Monday, April 2, 2012

Sedona to Goosenecks and the Moki Dugway!

After two enjoyable weeks in the Sedona area, we had checked out most of the scenic spots and it was time to move on.  We picked up the I-17 and hauled on up into the slightly higher and chillier Flagstaff.  After picking up a few supplies it was time to top off the fuel tank, but Safeway in Flagstaff added a new wrinkle!  I have grown accustomed to leaving a credit card with the cashier at a station with pumps that request a zip code, but Safeway was extra security conscious to the extreme.  The idiot at this station was not satisfied with my Safeway Card and my credit card; he wanted me to leave photo ID with him as well.  What did he think I was going to do?  Gas and dash with a 5th wheel trailer and Canadian plates!  You lost my business, Safeway.  Down the road, the Texaco had their diesel price marked at $4.19, but at the pump it said $4.27.  Fry’s here we come – I think it was $4.09, but at that point, I didn’t care.

From there the map directed us north past Kayenta and into Monument Valley.  The sky was fairly overcast at that point, so the stunning scenes were not quite as. (can I end a sentence that way?)


The highway is fairly narrow, and any previous unofficial roadside pull-offs had been freshly tilled up to prevent any stopping at all.  We did turn in to the Navajo Tribal Park, but they wanted a $5 entry fee and $10 to camp in a parking lot, so it was decided to continue on further north, where research had shown was another scenic option.  Several years ago, following the same route past Mexican Hat we had seen the sign for Goosenecks State Park (Ut).


At that time I had assumed it was a typical state park with an entry gate, campgrounds and a visitor center and hordes of people, and had given it a pass. 

There were some cows alongside the access road.CIMG7692

This time we pulled in to the park, with an incredible view 1000 feet down into the San Juan river valley.  The total facilities in this park turns out to be a parking lot, pit toilets, and picnic shelter, a few tables, and a viewpoint. You can see it all in this photo!P3292482

And, courtesy of ‘Air-1’, another slightly more appealing view of that same parking lot and outhouse!P3312543

Plentiful ‘pick-your-spot’ sites right on the canyon rim.  Stunning sunrises, sunsets, and everything in between.


The white speck at top center is our campsite – not too shabby for a free campsite!P3302501CIMG7664

I was amused to hear, and eventually see (with good binoculars) a pair of Canada Geese far below on the river.  Not sure if the park got it’s name from the geese, or the wild shape of the oxbow bends in the river?  Ravens and hawks ply the rising air currents and a bunch of bats show up at sunset to feast on flying insects.  And a not-so-wild cat patrols the rim for lazy lizards. On the weekend I did see a few rafts floating lazily down the river far below.


And, some views from on high.


On an expedition to explore the surroundings, we took the road atlas along – but did not have to open it.  Where we were going is on the cover!


Hailey looks at the same view as on the cover.P3312599

This is a section of highway 261 called the Moki Dugway.  It is an ‘interesting’ gravel section with switchbacks leading up the 1000’ cliff face.


And at the top is a fantastic viewpoint called Muley point.  Lots of random camp spots up there as well. 

The first drop is 1000’ down to the fairly level mesa at the level of Goosenecks state park, then it is another 1000 down to the San Juan river.  It’s not the Grand Canyon, but it is close.  And free.  No artificial sky-walks here, and none needed.


Like many winter visitors down here, the Bayfield Bunch have had to start their long journey home, but with heavy hearts.  Another one of the ‘bunch’ has passed on.  Cute little Cora will be joining her late buddies Max and Checkers.  We have had the pleasure of meeting her, and the rest of the bunch on several occasions over the past few years.  I know she will be sorely missed by Pheebs and the rest of them as they return to Ontario.


  1. That kind of stuff like from Safeway just irritates the crap out of me. I won't stop there, either!

  2. I love the photos you take with your little helicopter. They are wonderful. (Also, being a cat person, I love the pictures of Hailey.)

  3. Thanks for sharing the pictures....they are great!

  4. Great photos and the country is spectacular. We are heading into Utah tomorrow on our journey north, but likely at a more hurried pace than you and Hailey are traveling.

  5. Hailey sure seems to love exploring with you. Great photos.

  6. We camped in the same exact spot spring of 2011--dear husband had an attack of "height awareness" and didn't sleep all night, we were out of Gooseneck State Park rather early the next morning! I loved it although I must admit, walking the dog in the dark without a flashlight made me a little nervous--it's a long way to the bottom there in that park!

  7. Your post must have slipped through the cracks on me but I spotted it this morning. Mike McFall has said many times how much he likes Gooseneck State Park & with a bit of luck we might just get through that area this fall on our way to Congress. Was in that neck of the woods back in 92 but not Goose Neck. Southern Utah has been one of my favorite areas ever since. Hailey Bird looked like she was ready to soar off into space. Maybe you could rig up a little basket on the Chopper & take her for a spin......

  8. Great post on a favorite area of mine. Love the aerial shots, too. I wrote a piece on the Valley of the Gods you may find interesting.