Mexican Hat (San Juan) is on US-163 twenty miles southwest of Bluff bordering the Navajo Indian Reservation where a bridge crosses the San Juan River. The settlement had the early name of Goodridge after E. L. Goodridge, a man who made an oil claim in this area in 1882. Valley of the Gods and Monument Valley are easily accessed form here. *The town is named after a nearby rock formation two and one-half miles Northeast. According to Local legend, a young Mexican vaquero falls in love with a young Indian maiden married to an evil old medicine man. When the medicine man became aware of the affair, he turned the young suitor into the stone formation below the hat. Since the hat is upside down, the Medicine man may have turned the young man upside down before casting his spell.
During an early oil boom the population blossomed to 1,000; then the ensuing bust caused the population to plummet to one. During the uranium boom the town once again increased but soon withered. Today the town has several motels, gas stations and restaurants.
G. William Wiersdorf
See: John W. Van Cott, Utah Place Names (1990); Cynthia Larsen Bennett, Roadside History of Utah (1957); Joe Bensen, Scenic Driving, Utah (2005)