Moab, known worldwide as the mountain bike Mecca, is home to two national parks, beautiful red rock scenery and the pristine waters of the Colorado River.
As one of the most popular outdoor destinations in southwest US, Moab is ideal for mountain biking, hiking, four wheel driving, and river trips. Fancy taking things a little easier? Thanks to Moab’s three scenic byways you can enjoy the gorgeous vistas from the comfort of your vehicle.
Moab’s Arches National Park, with its out-of-this-world landscapes, is minutes from town. And within the hour you can find yourself in Canyonlands National Park’s Island in the Sky, which is every bit as magical as it sounds, with stunning views of canyons, mesas and buttes.
Moab’s national parks don’t have a monopoly on the region’s beauty. Just a short drive from town, Dead Horse Point State Park offers incredible views of Colorado River 2,000 feet below. Having a deja vu moment? Chances are you’ve seen Moab in numerous films and TV programs.
Isn’t it about time you saw first hand what all the fuss is about?
Despite Moab’s reputation as a dry, arid desert, it offers some excellent fishing opportunities.
In the section of Colorado River that meanders through Moab, there’s primarily catfish to be had, with some bass and catfish.
If it’s trout you’re sweet on head south of town to Kens Lake. It’s a small body of water that can be fished from shore, from a float tube or on a small boat. Or, if you’re keen to find a more elevated locale for a spot of trout fishing, head east of Moab to the La Sal Mountains. Lakes Warner and Oowah, only accessible in summer and early fall, are where avid fly fisherfolk stake their claim.
Moab is home to some of Utah’s top hiking trails, both within the boundaries of Arches and Cayonlands National Parks, and amongst the outer desert and mountain regions.
You’ll find trailheads between two and 23 miles from downtown. While most are rich in sandstone, beautiful arch formations and even prehistoric pictographs, some are manageable for the inexperienced hiker, while others are ideally combined for a multi-day jaunt.
From a ten-minute micro hike to a seven mile trek through remote surrounds, Arches National Park is as diverse as it is beautiful. Meanwhile, Canyonlands National Park’s Island in the Sky District offers everything from 30 minute mesa top walks to overnight treks taking in the Colorado River.
There’s reason to stray from Moab’s national parks – the region’s public lands also contain a large number of trails appropriate for the whole family, whatever your fitness.
Negro Bill Canyon to Morning Glory Bridge
Hike through a narrow canyon to a beautiful natural bridge. Take in the small streams, sandstone walls, and an array of plant and animal life.
Criss-cross the streams (appropriate footwear is therefore a must!) Scrambling over rocky areas is also on the cards – great fun for big and little kids alike.
Corona & Bowtie Arches
Just west of Moab you’ll find Corona Arch and Bowtie Arch – both as striking as they are photogenic. If it’s a short hike you’re after, this route is hard to beat.
Children will find plenty to hold their attention along the way, including open slickrock and even a ladder bolted to the rock side.
Fisher Towers offers an easy hike for folks of all fitness levels. The trail includes scenic rock formations, plus Moenkopi and Cutler sandstones. But be warned: there’s very little shade along the trail.
Take in Moab’s open desert ranges on the back of a trusty horse or mule. Enjoy access all areas, including the bank of the Colorado River, various creek beds, and even famous movie sites.
With an experienced guide leading the way, soak up Moab’s history and folklore. Whether you’re a horse riding newbie, or a seasoned buckaroo, your trip can be tailored accordingly.
Don’t be surprised if you get a strong sense of déjà vu when moseying through the Moab area on horseback. Its classic desert backdrop has featured in many well-known Westerns starring the likes of John Wayne.
When only the best mountain biking will do, set your wheels towards Moab. Seemingly endless views are teamed with stunning red rock and slickrock.
Moab’s mountain biking Mecca, the Slickrock Bike Trail, sees riders tackle Navajo sandstone domes along birds’ eye views of the Colorado River.
If the technical aspects of mountain biking really float your boat, Utah’s Poison Spider Mesa Trail and Amasa Back Trail offer just the challenge you’re looking for.
Moab’s Whole Enchilada boasts just that. A combination of six trails covering 25 miles of varied terrain, the advanced track is both technically challenging and visually whiz-bang.
For the mother of all biking adventures, kickstart your 130-mile trip at Kokopelli’s Trail. Linking Moab with Grand Junction. Do you have enough time up your sleeve to tackle a multi-day canyon-country challenge? Think White Rim Trail all the way.
Utah Biking Safety
Don’t compromise when it comes to your biking party’s safety:
• Don a helmet
• Pack both water and high-energy food
• Simply packing trail maps isn’t enough, you also need to know how to track your position using them
• Don’t neglect your bike’s function. Check it periodically
• You may be working a sweat up now, but temperatures can drop and terrains can change.
• Remember to dress appropriately
• Buddy up to stay safe
• Tackling unfamiliar territory? Don’t be shy; hire a guide
Stay found, save money
Has the trail gone cold? Don’t carry on in the off chance you’ll regain your bearings. Instead, track back towards the trailhead to locate the trail or ask for directions from someone familiar with the area.
If retracing your route isn’t viable, stay where you are, conserve your water, don’t expend energy unnecessarily, and await rescue.
Don’t head out on your grand adventure without letting someone know your trail and forecast return. That way, should something go awry, you can be confident that help is on its way.
Rafting / Kayaking / Canoeing
Whitewater river rafters flock from the four corners of the globe to tackle Moab’s rapids. From mild to intense, whatever your penchant for adrenalin, there’s an adventure to suit.
And there’s more to Moab than zinging rapids. The Colorado and Green rivers snake their way through arresting canyons amongst red, black and gold sandstone, towering spires, and broad beautiful beaches.
Art fans will find a few surprises in this remote Utah nook. Native American Indian Rock Art, dating back more than 700 years, can be seen on boulders and stone. The area’s Wild West history is also evident in hideouts like Outlaw Cave and the abandoned homesteads that dot the landscape.