The Marvels Of Moab

We compiled some of our favorite activities for you to consider for a trip to Moab, Utah.

Explore
By Adventurtunity Family
Explore Ambassador

Whenever you hear someone mention Moab, Utah what is the first thing that comes to mind? Depending on your interests, it’s most likely Arches National Park or Jeep trail heaven. For us, it was both! And for good reason: Moab is full of incredible arches and Jeep trails that might make the hair on the back of your neck stand up! Not to mention the fact that there are actually two national parks in Moab.

We didn’t initially realize there were two national parks in Moab. That is, until we started researching the Mighty 5, Utah’s five national parks. The main entrance to Arches National Park is located immediately outside of Moab. About 20 minutes down the road is Canyonlands National Park. Going a little farther, Moab is two hours from Capitol Reef National Park and just under five hours from Bryce and Zion canyons.

We were fortunate enough to stay in the Moab area for a month and experienced a lot! We did several hiking trails, saw a handful of arches, tackled a few Jeep trails, floated the Colorado River, jumped out of a plane and still just barely scratched the surface of what the area has to offer.

If you plan a trip to Moab know this: There is no bad Plan B, C, D or E when looking for something to do! And trust us, you might need them. To help you navigate your planning and whittle down all the options, we compiled some of our favorite activities for you to consider.

1/19

Arches National Park Secret Entrance

Of course, visit Arches National Park — that pretty much goes without saying. But while we were there, we experienced a few mornings when the park was closed due to being at full capacity, hence our plans B and C. We later learned that there is a back entrance into the park via a BLM road that originates in Thompson Springs and takes you into the north end of the park. It takes you directly to trailheads for awesome arches like Tower Arch that most don’t do because of the distance from the main entrance. On busy days, we had success entering the park after 4:30 and hiking to Delicate Arch and Double Arch, both of which are very picturesque at sunset. We even packed a picnic dinner and dined under the glow of a moonlit Double Arch!

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Bowtie Arch And Corona Arch

In addition to the numerous arches found within Arches National Park, there are a handful in the surrounding area, too. Added benefits to visiting these on the state’s land is that they aren’t as crowded and you can bring your dogs. We hiked to Bowtie Arch and Corona Arch early one morning and didn’t see many people until we were on our way back to the car. Corona Arch was spectacular to see because you can walk up next to it for some incredible pictures. It’s a great place to have a picnic or hang out for a few hours and soak up the surrounding beauty.

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Jeep Trails

If you have a Jeep, or love Jeeps, don’t skip out on the plethora of Jeep trails in the area. There are a few companies in town that offer Jeep rentals and tours. And if you are lucky enough, you might just meet up with another Jeep or 10 to enjoy the trail with! We recommend Poison Spider Mesa, which is in the same area as Bowtie Arch and Corona Arch. The Top of the World Trail, Dome Plateau and Hell’s Revenge are popular, too. While our preferred trail transportation is our Wrangler, we saw tons of side-by-sides out on the trails, too. So, if those are more your speed, go for it! There are rentals and tours that cater to that crowd, as well. The bottom line is, don’t leave Moab without experiencing off-roading at its absolute finest. There are trails for all skill levels, so you can drive to your adrenaline limit!

 

8/19

Fisher Towers

On our first day trying to get into Arches National Park, the park was at max capacity, which left us to create a Plan B on the fly. We had previously met with some friends near Castle Valley and knew there were trails over there. On a whim, we decided to hike Fisher Towers, and it was incredible! It was vastly different from the arch terrain but equally spectacular. As you walk along the trail, you will be in the shadow of magnificent red rock spires rising nearly 1,000 feet into the sky. It’s a natural marvel to behold, without a doubt. As you continue, the view of the valley below gets better and better. You’ll be able to see the Colorado River winding its way through, lots of smaller hoodoos down in the valley and the silhouette of Castle Rock off in the distance. The trail is only 2.2 miles long but feels a bit longer with all the terrain and elevation changes. You will, however, know when you get to the end of the trail because it is marked as such. Of course, this provides you with another great photo opportunity!

 

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Sandy Beach

While driving along U.S. 128 on the way to/from Castle Valley and Fisher Towers, we noticed a variety of campgrounds, cabins, beach access spots and boat launches along the Colorado River. Toward the end of our stay, the temperatures started to warm up, although the water did not. But we decided to have a relaxing beach day where our son could play in the sand. We dipped our toes in the river and took in the view, enjoyed a picnic lunch, and our pup got to go for a swim. It was a great little spot where you could easily put in a kayak or paddleboard, too. There are several spots along the Colorado River where you can plan a leisurely day of enjoyment. And you can’t go wrong hanging out below the towering red walls of the canyon!

13/19

Float, Raft, Kayak Or Paddle The Colorado River

The Colorado River is absolutely beautiful as it carves its way through the canyon, backed by spectacular mountain views. But you truly can’t beat the views you see when you get out on the water. If you travel with water gear, there are access points and boat launches all up and down the river for you to get on the water. If you’re the type to travel light, you can rent water equipment or book tours in town. Some of our friends have their own rafts and invited us to float a section of the river. We happily accepted their offer and had a blast on the river! Halfway down, we pulled off at a sandbar in the river and enjoyed lunch in the sun. The kids and pups got to run around, and we all just basked in the beauty of our surroundings.

14/19

Canyonlands National Park

If you’re visiting Moab for more than two days, be sure to carve out time for Canyonlands National Park. The entrance is not too far outside of town, or you can access it by driving Shafer Trail if you have a Jeep or other decently capable SUV. We were able to see the Island in the Sky district in one day, which is home to the Mesa Arch, Grand View Point, Syncline Loop and visitor center. The views in Canyonlands are second to none. Utah shines with its extremely varied terrain, and Canyonlands boasts some of the best “I can see my house from here” overlooks we’ve ever seen. If you’re traveling with kids, be sure to swing by the visitor center for their Junior Ranger program badge and book. Regrettably, we weren’t able to make it to the Needles District, which we hear is amazing. But that just means we will have to go back!

15/19

Skydive Moab

We know jumping out of a perfectly good airplane isn’t for everyone. But if this thrill of a lifetime is your thing, or you’ve considered it before, now is the time. We jumped with Skydive Moab to celebrate our nine-year anniversary and had an absolute blast! You’ve probably noticed us mentioning the views a lot. It’s part of the reason we love Utah so much — there just isn’t a disappointing sight anywhere! The landscape is jaw-dropping at every turn. And if you think it’s amazing from ground level, the views over Arches National Park and Canyonlands from 18,000 feet up will absolutely blow your mind! On top of that, you can see the snow-capped La Sal Mountains, as well. For several exhilarating minutes, you get to experience “flying” before putting your feet back on terra firma. The adrenaline did not stop flowing for hours.

 

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Capitol Reef National Park

If you are on a mission to experience as many of the national parks as you can, like we are, then you won’t want to miss Capitol Reef. While not technically in Moab, it is just a few hours down the road. This puts it within your grasp to visit for a day, a few hours or even longer, if you plan accordingly. We were limited on time, trying to squeeze it all in, and were only able to experience the Grand Wash hike. But the drive to Capitol Reef from the east was incredible, with the landscape completely changing multiple times during the ride. And that was before we even got to the park! Even though we barely scratched the surface, we learned about the fruit trees within the park and even got to see some deer up close. On our way back, we were trying to find the Moonscape Overlook, which is very close by just outside of the park, but we were unsuccessful and running out of daylight. We know the park has so much more to offer and certainly plan to visit again.

 

Like we said, there is so much to do in Moab. The tough part is deciding what you will see and what you will skip. Hopefully, you have a few ideas now of must-see places and a few you might not have known about. But if it is not already, put southern Utah on your short list of places to visit. It’s truly a playground for those who love the outdoors!

19/19
1 / 19

Arches National Park Secret Entrance

Of course, visit Arches National Park — that pretty much goes without saying. But while we were there, we experienced a few mornings when the park was closed due to being at full capacity, hence our plans B and C. We later learned that there is a back entrance into the park via a BLM road that originates in Thompson Springs and takes you into the north end of the park. It takes you directly to trailheads for awesome arches like Tower Arch that most don’t do because of the distance from the main entrance. On busy days, we had success entering the park after 4:30 and hiking to Delicate Arch and Double Arch, both of which are very picturesque at sunset. We even packed a picnic dinner and dined under the glow of a moonlit Double Arch!

Bowtie Arch And Corona Arch

In addition to the numerous arches found within Arches National Park, there are a handful in the surrounding area, too. Added benefits to visiting these on the state’s land is that they aren’t as crowded and you can bring your dogs. We hiked to Bowtie Arch and Corona Arch early one morning and didn’t see many people until we were on our way back to the car. Corona Arch was spectacular to see because you can walk up next to it for some incredible pictures. It’s a great place to have a picnic or hang out for a few hours and soak up the surrounding beauty.

Jeep Trails

If you have a Jeep, or love Jeeps, don’t skip out on the plethora of Jeep trails in the area. There are a few companies in town that offer Jeep rentals and tours. And if you are lucky enough, you might just meet up with another Jeep or 10 to enjoy the trail with! We recommend Poison Spider Mesa, which is in the same area as Bowtie Arch and Corona Arch. The Top of the World Trail, Dome Plateau and Hell’s Revenge are popular, too. While our preferred trail transportation is our Wrangler, we saw tons of side-by-sides out on the trails, too. So, if those are more your speed, go for it! There are rentals and tours that cater to that crowd, as well. The bottom line is, don’t leave Moab without experiencing off-roading at its absolute finest. There are trails for all skill levels, so you can drive to your adrenaline limit!

 

Fisher Towers

On our first day trying to get into Arches National Park, the park was at max capacity, which left us to create a Plan B on the fly. We had previously met with some friends near Castle Valley and knew there were trails over there. On a whim, we decided to hike Fisher Towers, and it was incredible! It was vastly different from the arch terrain but equally spectacular. As you walk along the trail, you will be in the shadow of magnificent red rock spires rising nearly 1,000 feet into the sky. It’s a natural marvel to behold, without a doubt. As you continue, the view of the valley below gets better and better. You’ll be able to see the Colorado River winding its way through, lots of smaller hoodoos down in the valley and the silhouette of Castle Rock off in the distance. The trail is only 2.2 miles long but feels a bit longer with all the terrain and elevation changes. You will, however, know when you get to the end of the trail because it is marked as such. Of course, this provides you with another great photo opportunity!

 

Sandy Beach

While driving along U.S. 128 on the way to/from Castle Valley and Fisher Towers, we noticed a variety of campgrounds, cabins, beach access spots and boat launches along the Colorado River. Toward the end of our stay, the temperatures started to warm up, although the water did not. But we decided to have a relaxing beach day where our son could play in the sand. We dipped our toes in the river and took in the view, enjoyed a picnic lunch, and our pup got to go for a swim. It was a great little spot where you could easily put in a kayak or paddleboard, too. There are several spots along the Colorado River where you can plan a leisurely day of enjoyment. And you can’t go wrong hanging out below the towering red walls of the canyon!

Float, Raft, Kayak Or Paddle The Colorado River

The Colorado River is absolutely beautiful as it carves its way through the canyon, backed by spectacular mountain views. But you truly can’t beat the views you see when you get out on the water. If you travel with water gear, there are access points and boat launches all up and down the river for you to get on the water. If you’re the type to travel light, you can rent water equipment or book tours in town. Some of our friends have their own rafts and invited us to float a section of the river. We happily accepted their offer and had a blast on the river! Halfway down, we pulled off at a sandbar in the river and enjoyed lunch in the sun. The kids and pups got to run around, and we all just basked in the beauty of our surroundings.

Canyonlands National Park

If you’re visiting Moab for more than two days, be sure to carve out time for Canyonlands National Park. The entrance is not too far outside of town, or you can access it by driving Shafer Trail if you have a Jeep or other decently capable SUV. We were able to see the Island in the Sky district in one day, which is home to the Mesa Arch, Grand View Point, Syncline Loop and visitor center. The views in Canyonlands are second to none. Utah shines with its extremely varied terrain, and Canyonlands boasts some of the best “I can see my house from here” overlooks we’ve ever seen. If you’re traveling with kids, be sure to swing by the visitor center for their Junior Ranger program badge and book. Regrettably, we weren’t able to make it to the Needles District, which we hear is amazing. But that just means we will have to go back!

Skydive Moab

We know jumping out of a perfectly good airplane isn’t for everyone. But if this thrill of a lifetime is your thing, or you’ve considered it before, now is the time. We jumped with Skydive Moab to celebrate our nine-year anniversary and had an absolute blast! You’ve probably noticed us mentioning the views a lot. It’s part of the reason we love Utah so much — there just isn’t a disappointing sight anywhere! The landscape is jaw-dropping at every turn. And if you think it’s amazing from ground level, the views over Arches National Park and Canyonlands from 18,000 feet up will absolutely blow your mind! On top of that, you can see the snow-capped La Sal Mountains, as well. For several exhilarating minutes, you get to experience “flying” before putting your feet back on terra firma. The adrenaline did not stop flowing for hours.

 

Capitol Reef National Park

If you are on a mission to experience as many of the national parks as you can, like we are, then you won’t want to miss Capitol Reef. While not technically in Moab, it is just a few hours down the road. This puts it within your grasp to visit for a day, a few hours or even longer, if you plan accordingly. We were limited on time, trying to squeeze it all in, and were only able to experience the Grand Wash hike. But the drive to Capitol Reef from the east was incredible, with the landscape completely changing multiple times during the ride. And that was before we even got to the park! Even though we barely scratched the surface, we learned about the fruit trees within the park and even got to see some deer up close. On our way back, we were trying to find the Moonscape Overlook, which is very close by just outside of the park, but we were unsuccessful and running out of daylight. We know the park has so much more to offer and certainly plan to visit again.

 

Like we said, there is so much to do in Moab. The tough part is deciding what you will see and what you will skip. Hopefully, you have a few ideas now of must-see places and a few you might not have known about. But if it is not already, put southern Utah on your short list of places to visit. It’s truly a playground for those who love the outdoors!

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