a little about 'The Hat'
The San Juan River has long captivated man...from the first that arrived here horseback in the 1880's searching for the elusive gold to the many that visit now searching for that special someplace that speaks to our very soul. As San Juan County Utah's landscape is as diverse as it's people...monuments, canyons, rivers, lakes and mountains...there's something here for everyone.
What's unique about Mexican Hat is it's location in the midst of two beautiful, monolithic valleys. The well-known Monument Valley and the lesser known Valley of the Gods...each valley floor is over 1,000 ft. higher in altitude than Mexican Hat. The only thing separating them is the San Juan River of which the small community of Mexican Hat is built. Originally called Goodridge after the family who founded the area in the 1800's.
Mexican Hat was once a 'hub' for the cattle and sheep barons of yesteryear, the oldest producing oil field in the state of Utah, a trading destination and a locale that once was home to over 1200 people (mostly living in tents) who came to process and haul ore over the sandy roads and down the Moki Dugway (which was built for this very purpose!) from the mines west of Natural Bridges.
The 'Gold Rush' of the 1800's brought sluicing equipment to the very spot that later found John Wayne fording the river horseback in a few movies. So, when you wonder where the river of Monument Valley is in She Wore A Yellow Ribbon and other John Wayne - John Ford movies, now you know! It's 'under The Hat'!
A lot of details brought us into the 21st Century. We finally got electricity and a real road in 1958. A sometimes precarious survival that has brought small improvements with each decade...from telephone service to cell phone service. 2012 found us 'kinda' up-to-date for internet access, the Hat Rock Inn added 3 T-1's...this is a personal investment that we hope will improve the communications that people have come to rely on.
The river still calls. Today people come not for the riches that fill the material void...but rather, the riches that fill the mind with wonderful memories, to ride the rapids on rafts and simply to relax as the 2nd fastest river in the western hemisphere creates 'sand waves' that are only found on the San Juan River and the Nile, however, us locals prefer to use inner tubes for a few hours of fun!
We continue the fight to maintain our jeep and ATV trails so that people of all ages and physical abilities can continue to enjoy this vast country. We support multiple use. We find it unfortunate that many newcomers and visitors aren't aware of our rich history, aren't aware of the machinery and equipment that has been used to try to tame this country, try to make it more habitable...'try' being the word here! Considering our history it's quite amazing that it can still be thought of as 'Pristine' land...untouched by man. We must be doing something right!
Each business in Mexican Hat is owned and/or operated by persons who have a history here and a deep love for our tiny community with a huge backyard. Without tourism we couldn't survive here now...you are each very much appreciated...
...we welcome the world to 'break bread' with us, take a deep breath and remember, this is your vacation and you deserve a special place where you can stop and drink in the beauty, the splendor...ponder, relax. There's no rush here!