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Things to Do in Moab: A Guide to the Best Hikes in Utah’s Red Rock Wonderland

Moab is a desert paradise for outdoor lovers, with stunning scenery, diverse wildlife, and endless adventure. Whether you want to explore the iconic arches and canyons of the national parks, or discover the hidden gems of the surrounding BLM lands, Moab has a hike for everyone. In this guide, we’ll share some of the best hikes in Moab, ranging from easy strolls to challenging scrambles, and offer some tips on how to make the most of your visit.

How to Get to Moab

Moab is located in southeastern Utah, about 230 miles from Salt Lake City and 360 miles from Denver. The closest airport is Canyonlands Field Airport, about 18 miles north of Moab, which offers daily flights from Salt Lake City and Denver. Alternatively, you can drive to Moab on scenic highways that pass through some of the most beautiful landscapes in the state.

When to Visit Moab

Moab is a year-round destination, but the best time to visit depends on your preferences and activities. Spring and fall are the most popular seasons, as the weather is mild and pleasant, with average temperatures ranging from 60°F to 80°F. However, these are also the busiest times, so expect crowds and higher prices. Summer is hot and dry, with temperatures often exceeding 100°F, but also offers longer days and fewer visitors. Winter is cold and snowy, with temperatures dropping below freezing at night, but also offers a chance to see Moab’s red rocks covered in white and enjoy some winter sports.

Where to Stay in Moab

Moab offers a variety of accommodation options, from hotels and motels to campgrounds and RV parks. If you want to stay close to the action, you can choose from several hotels and motels in downtown Moab, which offer easy access to restaurants, shops, and services. If you want to enjoy the natural beauty and tranquility of Moab, you can opt for one of the many campgrounds and RV parks in the area, which offer basic amenities and stunning views.

What to Pack for Moab

Moab is a desert environment, which means you need to be prepared for the sun, heat, wind, and dust. Here are some essential items to pack for your Moab trip:

  • Sunscreen, hat, sunglasses, and lip balm to protect yourself from the sun
  • Water bottle, snacks, and electrolytes to stay hydrated and energized
  • Hiking shoes, socks, and clothing that are comfortable, breathable, and durable
  • Layers, jacket, and gloves to keep warm in the morning and evening
  • Backpack, map, compass, and GPS to carry your gear and navigate the trails
  • Camera, binoculars, and guidebook to capture and enjoy the sights
  • First aid kit, flashlight, and whistle to handle any emergencies

The Best Hikes in Moab

Moab has hundreds of hiking trails to choose from, but here are some of the best ones that showcase the diversity and beauty of the area:

Delicate Arch Trail

Delicate Arch is the most famous and photographed landmark in Moab, and for a good reason. This spectacular natural arch stands 65 feet tall and frames the snow-capped La Sal Mountains in the background. The trail to Delicate Arch is 3.2 miles round trip and moderately difficult, with some steep and exposed sections. The trail starts at the Wolfe Ranch parking lot and follows a red rock slab to the base of the arch. The best time to visit Delicate Arch is in the early morning or late afternoon, when the light is soft and the crowds are smaller.

Corona and Bowtie Arch Trail

Corona and Bowtie Arch are two impressive arches that are located outside of the national parks, on BLM land. The trail to these arches is 2.3 miles round trip and easy to moderate, with some ladders and cables to assist you. The trail starts near the Gold Bar campground along Potash Road and climbs up a sandstone slope to a slickrock bench. From there, you can see the massive Corona Arch, which spans 140 feet, and the smaller but equally stunning Bowtie Arch, which hangs above a cliff. These arches are less crowded and more accessible than the ones in the national parks, and offer a great opportunity for photography and exploration.

Windows Loop and Turret Arch Trail

The Windows section of Arches National Park is home to some of the largest and most scenic arches in the park, such as the North and South Windows, the Double Arch, and the Turret Arch. The Windows Loop and Turret Arch Trail is 1.2 miles round trip and easy, with paved and gravel paths. The trail starts at the Windows parking lot and loops around the North and South Windows, which are also known as the Spectacles. You can also take a short spur trail to the Turret Arch, which has a smaller arch within a larger one. The Windows area is one of the most popular and accessible in the park, and offers great views of the surrounding formations.

Grand View Point Trail

Grand View Point is the highest point in the Island in the Sky district of Canyonlands National Park, and offers a panoramic view of the vast and rugged landscape below. The Grand View Point Trail is 2 miles round trip and easy, with a mostly flat and paved path. The trail starts at the Grand View Point parking lot and follows the rim of the mesa, offering different perspectives of the canyons, buttes, and spires that make up Canyonlands. The trail ends at a rocky outcrop, where you can see the confluence of the Colorado and Green Rivers in the distance. Grand View Point is one of the best places to watch the sunrise or sunset in Moab, as the colors change and illuminate the scenery.

Grandstaff Canyon Trail

Grandstaff Canyon is a lush oasis in the desert, with a perennial stream, cottonwood trees, and wildflowers. The Grandstaff Canyon Trail is 4.6 miles round trip and moderate, with several stream crossings and some rocky sections. The trail starts at the Grandstaff Canyon Trailhead along Highway 128 and follows the stream up the canyon. The highlight of the hike is the Morning Glory Natural Bridge, a 243-foot span that is the sixth longest natural rock span in the United States. The bridge is located at the end of a side canyon, where you can also see a pool and a waterfall. Grandstaff Canyon is a great hike for families, dogs, and anyone looking for a refreshing escape from the heat.

Fisher Towers Trail

Fisher Towers are a series of towering sandstone pinnacles that rise above the Colorado River, creating a dramatic and surreal landscape. The Fisher Towers Trail is 4.4 miles round trip and moderate, with some ups and downs and rocky sections. The trail starts at the Fisher Towers parking lot and follows the base of the towers, offering close-up views of their shapes and textures. You can also see some rock climbers scaling the vertical walls of the towers, which are some of the most challenging and rewarding in the world. The trail ends at a viewpoint overlooking the Titan, the largest and tallest of the towers, which stands 900 feet above the ground.

Moab is a hiker’s paradise, with endless trails to explore and enjoy. Whether you’re looking for a short and easy walk or a long and challenging adventure, you’ll find it in Moab. No matter which hike you choose, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views, amazing rock formations, and unforgettable memories. Moab is a place that will make you fall in love with the desert and want to come back again and again.

If you ever get tired of all that hiking, one of the most exciting and unique ways to experience Moab is to take a 4×4 tour with the Moab Tourism Center.

They offer a variety of off-road adventures that let you drive a special 4×4 vehicle called a side by side or UTV. You can follow behind an experienced guide and experience Moab’s most popular trail called Hell’s Revenge, which is a thrilling ride up and down steep inclines across sandstone domes and slickrock ledges.

You can also choose a scenic tour along the mighty Colorado River and historic Kane Creek, where you can see ancient petroglyphs and wildlife.

If you want a more private and customized tour, you can book a private 4×4 tour of the sandstone rollercoasters of Fins N’ Things and Hell’s Revenge.

The Moab Tourism Center has over 3,100 five star reviews on TripAdvisor and has won the 2023 TripAdvisor Best of the Best Traveler’s Choice Award. You can watch a video of the Hell’s Revenge Tour here and see what the excitement is all about.

Moab is a place that will make your trip unforgettable. Whether you want to relax and enjoy the scenery, or feel the adrenaline rush of an off-road adventure, Moab has something for everyone.