The area in and around Mexican Hat, Utah offers panoramic views with endless vistas as far as the eye can see. It is a wonderful little hamlet to base your exploration of Southern Utah/Northern Arizona Parks, Monument Valley, and other attractions. Remember that when traveling here from the rest of Arizona the time changes one hour ahead as Mexican Hat and the Navajo Tribal Park do not observe Daylight Savings time.
Mexican Hat with a population of 88 cross the San Juan River along Route 163 just about five miles south of State Road 261 and about 22 miles north of Monument Valley. It is very handy and convenient to stopover for at least one night or even establish this as your base for exploration several important Parks, Canyons and all aspects of the Four Corners Region. For example it is about halfway between Monument Valley and Mesa Verde National Park; very close to Glen Canyon and of course Monument Valley. Valley of The Gods, Canyonlands, Natural Bridges, and Hovenweep are just a short distance away. Mexican Hat is also within close proximity to the spectacular but relatively unknown switchback canyon road of an area known as The Moki Dugway. On top is another hidden secret Mulley Point which is a dirt road leading off close to the top of The Moki Dugway offering probably one of the most spectacular views in all of the USA!!
Driving north of Monument Valley on Route 163 and just before entering the center of Mexican Hat you will cross the bridge of The San Juan River. Drive carefully and slowly and then be sure to make a left turn into the San Juan River Inn and Trading Post even-though there is a large arrow pointed in the opposite direction.
I highly recommend a stopover or stay at the very unique San Juan River Inn located on the banks of The San Juan River with beautiful views especially at sunset. There are two other motel type lodges in Mexican Hat but I think that The San Juan River Inn is the very best choice also a great option if you are not able to book at The View or Gouldings the only two accommodations actually in Monument Valley. I would also prefer and suggest Mexican Hat and The San Juan River Inn versus Kayenta 22 miles south of Monument Valley as Mexican Hat offers much more local flavor and scenery. The San Juan River Inn is simple, clean, friendly with its own trading post and restaurant called The Olde Bridge Grill serving very nice meals with local cuisine for example the famous Navajo Taco.
On the main road of Mexican Hat and part of the Mexican Hat Lodge is a local institution and a must stop: The Swinging Steak. Named for its unique woodfired open grill that actually swings back and forth; this is a very local bar/lounge restaurant where everyone is friendly Cowboys and Cowgirls alike. The seating is outside under a canopy with open pit woodburning fires to keep everyone warm. The Country Western music and Cowboy talk adds to the atmosphere. The menu offers prime beef from locally raised cattle; mostly various size steaks, a very good hamburger and even a veggie burger.
The wonderful aroma of a wood burning fire with grilled meats on this swinging Grill back and forth and the great Cowboy Chef truly is a unique experience not to be missed!!