search via TA, it is entitled 'Las Vegas to Zion, Bryce and other SUtah Natl Parks + Monument Valley-May 2011'.
Please feel free to send me messages with any questions.