Things to Do In Moab
Although most of the excitement happens during the day here, some of the more memorable moments take place as the sun rises or after it has fallen. It’s hard to match the feeling of falling asleep beneath pitch black night skies, then waking with the sun as its rising light illuminates the Entrada and Navajo Sandstone.
Tent campers can find sites in the parks, at established campgrounds just outside of town or dispersed throughout the region’s BLM land. Plus, Moab has an excellent selection of camping resorts, from RV parks to the luxurious Under Canvas Moab glamping resort. Sites at popular campgrounds can be reserved months ahead of time, so find your campground early and plan your trip during the week or off peak-season to avoid the crowds.
With trails leading to some of the world’s most recognized natural landmarks like Delicate Arch and the Colorado River’s Gooseneck, it’s hard to ignore the allure of hiking in Moab. Some of the most popular hiking trails are paved and easily accessible, but you’ll want to bring your hiking boots for some slickrock scrambling once you’re off the beaten path.
First time hikers should visit Delicate Arch, Corona Arch and Grandstaff Trail to see some of Moab’s highlights. Hidden Valley Trail, Fisher Towers Trail and Hunter Canyon Trail are great options for hikers looking to find solitude. A tip for hiking in Moab — expect the weather and terrain to be more taxing than most other areas. Pack at least two liters of water per person, sun protection and a map of the area to keep you on track.
Ask any avid mountain biker about the riding in Moab and they’ll probably tell you that it’s some of the best in the world. The Whole Enchilada (which includes the Porcupine Rim section), Slickrock Trail and Captain Ahab have been named best trails by Singletracks, Outside and Trailforks. With hundreds of trails to cover, you’ll have more than enough riding to keep you coming back year after year.
With that said, the mountain biking here is generally difficult. The rolling slickrock pairs excellent traction with punchy small climbs. Most trails have some degree of technical terrain and soft, sandy stretches are common. Luckily, the town is passionate about riding and there are a handful of locally-owned bike shops where you can rent gear and get local tips for a safe ride. To complement the more technical trails, local groups have been building trails for all rider ability levels, so everyone can enjoy the unforgettable mountain biking in Moab.
Shopping & Dining
With such a unique and impressive landscape, it was only a matter of time before Moab would blossom into an eclectic and artistic community. Popping into the locally-owned restaurants, boutiques, art exhibits and gear outfitters that line Main Street is the best way to really feel the character of the place.
After a day on the trails, head into town for dinner at Sunset Grill, a once-privately owned mansion that’s been repurposed as one of Moab’s finest restaurants, or stop by Moab Brewery for a burger and a local craft beer. Once your legs are rested and you’re feeling rejuvenated, spend the evening exploring downtown’s outdoor art exhibits, and gear up for tomorrow’s adventure.
Shaped by millions of years of erosion, Moab’s sea of slickrock offers a seemingly endless list of trails and obstacles for Jeeps, Hummers and other four wheel rigs. This is the home of Easter Jeep Safari, a nine-day event where off-roaders travel from around the U.S. to crawl over Moab’s rugged terrain.
If you’re feeling hesitant about subjecting yourself and your SUV to this kind of abuse, don’t worry. Fully capable rentals and guided tours are available in town to help you feel the rush of creeping down a 50 degree rock face. A few of Moab’s most popular 4x4 routes are Fins and Things and Hell’s Revenge, both of which can be experienced with a local guide.
Just southwest of Moab, where the Green River meets the Colorado, lies the biggest whitewater section in North America, Cataract Canyon. This stretch of the Colorado River in Canyonlands National Park should be on every white water rafter’s bucket list. Here, the most adventurous among us can expect to barrel through huge rapids of whitewater beneath commanding red rock formations.
Not quite ready to commit to a multi-day rafting trip in the rapids? No problem. The Moab Daily and nearby Green River Daily stretches offer much more inviting water and an opportunity to spend a day soaking up beautiful views of the red cliff walls and even see a mountain goat or two. While Cataract Canyon is reserved for expert rafters and kayakers, beginners can find rentals and local tips for these mellow river trips in town.
Even though this is Utah’s adventure epicenter, it’s not all about adrenaline-pumping adventures. The drive into Moab is just the first of many opportunities to see the gorgeous vistas from behind the wheel.
Spend an early morning driving through Arches National Park, where a single road winds through some of the park’s most magnificent landmarks. Or, ramble down the La Sal Mountain Loop Road where arid desert landscape meets high alpine pinyon and juniper tree forests. Give yourself an afternoon and take this drive during the fall months to see the fall leaves changing.
Photography & Dark Skies
Photographers have traveled from all over the world to take shots of Moab’s open spaces. In fact, Dead Horse Point Scenic Overlook is credited as one of the most photographed scenic vistas in the world.
However, once the sun sets and the desert falls dark, you’ll want to keep your camera at the ready. Moab is home to some of the darkest night skies anywhere in the world. For many people, this may be the best view of the stars they’ve ever seen. So set up a lawn chair, turn down the lights and take a look upward for a chance to reconnect with the stars.
Climbing & Canyoneering
In 1962, Layton Kor, Huntley Ingalls and George Hurley made history with the first ascent up The Finger of Fate route on Titan Tower, the most prominent of the Fisher Towers and the tallest natural sandstone tower in North America. Their success intrigued climbers around the world, and the rest is history.
Today, experienced climbers and canyoneers travel to Moab for a chance to top out on the region’s sandstone formations or feel the rush of rappelling and scrambling down a canyon. Wall Street and Longbow Arch are popular destinations, but the best way to climb or canyoneer in Moab is with a guide who will keep you safe and share stories about the area’s history.
History & Wellness
No trip to Moab is complete without taking a beat to understand and appreciate this incredible desert’s history. Take a trip through Moab’s prehistoric past at Moab Giants, a museum where you can take an outdoor stroll among more than 100 life-size dinosaur replicas, or stop by the Film Museum at Red Cliffs Ranch to discover the area’s rich cinematic history. From there you can visit one of the plentiful rock art sites left behind by the Anasazi and Fremont people.
However you choose to spend your time in Moab, remember to be present and appreciate the moment. The red rocks are a place for healing and wellness, and Moab’s locals care passionately for them. It’s up to everyone who finds adventure here to act as a steward for the environment and help keep Moab Forever Mighty.