For most of us Moab conjures thoughts of warm days spent hiking, biking, floating, or simply basking in the sun perched on a red rock. It’s true, the summer months are the most popular time of year to visit; but the city is brimming with things to do year-round. New adventures ebb and flow with the desert’s long hot summer days and mild, incredible winter months. Explore the best aspects of each season below to discover the best time for your Moab vacation. Red desert flowers

In the Spring | March – May

As days get longer and the red rock starts to warm, travelers from around the world visit Moab to shake off a cold winter. Midday temperatures generally reach 70ºF during the springtime, making it a perfect time of year to get outside! The trails come alive with wallflowers, paintbrush, and juniper, so have your camera at the ready for some incredible desert wildflower photography. If it’s your first time visiting Moab (or far from it), be sure to pack your hiking boots. Trails like the Delicate Arch, Grandstaff Canyon, Corona Arch, and Fisher Towers Trails should be on every hiker’s to-do list. Mountain bikers can’t miss the famed Slickrock Trail or the Moab Brand trail network, both of which are usually in great condition come springtime. To add a little more adrenaline to your trip, schedule a four-wheeling tour with one of the guides in town.

Local’s Tips

  • Downtown Moab is full of locally owned guides, outfitters, artists, and restaurants – make sure to spend an evening wandering through town for a taste of the local lifestyle.
  • The way the desert seems to come to life under a rising sun is simply unforgettable. Wake up early, grab a bite to eat in town, and catch a sunrise from a red rock vista.

In the Summer | June – August

During the hotter summer months people tend to head for the Colorado River or the La Sal Mountains to cool down. Temperatures can reach over 100ºF, so it’s best to get the day’s activity in during the early morning or in the early evening. Plus, you’ll want to save some energy to stay up and gaze into Moab’s starry night skies, which are some of the darkest anywhere in the world. Long summer days lend themselves well to packed itineraries; just make sure you have plenty of water and sun protection. Escape the heat by camping at Warner Lake Campground in the La Sal Mountains, where less-traveled trails are within easy access. Or, head down to the Colorado River for some kayaking, white water rafting, or a relaxing moonlight cruise.

Local’s Tips

  • Make your way over to Swanny Park for free summer concerts every Friday night, starting July 10th.
  • Summer is the busiest time of year for the national parks. Avoid some of the traffic by visiting during the early morning or early evening.

In the Fall | September – November

Once the fall months come around Moab is in full bloom. The river has had some time to warm, the higher elevation trails are thawed, and temperatures drop back down to a comfortable 70ºF. Fall is a great time of year to hit the trails, visit the national parks, and camp along the Colorado River under Moab Canyon’s commanding red cliffs. Plus, up in the Manti-La Sal National Forest the trees start to take on their vivid fall colors. For an experience you can’t find any other time of year, be sure to take a scenic drive on the La Sal Mountain Loop Road. It’s 63 miles in length, and should take nearly two hours to drive. Pack a picnic and take your time, the forest is incredible during the fall months. It’s also a perfect time for hikers to take to the trails, and mountain bikers can generally access all of the popular Whole Enchilada Trail, along with other higher elevation trails.

Local’s Tips

  • Every November the Moab Folk Festival and Celtic Festival bring great music, food, and tradition to the red rocks. Make sure to plan some time to unwind in town at either of these great festivals.

In the Winter | December – February

Winter in Moab may be one of the city’s best kept secrets. The crowds dissipate and the red rock looks spectacular under snow. With temperatures between 40ºF and 50ºF, you’ll find the crisp air invigorating as you ramble down a hiking trail that you’ll practically have all to yourself. Winter weather travelers can’t miss Onion Creek, which is roughly 20 miles up Moab Canyon on Highway 128. Take the drive (a four-wheel drive vehicle is recommended) for unbeatable photo opportunities of snow capped red rock outcroppings and a handful of great day hikes. Afterwards, spend some time exploring both Arches and Canyonlands National Parks; it’s a great time to see the most popular landmarks without the crowds.

Local’s Tips

  • Did you know you can ski in Moab? If you’re visiting during the winter months, pack your skis for some peaceful cross country skiing in the La Sal Mountains.
To start planning your next Moab vacation, learn more about monthly weather averages or explore places to stay while you’re here.