...it is so much better in person!
...it is so much better in person!
It's so much better
What is there to see and do in Moab?
In short: Explore BIG rocks, VAST canyons, ICONIC arches, and ancient Indian PETROGLYPHS. Hike, bike, or four-wheel-drive AWE INSPIRING trails. Rappel SHEER canyon walls. Raft the MIGHTY Colorado River....Or just relax under a shady tree.
If you have ever watched any of the old western movies, or seen the movie Thelma and Louise (the car over the cliff scene was filmed in Moab), you are familiar with the scenery around Moab. There are so many movies that have been made in Moab, that a wonderful museum dedicated to the local movies has been established – and it just so happens to be right next to the local winery, in case you get thirsty!
Delicate Arch is so well known that it might be considered Utah’s unofficial trademark and makes an appearance on the Utah State license plate. As well known as Delicate Arch is, many people don't realize that there are more than 2,000 other arches in the area - and most of the larger arches are very easily accessible by road and a short walk. For the more adventuresome, hiking trails abound.
The great thing about visiting Moab is that the scenery is easily accessible. Moab is centrally located in a valley between two amazing National Parks, and a lesser known smaller, but equally scenic Dead Horse State Park.
You probably know of Arches National Park which is 76,679 acres…but did you know that lesser known Canyonlands National Park is huge in comparison? Canyonlands, at 337,598 acres is more than four times larger than Arches National Park.
Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands is so large that it is broken down into four “districts”. The Island In The Sky District is about half an hour from Moab.
From the top of the high plateau that makes up Island In The Sky, you have very easy access to magnificent and vast canyon views. If you watched the video on my home page, the sunrise and subsequent Milky Way scenes through the arch were shot in Canyonlands.
Arches National Park
The road (completely renovated and repaved in 2017) through Arches National Park winds its way through 28 miles of some of the most spectacular scenery on the planet. The park planners did a great job in routing the road past one jaw dropping massive rock formation to the next.
Arches and Canyonlands offer multiple opportunities to stop, get amazing pictures, and do some hiking. Other worldly scenery is very accessible from the road and very short walks. In both parks, and all around Moab, there are many fantastic trails ranging from very easy to challenging.
If you want to get into the canyon, or up on the ridges around Moab, there are no shortage of ways to do it. Whether it is by foot, mountain bike, Jeep, or horse there are hundreds of miles of old remote roads and trails that wind through the canyons and back-country. All modes of travel are readily available in town.
A great – and really fun – way to see the canyon is from the river. Rafting trips ranging from half a day to a full week are easily arranged.
Whatever outdoor activity you can imagine, someone else has probably imagined it too….and made it available in Moab. There are numerous outdoor adventure shops and guides in town who are well equipped, and know the terrain well. They are eager to take you on an unforgettable adventure. There are a multitude of activities that are well suited for all ages and skill levels.
If all of that seems too much, you can simply pack a lunch, hike out to a breezy canyon edge, find a small tree, lie back and listen to the absolute silence.
The Moab area...
...has more to do and see than you can possibly fit in in just a few days. If you decide on an extended stay, and making Moab your home base of discovery, I have included some very worthwhile great day trip ideas, below.
To be considered a “day trip”, I figure a maximum drive time of just a bit over 2 hours, one way. Be sure to pack some food for lunch, and LOTS of water. This area is extremely dry, and very hot during the summer months. Be sure to make a point of drinking water throughout the day. Heat stroke is no fun, and could turn into a very serious situation when you are a long way from civilization.
If you’re not familiar with Utah, you will find that the spaces are wide open, and services are few and far between. The destinations listed below are not close to anything, which is another reason that Moab is such a popular location to make as your “home base” to discover the area.
Every one of these areas is unique and spectacular in its own way. There is lots of great information online for each one, so I am just going to post my impression and a few pictures of each one to give you a taste of what you’ll see.
Please note: As I write for my web site, I have discovered a downfall of the English language…and that is a lack of superlative adjectives that can do justice to this part of the world. Rest assured, if I have mentioned it here, it is worth your time and effort to see...
Needles is one of the four districts that make up Canyonlands.
Driving south on 191 out of Moab, Needles is about 90 minute drive. Make note that the first entrance is the Needles Overlook, the main park entrance (where you want to go) is a little further south. Once you leave the 191, the main highway, you are treated to a spectacularly scenic 30 mile drive to the park entrance.
Once at the visitor’s center, pick up a trail map. There is a network of extensive hiking trails in the area. The trails range from short and easy to challenging. They are well marked and easy to follow. I have hiked many of the trails, and have plans to return to discover more.
Needles has some of my favorite trails in this whole area.