Muley Point, Utah


It had been a very lonely day of driving.  After traveling the Waterpocket Fold without seeing more than a half-dozen other cars, then driving down Utah Route 95 and encountering even fewer people, I didn’t think the solitude could get any greater.  Then, I experienced Muley Point.

But let me back up a bit.  About 30 miles away from Blanding, on Route 95, I came to a crossroads.  Looking up at the sun in a hazy sky, I figured I had at least an hour or two of sunlight left in the day, and it would be a shame to waste any of it.  So instead of continuing on to Blanding, I turned south on Utah Route 261 — which in itself is not a terribly scenic road, until you get to the Moki Dugway (which I will cover on the next page).  Just before the dugway, there’s a dirt side-road, leading to a place where you can be all alone with your thoughts and the empty desert.

Muley Point is five bumpy (but passable) miles from the pavement.  You can stop at the first viewpoint (about 4 miles in), but make sure you continue all the way to the actual point.

From Muley Point on a clear day, you can probably see all the way to the four corners, and beyond.  Directly below…

… are the deep cuts made by the San Juan River, as it winds its way through the Goosenecks.  The state park with the same name provides a better view of the river itself.  In fact, I can’t remember seeing the river at all from Muley Point.

Instead, I stared into the distance, south of Muley Point, where the familiar landmarks of Monument Valley can clearly be spotted.  Since Monument Valley is on the Utah/Arizona state line, I can guarantee you’re seeing at least two states here.

The view to the east is also great, especially in the light of the early evening.  In the distance, you can see one finger of Cedar Mesa stretching south.  This is Cedar Point (distinctively different than the theme park in Ohio).  The Moki Dugway is on the other side of the finger.

As you walk around on Muley Point, you get the feeling that the whole thing is slowly falling apart.  The point itself is a huge collection of boulders, that have split apart, forming cracks that are often 10 or 20 feet deep.

You can also play leap-frog, hopping out onto the most distant boulders on the point.

After a long day of driving, Muley Point was the perfect end.  I found a nice place on a rock and sat down for a while.  No matter which direction I looked, there were no people, and not even a sign that people had ever been there.  The only sound was the wind, rushing up from the desert floor below.  It was lonely and wonderful.

But of course, it couldn’t last forever.  Eventually I drove back to the main road…

… but along the way, I made a stop at the other viewpoint (the one that’s 4 miles from the highway).  There is one very distinctive boulder at this spot, but the views beyond it aren’t quite as good as at Muley Point itself.  This part of the mesa is more like the inside of an elbow than an outstretched arm…

… so you don’t get to see as much to the east or west.

Return to Utah Route 261 for the drive down the Moki Dugway.  After you reach the bottom of the Dugway, watch for Utah Route 316.  This road will split, taking you to two interesting places: Goosenecks State Park (which Muley Point overlooks), and Johns Canyon Road, where 4-wheel-driving and hiking opportunities await.  Here’s some info.

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