Moab, a small town in southeastern Utah, is a hub for outdoor enthusiasts seeking adventure in the rugged beauty of the American West. From the red rock canyons to the snow-capped mountains, Moab has something for everyone.
Whether you’re an experienced climber, an avid hiker, or simply looking to enjoy the stunning scenery, Moab is the perfect destination. In this travel guide, we’ll explore the best things to see and do in Moab, as well as provide tips for where to stay, eat, and shop.
Getting to Moab
Moab is located in southeastern Utah, approximately 230 miles south of Salt Lake City and 360 miles west of Denver. The closest airport is in Grand Junction, Colorado, about a 1.5-hour drive away. Alternatively, you can fly into Salt Lake City, which is about a four-hour drive from Moab. If you’re driving, you can reach Moab via I-70 from the east or west, or via US-191 from the north or south.
When to Visit Moab
Moab is a year-round destination, with each season offering unique experiences. Spring and fall are the most popular times to visit, as temperatures are mild and the crowds are smaller. Summer can be hot, but it’s a great time to explore the surrounding mountains and escape the heat of the desert. Winter is a quiet time in Moab, but it’s a great time for those seeking solitude and breathtaking snow-covered landscapes.
Things to Do in Moab
Arches National Park
Arches National Park is a must-visit destination in Moab, known for its iconic red rock formations and natural arches. The park has over 2,000 natural arches, as well as a variety of other unique geological formations. Some of the most popular arches include Delicate Arch, Landscape Arch, and Double Arch. The park offers a variety of hiking trails, from easy walks to more strenuous hikes. The park is open year-round and is best visited in the early morning or late afternoon to avoid the heat and crowds.
Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands National Park is another stunning park in Moab, known for its deep canyons, towering mesas, and winding rivers. The park is divided into four districts, each offering unique experiences. The Island in the Sky district is the most popular and offers breathtaking views from its 1,000-foot cliffs. The Needles district is known for its colorful rock formations, while the Maze district is a remote wilderness area accessible only by 4WD. The rivers that run through the park offer opportunities for rafting and kayaking.
Moab is known as the mountain biking capital of the world, with hundreds of miles of trails for all skill levels. The most popular trails include the Slickrock Trail, the Whole Enchilada, and the Porcupine Rim Trail. The trails range from easy to extremely difficult and offer stunning views of the surrounding landscapes.
Moab is a world-renowned destination for rock climbing, with a variety of climbing areas for all levels of experience. Some of the most popular climbing areas include Wall Street, Indian Creek, and Castle Valley. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced climber, there’s something for everyone in Moab.
Jeep tours are a popular way to explore the rugged beauty of Moab. The tours take you on off-road adventures through canyons, over slickrock, and up steep hills. There are a variety of tours available, from half-day to multi-day trips, and they’re a great way to see the stunning landscapes of Moab.
Hot Air Balloon Rides
Hot air balloon rides are a popular activity in Moab, offering a unique perspective of the surrounding landscapes. The rides typically take place in the early morning or late afternoon, when the weather conditions are optimal for flying. As you soar above the red rock formations and canyons, you’ll enjoy breathtaking views of the desert landscape.
Moab offers a variety of hiking trails for all skill levels, from easy walks to strenuous hikes. In addition to the trails in the national parks, there are many other trails in the surrounding areas. Some popular trails include the Fisher Towers Trail, Corona Arch Trail, and the Negro Bill Canyon Trail. Hiking in Moab is best done in the early morning or late afternoon to avoid the heat of the desert.
The Colorado and Green Rivers run through Moab, offering opportunities for river rafting and kayaking. The rivers range from calm stretches suitable for families to challenging rapids for experienced rafters. Guided rafting trips are available, and they’re a great way to experience the stunning landscapes of Moab from a unique perspective.
Moab and the surrounding areas offer many scenic drives that showcase the beauty of the desert landscapes. The most popular drives include the scenic drive through Arches National Park, the La Sal Mountain Loop Road, and the Colorado River Scenic Byway. These drives offer stunning views of the surrounding mountains, canyons, and red rock formations.
Moab is located in an area with very little light pollution, making it an ideal destination for stargazing. The night skies in Moab are spectacular, offering views of the Milky Way, shooting stars, and other celestial objects. There are many stargazing tours available, as well as campgrounds and other locations that offer excellent opportunities for stargazing.
Where to Stay in Moab
Moab offers a variety of lodging options, from campsites and RV parks to hotels and resorts. Here are a few recommendations:
Sorrel River Ranch Resort & Spa: This luxury resort is located on the banks of the Colorado River and offers a variety of amenities, including a spa, restaurant, and outdoor activities.
Red Cliffs Lodge: This lodge is located on the banks of the Colorado River and offers stunning views of the red rock formations. The lodge offers a variety of accommodations, from rooms to cabins, and has a restaurant and outdoor activities.
Moab Valley RV Resort & Campground: This campground offers RV sites, tent sites, and cabins, as well as a variety of amenities, including a pool, hot tub, and playground.
Gonzo Inn: This hotel is located in the heart of Moab and offers a variety of accommodations, from standard rooms to suites. The hotel has a pool, hot tub, and a complimentary breakfast.
Archview RV Resort & Campground: This campground offers RV sites, tent sites, and cabins, as well as a variety of amenities, including a pool, hot tub, and laundry facilities.
Where to Eat in Moab
Moab offers a variety of dining options, from casual cafes to upscale restaurants. Here are a few recommendations:
The Moab Brewery: This brewery offers a variety of craft beers and pub food, including burgers, sandwiches, and salads.
Miguel’s Baja Grill: This Mexican restaurant offers a variety of dishes, including tacos, burritos, and enchiladas. The restaurant also has a bar and outdoor seating.
Desert Bistro: This upscale restaurant offers a variety of dishes, including seafood, steak, and pasta. The restaurant also has a bar and outdoor seating.
Quesadilla Mobilla: This food
truck offers a variety of delicious quesadillas with creative fillings, such as Korean BBQ and Buffalo chicken.
Eklecticafe: This cafe offers a variety of breakfast and lunch dishes, as well as a selection of pastries and baked goods. The cafe also has vegetarian and gluten-free options.
Moab Garage Co.: This restaurant offers a variety of dishes, from burgers and sandwiches to salads and pizzas. The restaurant has a casual atmosphere and a large outdoor seating area.
Red Rock Bakery & Net Cafe: This bakery offers a variety of pastries, breads, and sandwiches, as well as coffee and tea. The bakery also has free Wi-Fi and a computer station for customers.
Tips for Visiting Moab
Plan ahead: Moab is a popular destination, especially during peak season. It’s recommended to make reservations for lodging, dining, and activities in advance to ensure availability.
Pack appropriately: Moab is located in the desert, so it’s important to pack plenty of water, sunscreen, and appropriate clothing for the weather conditions. It’s also recommended to bring hiking boots or sturdy shoes for outdoor activities.
Be mindful of the environment: Moab is home to delicate ecosystems and cultural sites, so it’s important to be respectful of the environment and follow Leave No Trace principles. This includes packing out all trash and avoiding disturbing natural or cultural resources.
Stay hydrated: The desert can be hot and dry, so it’s important to drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. It’s recommended to carry water with you at all times and to drink before you feel thirsty.
Respect wildlife: Moab is home to a variety of wildlife, including desert bighorn sheep, coyotes, and rattlesnakes. It’s important to keep a safe distance from wildlife and not to feed or disturb them.
Stay safe: Outdoor activities in Moab can be challenging and potentially dangerous. It’s important to be prepared and to follow all safety guidelines, such as wearing a helmet while biking or using proper equipment while rock climbing.
Moab is a stunning destination that offers a variety of outdoor activities and natural wonders. Whether you’re interested in hiking, mountain biking, river rafting, or stargazing, Moab has something to offer. With its unique landscapes and rich history, Moab is a destination that is sure to leave a lasting impression.