Moab Adventures: Best Things To Do

Moab, Utah is considered one of the best adventure towns in America.

There are a variety of things to do in Moab like mountain biking, rock climbing, hiking, river rafting, off roading in Jeeps and ATVs and exploring the National and State Parks in the area.

Enjoy Moab with kids. Family adventures include hiking, biking, junior ranger programs, and discovering dinosaurs! READ more here.

Turret Arch through the North Window at Arches National Park in Utah.

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Best Time To Visit Moab

Spring and fall are the peak times to visit Moab since the temperatures are more mild. During the summer temperatures can average 105 degrees. Even with the heat, summer can be a busy time.

During the winter there are days you could wear a short-sleeved shirt and shorts, or you’ll need to be bundled in layers depending on the weather. The off-season prices and fewer crowds make winter a terrific time to visit Moab.

Fins at Arches National Park with snow-capped mountains in the background.

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Where To Stay in Moab

There are four types of lodging in Moab:

Hotels/Motels – The majority of the restaurants, shopping and tour guides are along Main Street in town. If the hotel/motel is near Main Street, you are within walking distance of everything you would need.

Ranches – There are two famous ranches in Moab: the Red Cliffs Lodge and Sorrel River Ranch.  They are very nice, isolated from the town, and overlook the Colorado River.  They are more expensive than hotels and condos, but if you want a truly unique western experience, it is worth the money.  The drive from these ranches to town is at least a 15- 20 minutes.

Condo/House Rentals –  These accommodations are best if you are traveling with a large group or family. You may save some money since you will only have one nightly room rate, versus multiple rooms at hotels. And cooking meals in the kitchens is more economical and healthy.  Most of the condos reside just outside of downtown Moab, so you will still need transportation to get around town.

Camping/RV – There are commercial campgrounds and cabins, Bureau of Land Management campgrounds and National Park, State Park and Forest campgrounds. Read more about camping in Moab.

More lodging Information.

We use Airbnb (here’s a $40 coupon) or Hotels.com to rent accommodations that have a kitchen. Cooking our meals saves us quite a bit of money compared to eating out, and it’s much healthier! If we can’t find somewhere to stay with a kitchen, we find places that have a microwave and fridge at the minimum. You would be surprised the meals you can prepare in a microwave.

Here are some of our favorite places to stay in Moab:

BUDGET

MID RANGE

CONDOS

  • Purple Sage, Red Rocks Unit – This is our preferred accommodation since it’s walking distance to the Main Street shops and restaurants, it’s newly remodeled and always clean, bike storage, laundry, hot tub – and we love having a kitchen to cook our meals to save money!
  • Moab Flats – great condos for the same reasons above.

LUXURY

US National Parks Packing Checklists Click to Download


MOAB ADVENTURES: BEST THINGS TO DO

Arches National Park

Delicate Arch at sunset in Arches National Park

Arches National Park is best known for the iconic Delicate Arch.

The park showcases collection of 2,000 arches, slender spires, and spectacular hikes.

People of all ages and abilities can see and explore the park. Many formations can be seen from the scenic roads and parking lots.

There are numerous easy hikes for families with children. The more advanced hiker will find difficult and primitive trails like Devil’s Garden which lead to serenity away from the crowds.

Landscape Arch at Arches National Park, Utah.

For the best experience and photography in Arches National Park, visit early or late in the day as the colors are more vibrant, crowds are lighter, and it allows you to avoid the heat of the mid-summer day. Or plan a trip to Arches in the winter and avoid the crowds.

RELATED POSTS: Arches National Park

Canyonlands National Park

Mesa Arch at Canyonlands National Park, Utah at sunrise.

Canyonlands is a much larger park than Arches. It provides opportunities for day hiking, backpacking, mountain biking and driving off road.

Canyonlands is split into four distinct “districts.” Island in the Sky is closest to Moab and the most visited. There are many things to do at Island in the Sky like hike to Mesa Arch, drive the Schaeffer Switchbacks and photograph the many awe-inspiring viewpoints 2,000 feet above the Colorado River.

Sandstone formations found at Canyonlands Needles in Utah.

The Needles distrcit is about an hour south of Moab. The various things to do at Canyonlands Needles include hiking, backpacking, driving 4×4 roads and photographing the unique sandstone rock formations.

The other two districts are the Maze which is remote and rugged and the Green and Colorado Rivers that offer rafting and paddling adventures.

RELATED POSTS: Canyonlands National Park


Dead Horse Point State Park

Canyons and the Colorado River seen from the viewpoint at Dead Horse Point State Park in Utah.

Dead Horse Point State Park provides breathtaking desert landscapes as well as dramatic panoramic vistas of Canyonlands National Park and the Colorado River.

Named after a natural corral by cowboys in the 19th century, Dead Horse Point rests 2,000 feet above a gooseneck in the Colorado River. It is famous for being featured in the final ‘Grand Canyon’ scene of the 1991 film Thelma & Louise.

There are a variety of things to do at Dead Horse Point State Park like hike, bike, camp, and photograph the epic views!

RELATED POST: Dead Horse Point State Park

Hiking in Moab

Corona Arch in Moab, Utah

Some of the best hikes in Moab are in the National and State Park boundaries. But there are also countless other hikes in the Moab area to explore.

The Corona Arch Trail often gets overlooked. This 1.5-mile trail wanders over a Slickrock landscape and is marked with cairns that make it easy to follow. The trail gains 440 feet in elevation, most of it coming on a few short, steep scrambles equipped with steel cables (a trail version of handrails) for support.

The trail leads to various attractions, including the Corona Arch, Bow Tie Arch, beautiful views of the Colorado River, and a vast slick rock canyon. The trail is suitable for all ages and levels of hiker and is best hiked in the early morning or early evening due to the lack of shade.

Read about MORE hikes.

Off Road Adventures

Jeep atop slickrock in Moab, Utah.

The most famous 4×4 trail in Moab is Hell’s Revenge. It’s known for its high steep climbs, heart-pounding descents and beautiful views of the La Sal Mountains and Negro Bill Canyon. The most spectacular view is from the overlook where you’re high above the Colorado River.

Feeling a little on the adventurous side? Take a Drive Along Tour where you get behind the wheel of a Jeep, and under the watchful eye of an experienced guide, follow their vehicle along this trail. You may also opt for the Ride Along Tour where the guide does the driving and you simply enjoy the ride. We recommend Outlaw Jeep Tours – here’s a list of other outfitters in the area.

Potash Road

Your Moab itinerary should include driving this Scenic Byway where you can see great views of the Colorado River, ancient rock art, and dinosaur tracks.

Begin the drive in the late afternoon so you can enjoy the spectacular color on the red sandstone cliffs on the return to Moab as the sun sets. The scenic byway is approximately two hours for the 34 -mile round-trip drive to Jug Handle Arch.

Potash Road begins about 4 miles north of Moab, where it turns off of Highway 191. The road first enters the deep gorge of the Colorado River. A few miles farther look for rock climbers on the cliffs which locals refer to as Wall Street.

Just beyond this, you can admire the petroglyphs that are signed with pull-offs. Further down the road is the “Dinosaur Tracks” turnout, where you can see a series of three-toed dinosaur tracks. READ to find more dinosaur tracks in the area.

The final attraction on the road is Jug Handle Arch. Beyond this, the canyon widens and the sheer cliffs below Dead Horse Point State Park are visible in the distance.


Stargaze

Milky Way near Turret Arch at Arches National Park, Utah.

As cities around the world grow bigger and brighter, the night sky becomes dimmed by light pollution. Stargazing has become a tourist attraction at many Dark Sky locations around the world.

Moab, Arches, Canyonlands and Dead Horse Point are all internationally recognized as the best places for viewing stars and photographing the Milky Way due to their remote locations, altitude, and clear skies.

The slogan “Half the Park is After Dark” encourages visiting these National Parks in Utah at night and simply LOOK UP!

River Rafting

Red raft going down rapids on a river - white water river rafting

Rafting the mighty Colorado River you can experience a wonderful stretch of whitewater and famous red rock canyons.

You can enjoy this fun Moab adventure no matter how much time you have — from half-day and full-day rafting trips to multi-day rafting trips. Moab rafting trips are perfect for families or groups of friends.

TRY IT! A white water rafting adventure. Our friends at Campfires and Concierges share their rafting story and photos.

Photography Tour

Join us on a photography workshop at some of the most picturesque places around Moab, Utah. The landscape will include red rock and slickrock formations, arches, the Colorado River, and panorama vistas and canyons with mountains in the distance.



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Best Things to Do in Moab - hiking at Turret Arch and river rafting   Plan your vacation to Moab, Utah - Delicate Arch

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18 comments

Moab looks so exciting. Wow. The pictures and the landscape got me hooked. I would love to explore the National parks and that stargazing would be fun. This is definitely going to be on my list whenever I visit America.

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I haven’t been to Moab and Utah and didn’t realise that there were so many places to see. I have always wanted to go to the Horseshoe bend. Now I have added the Arches park and others as well. Love the photograph of the milky way and it must have been awesome shooting it.

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I love Utah but have never been to Moab! It looks like the kind of place my husband would love! Definitely bookmarking this for our next trip out there!

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I’m going to Utah this spring for the first time, so nice to know that is a good time of year to visit Moab. Your pictures are really amazing. For me the stargazing photo is the most impressive. I am from New York City, so I almost never get to see incredible stars like that.

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Spring is an amazing time to visit Utah. Definitely take the time to look at the stars at night while you are Moab. It’s amazing!!

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Wow! Moab looks stunningly beautiful and your super amazing pictures perfectly justify the beauty of the place. The views are simply breathtaking! I love the one at Canyonlands and the Dead Horse Point. But most of all, stargazing is something that has attracted me the most. Hope to venture through these National Parks some day and photograph the Milky Way. 🙂

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Photographing the Milky Way is a bucket list think I hope you get to do one day!

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Utah is probably the first ‘unusual’ place that I had heard of in USA (i.e something other than Washington, California etc). A decade ago, when there were hardly any blogs, there was a couple with a dog living in and blogging about Utah! Now I don’t even remember that blog’s name!!!! So yeah, Utah is always special to me… 🙂 🙂 🙂
Stargazing and the Arches National park would be the top things for me to do of this list. How did you click that pic of night sky? I always mess up!

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We always shoot the Milky Way with focus set on infinity, full blown aperture and you’ll want a really fast lens like 1.8 and usually run between 1600 and 2400 ISO and 20 second exposure. Every camera will be a bit different. We use Nikon. Hope this helps!

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Looks like a fantastic place and your photos are so beautiful, they make me want to go there right now! Taking notes… 🙂

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Thanks – Moab offers so much variety that anyone can find things to do!

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This is an excellent post, and very adventurous too! Moab is completely new to me, but your photos are inspiring me to visit one day. I’m not a hiker, but I’d give it a go just to see those stunning arches and landscape. Will also have a go taking photos!

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There are many easy ‘walks’ to see some of the arches so you would do fine. It’s an amazing place!

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These photos are completely stunning! my brother went here during the Fall and he loved it, makes me want to go too!

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Thank you Kristen. Being a photographer, you would love Moab – so many amazing things to photograph!

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I’m hoping to plan a road trip here this summer. Pinning this for reference. Thank you so much!!

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