Check out our tips for planning a trip to Moab in December. It’s a great month to visit Moab during the off-season.
There are plenty of things to do in Moab, Utah if you enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, biking, photography, and more!
Use this guide to plan a December vacation to Moab: weather, activities, what to pack, where to stay and more!
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WHAT TO PACK FOR A TRIP TO MOAB
FREE DOWNLOAD: Moab, Utah packing list
- Hiking shoes
- Darn Tough hiking socks
- WATER: Hydration packs or carry refillable water bottles in your backpack.
- Healthy snacks – there may be NO services on the trails you’ll hike or drive.
- Lip balm with sunscreen and hydrating lotion – Utah’s high elevation and dry air can be hard on your skin.
- Summer – High temperatures, unrelenting sunlight, and low humidity. To keep cool, wear light colored, loose fitting UV protection clothing that does not absorb sunlight. Also avoid sun burn by wearing a sunhat and by generously applying sunscreen to any parts of your body that are exposed to the sun.
- Winter – Pack winter clothing to stay dry and warm.
- Fleece jacket
- Buff headbands
- Hand sanitizer
- Flashlight or headlamp
- First aid kit
- DOWNLOAD – Camera gear checklist
A Photo Tour of Moab, Utah
Take a visual tour through the Moab, Utah area to see the stunning landscapes you’ll see when you visit!
Where to Stay in Moab
There are all types of lodging in and near Moab from budget-friendly hotels to higher-prices resorts. You’ll also find vacation rentals, a hostel, campgrounds and RV parks in Moab.
READ OUR FULL GUIDE: Where to stay in Moab
- Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Moab – we enjoyed our stay and highly recommend this hotel due to its location close to Arches.
- Purple Sage – our all-time favorite place to stay in Moab – walking distance to shopping, full kitchen, and only 8 units so you don’t feel lost in a large hotel.
- Red Cliffs Lodge – rooms up to 6 people – located 17 miles from Moab, this lodge is known for its beautiful location, winery and activities like horseback riding, fishing and more!
- Vacation Rentals in Moab – we like kitchens found in rentals to cook our own meals to save money!
MOAB WEATHER IN DECEMBER
If you don’t mind colder weather, and a chance of snow, December is a wonderful time to enjoy Moab adventures like hiking, biking and photography.
If you’re wondering what it’s like to visit Moab at other times of the year, check out our article: Best time to visit Moab.
December temperatures in Moab: highs 45 and lows 22 degrees Fahrenheit. Any time of year it’s important to stay hydrated and use sun protection, even in the winter.
FOOD: Pack and eat healthy snacks because there may be NO services on the trails or scenic drives.
Arches & Canyonlands AUDIO TOUR
“Download the app to your phone – no cell or wifi service needed. Based on your GPS location, the app takes you on a guided tour of the park and points out all the interesting features and stops. It’s like having a park ranger in the car with you.”
THINGS TO DO IN MOAB IN DECEMBER
Moab is one of the popular places to visit in Utah for outdoor activities. Here’s a list of activities to do in December:
National and State Parks Near Moab in December
Explore the two National Parks and one State Park in the Moab area. In December you can enjoy scenic drives or hiking trails at any time of day! Be prepared with winter clothing so you stay warm while exploring the parks in December. Here are some guides to help you plan your visit to these destinations in December:
Dinosaurs and Petroglyphs in Moab
The Moab Giants Museum is a MUST for anyone who loves dinosaurs! December is a great time to be outside walking along a trail of life-sized dinosaurs! There are also lots of places to see dinosaur tracks and petroglyphs in Moab too!
- Moab Giants Museum
- Dinosaur Sites Near Moab
- Moab Museum
- Moab Museum of Film and Western Heritage
- Amazing Petroglyphs in Moab
Moab Hiking Trails in December
In December you’ll enjoy most of the Moab Utah hiking trails to yourself!
Be prepared for trails to be muddy, snowy or icy if a storm rolls through. You may even need traction devices. Your hiking day pack needs to include water, sunscreen and chapstick even in the winter!
Our favorite day hikes in Moab are:
And of course you can’t beat the trails in the National and State Parks:
- Arches National Park Hiking Trails
- Canyonlands Hikes
- Canyonlands Island in the Sky Hikes
- Dead Horse Point State Park Hiking Trails
Biking in Moab in December
Moab Area Photography in December
Moab is also a bucket list destination for photographers. Sunrise and sunset are the best times to photograph the areas around Moab because the light at this time creates a spectacular glow on the red rocks that’s so beautiful! In December you won’t need to get up “as early” or stay out “as late” as you do during the summer months which is nice!
We’ve created an Arches and Canyonlands Photography Guide detailing the best photo spots in these parks and our favorite 3 day itinerary some of our favorite ‘lesser known’ places to take pictures in Moab!
Moab Stargazing in December
When visiting Moab, you must take one evening to go outside and LOOK UP! In December the Milky Way is no longer visible in the northern hemisphere, but the endless sky of stars is jaw-dropping!
Arches, Canyonlands and Dead Horse Point are internationally recognized as one of the best places for stargazing because of the remote location, accessibility, altitude and clear skies.
Moab’s Potash Road Scenic Drive in December
If you’re looking for beautiful views of the Colorado River, ancient rock petroglyphs, and dinosaur tracks, then drive the Potash Road! It’s stunning in the winter with the contrast of white snow against the red rocks!
It’s a 34 mile roundtrip drive along the Colorado River. Plan about 2 hours for the drive and stops to take pictures. We like going in the late afternoon so the canyon walls will glow with that deep orange color and reflect into the Colorado River.
Off-roading in Moab in November
If you’re up for an adventure, plan to explore the off-road trails in Moab! Local tour companies offer 4×4 rentals for you to tackle the trails on your own. If you’re an inexperienced driver, we recommend you book a tour or have a guide ride along with you to navigate and teach. We have used and recommend Outlaw Jeep Tours. You can also book a guided 4WD tour in Moab where you sit back and let the driver navigate the trails!