5 ridiculously amazing places in MOAB you need to know about

Moab is an outdoor lovers paradise. Situated between several national parks, national forest land, and close to the border of neighboring Colorado, the perfect location of this small city in Utah has brought adventure junkies and natural admirers to it for decades. The most famous site, Arches National Park, brings in roughly one million visitors. Nearby, there are also mountain ranges, Canyonlands, ancient Native American drawings, and dinosaur tracks.

Spending one weekend here will have you ready for your repeat visit. The “things to do” near Moab are less of the checklist style, more of the head out and ramble variety. The drives, hikes, and river activities all sport breath-taking views and can be explored for weeks on end. An effort to reduce light pollution and limit nighttime activities leaves some of these spots the perfect place to lie flat on your back and watch the night sky drift by.

We recommend spending your weekend in just one of the below sites rather than attempting all of them in one trip. The parkland here is unique, each one offering its own intricate trail system and beautiful scenery that is worth getting to know. These are the best options for an outdoor enthusiast to immerse themselves in over a weekend.

  1. La Sal Mountains

    Part of the Manti-La Sal National Forest, the La Sal mountains make up the second highest range in Utah and are part of the Southern Rockies. Hiking, biking, and mountain climbing are the featured activities here. Home to the highest black bear and elk populations in Utah, the 1.4 million acres are also the perfect place for wildlife spotting.

    This is also a great option if you appreciate the beauty of the mountains but have no interest in hiking. The La Sal Loop, a scenic roadway that winds around the range for roughly 3 hrs makes for a mesmerizing drive.

  2. Arches National Park

    The reason that most people head to Moab is to visit Arches National Park. It is not the largest or most diverse of the U.S.’s protected parkland, but it is certainly one of the more beautiful and interesting sites. The park gets its name from the over 2,000 natural, stone archways within it.

    Arches is one of the more visited national parks in the country, but solitude can be found if you’re willing to go a bit further off the beaten path. Hiking is the main draw at Arches, with trails that can accommodate novices and experts alike.

  3. Canyonlands National Park

    A little bit further from the city is Canyonlands National Park. The Colorado and Green Rivers carve through the desert landscape of this park giving it a completely different look and feel from the other ones on this list.

    Separated into what the park refers to as four districts, each part of Canyonlands is a bit different, requiring varying skill and comfort levels. To keep your weekend a bit lighter with day hikes and scenic viewpoints, stick to the Island in the Sky district. If you have backcountry experience, you can disappear into the desert landscape in the Needles and Maze districts instead.

  4. Colorado River

    The green-hued Colorado River winds through 7 U.S. and 2 Mexican states before draining into the Gulf of California. Near Moab, the river changes drastically from mile to mile, making it an ideal place for visitors of varying interests. The calmer points are perfect for kayaking or canoeing, there are deep pools to go for a leisurely swim, and rapid white-waters that make great rafting trips.

  5. Dead Horse Point State Park

    One of the only spots on this list that is small enough to explore in a few hours, Dead Horse Point State Park is a small stretch of land. While there is a bit of hiking and biking to do in the area there are only 16.6 miles of trails. The trails here are milder making this a better spot for families or less experienced hikers.

    The real reason to visit Dead Horse Point is to head to the overlook for sunset. Views stretch across Canyonlands National Park and the Colorado River, leaving nothing but wide open skies and vast red rock formations as a background to the sunset.

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