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Top 5 Outdoor Adventures in Moab, Utah

things to do in Moab

Looking for the ultimate outdoor adventure spot? Look no further than Moab, Utah!

Moab offers out-of-this-world hiking, biking, climbing, Jeeping, whitewater rafting, and more! Taking in the breathtaking land formations and famous Navajo sandstone arches is a truly magical experience.

I’ve created the world’s easiest and best mapped-out Moab adventure list for you!

All you have to do is save this post, no other planning is needed!

The best time to visit Moab

Arches NAtional Park Winter

Winter is by far the BEST time to visit Moab! The average highs for Moab in the winter – December: 45°, January: 44°, February: 52°!

This is the PERFECT hiking weather, especially for the desert!

Skip the heat, escape the crowds, and get cheaper lodging! It’s a win all around.

The trick to winter hiking is simple: layers!

I’ve taken all the guesswork out by creating a comprehensive list of affordable, must-have winter clothing for hikers! 

Bonus: When I mean affordable, I mean cheap in price but not in quality, and everything on AMAZON!

Check it out here:

Now, let’s get into some of the best outdoor adventures Moab has to offer!

1. Experience the Scenic Byway

Scenic Byway Moab

Colorado River Scenic Byway – Utah State Route 128 (U-128), is a 44.6-mile-long state highway north of Moab. 

You’ll have many opportunities to stop and hike (if you wish) and there are plenty of pull-outs that allow you to stop and take in the views along the route.

*While the Google Map is also a great resource, keep in mind that there is no cell service most of the drive. It’s a great idea to save this blog post text as well as the map.*

I’ve created the world’s easiest mapped-out Moab Scenic Byway adventure for you!

All you have to do is save this post, no other planning is needed! You’ll easily find each spot by watching the miles on your car!

Here’s how I did it, stops included:

1. Start at Lion’s Park – When you get there, set your car odometer to 0. Let the adventure begin!

2. In 3.1 miles: Grandstaff Hiking Trail

3. In 7.8 miles: Big Ben Bouldering Area

4. At 13 miles: The gorge widens as the highway goes past Castle and Professor Valleys, known for western films like Wagon Master and Rio Grande.

5. At 14.2 miles: Moab Museum of Film & Western Heritage

6. At 15.5 miles: Castleton Tower & The Rectory

7. At 21.8 miles: Fisher Towers Trail – if you do one hike in this area, this should be it! Here’s a little more info on

Fisher Towers

Fisher Towers is a must-see! The entire trail is lined with towering rock formations you won’t see anywhere else.

Here’s a little fun fact: The Fisher Towers were featured in the opening scene of Austin Powers in Goldmember.

Trailhead: (38.7252, -109.309)

Concentration of Towers: (38.7204, -109.303)

Overlook: (38.7112, -109.304)

fisher towers moab
fisher tower moab

Let’s continue the Scenic Byway, shall we?

8. At 24.7 miles – Fisher Towers Viewpoint

9. At 30.0 MilesHistoric Dewey Bridge: this bridge is on the National Register of Historic Places. 

Historic Dewey Bridge

10. At 44 milesCisco Ghost Town

Turn back around the way you came and head back to Moab!

Next on the Moab adventure list:

2. Arches National Park

Arches National Park

Here it is, folks. Moab’s famous Arches National Park. This red rock playground sees over 1.5 million visitors each year!

(Which is why you’ll be extra thankful if you choose to do some winter exploring.)

arches utah
arches utah

Here’s a quick list of my favorite hikes at Arches National Park:

Let’s break down 2 of these favorites!

Delicate Arch

Delicate Arch is one of the most famous geologic features in the world!

In a park with over 2,000 stone arches, this particular free-standing arch has become a widely recognized symbol of the state of Utah (it’s featured on Utah license plates!)

delicate arch utah

Trail: 3.2 miles out and back

Here’s a word of warning if you go in the winter: bring ice grips (Crampons)! 

I didn’t bring any and survived, but the ice is icy. Because science.

delicate arch utah
delicate arch utah

Double Arch Trail

Double Arch is an easy 0.6-mile hike that’s good for all ages and skill levels! Don’t let the short walk deter you! Seeing this double arch in person is something you’ll never forget!

double arch Moab
double arch Moab

On to the next adventure! 

Next up: 

3. Corona Arch

Corona Arch Moab

Corona Arch and nearby Bowtie Arch are spectacular, photogenic arches located just west of Moab. This entire 4.2-mile trail has out-of-this-world views, unique rock formations, and even beautiful train tracks with towering red rock walls.

TRAILHEAD

The Corona Arch trailhead is along the Potash Road, which follows the north side of the Colorado River west from Hyw 191. Potash Road is a beautiful and scenic drive featuring views of the Colorado River, petroglyphs, towering cliffs, and more!

You’ll find the marked trailhead about 10 miles down the Potash Road.

corona arch moab
corona arch moab

BOWTIE ARCH

After climbing the ladder and Moki steps, the trail puts you on top of a large bench. You’ll walk along the bench as the trail takes you under Bowtie Arch.

Bowtie is a pothole-type arch located high on the cliff above the trail.

And boy, is it stunning! Can you spot me in the photo?

 
Bowtie Arch

You’ll see Corona Arch up ahead! Here’s a photo by utah.com that shows both Bowtie Arch and Corona Arch together:

Bowtie Arch

Download this map from AllTrails to be used for offline navigation!

Are you ready for the next adventure on the list?

4. Canyonlands National Park

Canyonlands National Park spans 337,598 acres! With colorful canyons, mesas, buttes, fins, arches, and spires in the heart of southeast Utah’s high desert, this is a place everyone is sure to love. 

There are 4 districts of Canyonlands: The Needles District, Island in the Sky District, Maze District, and the Canyonland Rivers.

Here are a few of my favorite hikes in the Island in the Sky District:

Mesa Arch

This trail is super short – only 0.7 miles each way! Wait until you see the view from the arch!

Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands National Park

This is a great one to do with the kids! But – definitely watch them around the arch. It’s a bit…steep.

canyonlands national park
canyonlands national park

There are lots of viewpoints worth stopping at, but the Shafer Trail Overlook is my favorite!

Shafer Trail Viewpoint

It’s such a beautiful overlook with the winding road in full view! 

The road you see is Shafer Trail itself, which winds 1,500 feet down colorful sandstone walls.

Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands National Park

Now that you’ve experienced some of the most breathtaking places in the world, I’ll end with my personal favorite in Moab:

5. Dead Horse State Park

If you can’t tell from my blog, I’ve seen some pretty phenomenal places. Dead Horse State Park is actually one of my favorite places I’ve seen to date.

Seeing that view for the first time is indescribable! 

Dead Horse Point

Why is it called Dead Horse?

The legend of Dead Horse Point states that in the late 1800s the point was used as a corral for wild mustangs roaming the mesa top. Cowboys herded them across the narrow neck of land and onto the point. The neck was then fenced off with branches and brush. One time, for some unknown reason, horses were left corralled on the waterless point where they died of thirst within view of the Colorado River 2,000 feet below.

In summary: the horses died while looking at water.

And on that positive note…

What to see at Dead Horse State Park

By simply pulling into the park and parking at the main parking area, you’ll already see the stunning views of the canyon. The paved path just outside the Visitor Center offers great views of the basin to the east, the La Sal Mountains, and Chimney Rock.

You can follow this easy 1/8 mile (round trip) paved path to see different viewpoints.

Dead horse state park moab
Dead Horse State Park

If you can’t tell from the photos above, Utah’s weather changes like yo girl’s mood. Hence why I said layers. All the layers.

Hike The West Rim Trail System

At 3.5 miles each way, the West Rim is the longest hiking trail at Dead Horse Point State Park.

Dead Horse State Park
Dead Horse State Park

This trail is marked well in the beginning, then gets more primitive. You can still easily follow the trail by watching for cairns, rocks, and wood markings or black stripes on the rocks.

Click here to download the map before you go!

Okay, folks, we’ve come to the end!

There is so much to do in the Moab area that I could do a 100-page post on it, but I doubt you’d read it, so here we are.

If you made it to the end, congrats! You da real MVP.

I’ll leave you with a little extra something!

The Best Places to Eat in Moab

You have to eat, you’re human.

Add all the awesome hiking you’ll be doing and you may find yourself wanting to eat your weight in food.

It’s also perfectly okay to eat your feelings if you think you hiked too much.

Treat yo bad self.

Here’s a list of the best places to eat in Moab, Utah:

Happy Adventuring!

Let me know if you used this comprehensive guide to Moab! Did I miss anything on the list that YOU loved about Moab? 

Drop it in the comments! 👇

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2 Responses

  1. Haven’t been to Moab area for years! I didn’t realize how many awesome places I had missed. Thank you for this post. It was detailed and the photos were stunning!

    1. It’s such a breathtaking place! Thanks for stopping by with those kind words!

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