There are so many outdoor activities and things to do in Moab like mountain biking, rock climbing, hiking, river rafting, and off-roading in Jeeps and ATVs.
Use this Moab Utah Vacation Guide to plan your vacation: weather, activities, what to pack, where to stay and more!
If you love the outdoor, then Moab, Utah should be at the top of your list of places to visit in Utah.
Moab is located in southeastern Utah near Arches and Canyonlands National Parks and Dead Horse Point State Park
Here’s our list of things to do, what to pack, where to stay and more to plan your Moab vacation!
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What To Pack for a Trip to Moab
- 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!
Best Time To Visit Moab
Here’s what you need to know to determine the best time to visit Moab for YOU.
Spring and fall are the peak times to visit Moab since the temperatures are more mild. Keep in mind the town, parks and trails will all be busy so be prepared for crowds.
During the summer, the Moab weather is pretty extreme with temperatures averaging 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.
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.”
Where to Stay in Moab
There are many Moab hotels to choose from: budget-friendly hotels to higher-priced 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!
How To Get to Moab, Utah
There are 3 ways to get to Moab: via Salt Lake City, Utah; Grand Junction, Colorado or Las Vegas, Nevada.
THINGS TO DO IN MOAB
If you’re traveling with kids, there are many things to do like hiking, biking, junior ranger programs, and discovering dinosaurs!
CHECK OUT this list of kid-friendly things to do in Moab to enjoy outdoor family fun.
Visit Arches National Park Near Moab
Visiting Arches National Park you’ll see arches, spires, fins and balanced rocks!
People of all ages and abilities can see and explore the park. You can see many features from the Arches National Park scenic drive and parking lots.
Arches National Park hiking trails are perfect for the avid hiker, causal visitor and families traveling with kids. The more advanced hiker will enjoy difficult and primitive trails like Devil’s Garden trail which lead to serenity away from the crowds.
Arches National Park photography is best early or late in the day when the red rocks glow with vibrant color. We enjoy sunrise and morning photography when there aren’t as many people in the park at that time.
- Arches National Park Travel Guide
- Arches Packing List
- Where to Stay Near Arches National Park
- Tours Near Moab, Utah
Visit Canyonlands National Park Near Moab
Canyonlands National Park Island in the Sky is the closest district to Moab. You can hike to Mesa Arch, drive the Schaeffer Switchbacks and photograph the views along the Island in the Sky scenic drive that are 2,000 feet above the Colorado River.
The Needles district is about an hour south of Moab. There are fun things to do at Needles Canyonlands like 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.
- Canyonlands National Park Guide
- Best Time to Visit Canyonlands National Park
- Things to Do at Canyonlands National Park
- Where to Stay in Moab Near Canyonlands
- TOURS Near Canyonlands
Visit Dead Horse Point State Park Near Moab
The Utah State Parks are stunning! Dead Horse Point State Park is an iconic location to see the panoramic vistas and the bend in the Colorado River. Photographers come from around the world to capture this landscape scene.
The side trip near the entrance to Canyonlands Island in the sky, and the State Park fee, are worth the visit! You can explore the Dead Horse Point State Park hiking trails or biking trails. It’s a terrific place to camp as well!
Explore Hiking Trails in Moab
Many of the best Moab Utah hiking trails are found in the National and State Park boundaries. But there are many other hikes in the Moab area to explore.
The Corona Arch trail is 1.5-miles over a slickrock landscape marked with cairns. 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 also leads to Bow Tie Arch and beautiful views of the Colorado River. The trail is suitable for all ages and levels of hiker. We recommend hiking in the early morning or early evening due to the lack of shade.
Your hiking day pack needs to include water, sunscreen and chapstick!
- Day Hike Checklist
- What to Bring on a Hike
- Photography Gear for Hiking
- Hiking Gear for Kids & Tips for Hiking with Kids
Ride the Biking Trails in Moab
Moab mountain biking has become a popular activity to explore the area.
There are a variety of trails for any experience level, from beginners looking for a scenic ride through beautiful canyons and mesa tops, to seasoned bikers looking for the ultimate challenge.
Moab is known for the world famous Slickrock Bike Trail. It’s a challenging 9.6 mile trail that’s highly technical and considered by many to be the ultimate mountain biking experience.
Off-Roading in Moab
The best time to go off-roading in Moab is usually spring and fall. During these seasons the weather stays pretty mild and sunny. However, these are also peak times for tourism, so the trails will be very busy.
Tours are the best way to see the scenery and enjoy the thrill of off-roading, especially if you’re intimidated by the vehicles and terrain.
But if you’re feeling a little on the adventurous side, book 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 the trail.
We have used and recommend Outlaw Jeep Tours for the Drive Along Tour.
Drive the Moab Scenic Byway: Potash Road
The Potash Road is a Scenic Byway where you can see great views of the Colorado River, ancient rock art, and dinosaur tracks.
We recommend you begin the drive in the late afternoon so you can see the glowing color on the red sandstone cliffs as the sun sets. The scenic byway is a 34 -mile round-trip drive to Jug Handle Arch and back to Moab. Plan two hours for the trip with stops to take photos.
Potash Road begins about 4 miles north of Moab, where it turns off of Highway 191. Soon the road enters the deep gorge of the Colorado River. Look for rock climbers on the cliffs that locals refer to as Wall Street.
Watch for signs and pullouts indicating petroglyphs. And look for the “Dinosaur Tracks” sign and turnout. A short hike takes you to a series of three-toed dinosaur tracks. You’ll be amazed at all the dinosaur tracks in Moab you can find.
The final attraction on the road is Jug Handle Arch. Beyond this, the road becomes rough and requires a 4WD vehicle. It connects with the Shaefer Trail in Canyonlands.
You definitely want to pack your camera to take pictures of the stunning Moab landscape. Download our camera gear checklist!
Moab photography is best at sunrise and sunset because the reflected light on the red rocks is so vibrant!
→ We highly recommend this photography guide if you’re SERIOUS about taking photos in Moab: 3 Day Itinerary & Photography Guide
Stargazing in Moab
Stargazing is a MUST-DO activity while you’re in Moab. It’s home to many Dark Sky locations like Arches and Canyonlands National Parks and Dead Horse Point.
All three locations 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!
During the spring, summer and fall the Milky Way is visible!
White Water Rafting in Moab
Rafting the mighty Colorado River is a thrill and a wonderful way to enjoy the scenery around the Moab area.
You can take half-day, full-day or even multi-day rafting trips in Moab. This activity is perfect for families or groups of friends.
If you want to enjoy calm waters, there are sections of the river where you can do stand up paddleboarding.
Visit Moab Giants
Moab Giants Dinosaur Park is a cool attraction for kids and adults! Explore the outdoor trail and walk along 100 life-sized dinosaurs. They have dinosaur egg wagons to transport the kids. How cool is that!?
This fun attraction in Moab also includes a 5D PaleoAquarium, Tracks Museum and playground. We recommend you go in the morning or late afternoon to avoid the scorching heat of the sun.