Arches National Park
The world’s largest concentration of natural sandstone arches.
Arches Timed Entry Reservation System Ends
Reservations are no longer required to enter Arches National Park. During busy weekends expect the return of long lines at the park entrance and periodic gate closings for several hours. For the best experience try to avoid entering the park between 8am and 2pm on busy days.
The National Park Service will be evaluating the results from the Pilot Timed Entry Reservation System over the next few months to determine the future direction of park operations.
Located just 5 miles (8 km) north of Moab is Arches
National Park, which contains the world’s largest concentration of natural sandstone arches
. Although over 2,000 arches
are located within the park’s 76,518 acres, the park also contains an astounding variety of other geological formations. Colossal sandstone fins, massive balanced rocks, soaring pinnacles and spires dwarf visitors as they explore the park’s viewpoints and hiking trails. A paved scenic drive takes visitors to many of the major viewpoints within the park. The park’s rock formations delight children as well as adults, with many easy trails providing opportunities for kids to get out of the car and explore the arches
up close. Hikers can choose from a wide variety of trails, from short twenty minute walks leading right up to many of the largest arches
in the park, to more adventurous hikes into lesser seen areas.
A Few Hours
Drive the 36 mile (58km) round trip Scenic Drive.
Drive the Scenic Drive and hike some of the easy short trails in the park, such as the Park Avenue Trail and trails in the Windows Section of the park.
Drive the Scenic Drive and hike some of the longer trails in the park, such as the trails to Double O Arch, Tower Arch, Delicate Arch, and Landscape Arch.
Hikers can experience a wide variety of hiking trails, including some of the lesser-seen, yet equally spectacular areas of the park such as the “Primitive Loop” in the Devil’s Garden section of the park.
The Devils Garden Campground is located eighteen miles from the park entrance and is open year-round. Facilities include potable water, picnic tables, grills, as well as both pit-style and flush toilets. There are no showers. Bring your own wood or charcoal for the grills. Some sites will accommodate RVs up to 30 feet in length.Telephone and on-line reservations for both group and individual sites may be made through recreation.gov. Reservations are not accepted by the park, and the park does not maintain information about site availability.
- Individual Sites: You can reserve standard campsites up to 6 months in advance for stays March 1-October 31. All sites are usually reserved months in advance. Between November 1 and February 28, sites are first-come, first-served. Facilities include drinking water, picnic tables, grills, and both pit-style and flush toilets. You can reserve campsites for nights between March 1 and October 31. Between November 1 and February 28, all sites are first-come, first served. Phone and online reservations for both group and individual sites must be made through recreation.gov or by calling 1-877-444-6777. You can make reservations for standard sites no fewer than four days and no more than 6 months in advance. The fee per night for an individual Devils Garden campsite i $25. Group size is limited to 10 people and 2 vehicles.
- Group Sites: Group sites can be reserved up to 12 months in advance. The campground has two sites for groups of 11 or more people. Juniper Basin campsite accommodates up to 55 people and is available March 1 to October 31; Canyon Wren campsite accommodates up to 35 and may be reserved year-round. No RVs or trailers are permitted in the group sites.
Campsites are usually reserved months in advance during the busy season (March
-October). If you have not reserved a site prior to arrival at the park during these months, plan on utilizing other camping options
in the Moab area. There are no services inside Arches
National Park. The nearest place to get food, gas, and supplies is Moab, approximately 45-60 minutes’ drive from the campground.
Please note that food is not available within the park. The closest restaurants are either in the town of Moab, at Dead Horse Point State Park, or at the dinosaur museum at the intersection of Highways 191 and 313 (entrance fee is not required to access the restaurant).
People come from all over the world to visit Arches National Park, and visiting Delicate Arch is on the top of many visitors’ to-do lists. 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 and one of the most famous geologic features in the world. The light opening beneath the arch is 46 feet high and 32 feet wide, making it the largest free-standing arch in the park.
Learn More About Delicate Arch Hiking Trail
A short paved trail leads visitors to the base of Balanced Rock. The landform’s total height is 128 feet, with the huge balanced rock rising 55 feet above its base.
The longest natural rock span in the world, this arch’s opening is 306 feet wide – 6 feet longer than a football field. A nine story building would easily fit beneath this thin span. In 1991, a massive slab of rock fell from its underside, resulting in an even thinner ribbon of rock.
April and May bring a variety of desert wildflowers to Arches.
Located in the Windows Section of Arches National Park, Double Arch was used as a backdrop for portions of the 1988 movie “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”. Numerous other movies have been filmed in Arches National Park, including Thelma and Louise in 1991.
From Park Avenue parking area, the trail descends steeply into a spectacular canyon and continues down the wash to Courthouse Towers. If you have a shuttle driver, you can begin at one point and be picked up at the other. For round-trip hiking, retrace your steps along the trail rather than walk along the park road.
Arches in Winter
Arches in Winter
Winter brings a blanket of pristine snow to Arches, providing dramatic contrast to the surrounding red rocks.
There are many family friendly hikes in Arches, including the hike to Turret Arch in the Windows Section.
Biological Soil Crust
Help to keep all of our trails open. Protect this fragile, but crucial, soil by remaining on designated roads, routes and trails at all times.
Biological soil crust, also known as cryptobiotic soil, is the foundation of desert plant life. This black, knobby crust is made up of many different living organisms and plays a vital role in maintaining the desert ecosystem. However, this sensitive soil is extremely fragile and can take decades to grow. Even a footstep can damage the crust for decades, having lasting impacts on the desert environment. Please stay on the trials. Help to protect this fragile life by remaining on designated roads, routes, and trails at all times. Where hiking trails are not established, hike in sandy washes or on bare rock.
One of the more rewarding ways to see the park is on foot. Arches
features a wide variety of hikes, from short 10 minute walks (suitable for all ages) to 4 hour hikes into some of the remote sections of the park.
0.3 mi (0.5 km) Round Trip
A loop trail around the base of a fragile, picturesque rock formation.
1.2 mi (2 km) Round Trip or 2 mi (3.2 km) with loop
From the Sand Dune Arch parking area, the trail cuts across a large meadow to the arch and continues to the campground. Loop trail leads through fin canyons with sand dunes and slickrock.
Delicate Arch Viewpoint
100 yards (91 meters) round trip
In addition to the short accessible trail, another (moderately strenuous) hiking trail climbs one-half mile (0.8 km) toward Delicate Arch and ends at the rim of a steep canyon that separates the viewpoint from the arch. (This is not the popular trail to Delicate Arch, which starts at the Wolfe Ranch parking area. See below.)
Desert Nature Trail
0.2 mi (0.3 km) round trip
Discover the adaptations of plants and animals in the desert on a self-guided nature walk. Trail guide available at the trailhead near the Visitor Center.
0.5 mi (0.8 km) round trip
A relatively flat, sandy trail leads to the base of two giant arch spans which are joined at one end.
2 mi (3.2 km) round trip
A relatively flat, gravel-surfaced trail leads to a spectacular ribbon of rock, whose span is more than a football field in length. Short side trips to Tunnel and Pine Tree Arches.
Sand Dune Arch
0.4 mi (0.6 km) round trip
Trail leads through deep sand to a secluded arch among sandstone fins. Kids love the sand!
0.4 mi (0.6 km) round trip
A short hike on a flat, well-defined trail.
1 mi (1.6 km) round trip
A gentle climb up a gravel loop trail leads to three massive arches (North and South Windows and Turret Arch). An alternate return, slightly longer, is by way of the primitive loop around the back of the two Windows. The primitive loop trail starts at the South Window viewpoint.
1 mi (1.6 km) one way
From Park Avenue parking area, the trail descends steeply into a spectacular canyon and continues down the wash to the Courthouse Towers parking area. If you have a shuttle driver, you can begin at one parking area and be picked up at the other. For round-trip hiking, retrace your steps along the trail.
3.4 mi (5.6 km) round trip
The trail climbs a steep, but short, rock wall, then cuts across a valley and then meanders through sandstone fins and sand dunes. An alternate, shorter trail (0.3 mile [0.4 km] one way), begins at the end of the four-wheel-drive road on the west side of Tower Arch. This unpaved road washes out quickly in rainstorms; inquire at the visitor center about road conditions before heading out.
Devils Garden Primitive Loop
7.2 mi (11.5 km) round trip
Longest of the maintained trails in the park, the Devils Garden Trail leads to eight awe-inspiring arches. Expect narrow ledges with rocky surface hiking and scrambling on slickrock. Not recommended when rock is wet or snowy.
Double O Arch
4 mi (6.4 km) round trip
Beyond Landscape Arch, the trail becomes more challenging as it climbs over sandstone slabs; footing is rocky; there are narrow ledges with exposure to heights. Spur trails lead to Partition and Navajo Arches. Dark Angel is one-half mile (0.8 km) farther. Trail guide available at trailhead.
3 mi (4.8 km) round trip
Take at least 1 quart (1 liter) of water per person! There is no shade. Open slickrock with some exposure to heights. The first half-mile is a wide, well-defined trail. Upon reaching the slickrock, follow the rock cairns. The trail climbs gradually and levels out toward the top of this rock face. Just before you get to Delicate Arch, the trail goes along a rock ledge for about 200 yards. Elevation change: 480 feet (146 meters)
The park’s backcountry is mostly rough terrain, inaccessible by established trails with very limited water sources. While Arches National Park is known for its outstanding geologic features, it also contains irreplaceable cultural resources and sensitive high desert ecosystems. Water is rarely available in the backcountry; plan to carry all you need. Primary safety considerations include steep terrain, loose rock, lightning, flash floods, and dehydration. You must know and comply with all regulations.
You must have a permit for all overnight stays in the backcountry. Backpacking permits are no longer issued at Arches Visitor Center. We now issue permits in person at the Backcountry Permit Office two miles south of Moab up to seven days before the trip start date and up to 4:00 PM MST. Each permit is limited to seven people, three nights per campsite, for a total of seven nights. Permits cost $7 per person.
NPS Backcountry Permit Office
2282 SW Resource Blvd.
Moab, UT 84532
Electric Bicycles (e-bikes)
On August 30, 2019 the National Park Service announced a new electric bicycle (e-bike) policy for national parks, expanding recreational opportunities and accessibility. The policy supports Secretary’s Order 3376, signed by U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt on August 29, 2019, that directs Department of the Interior (DOI) bureaus to create a clear and consistent e-bike policy on all federal lands managed by the Department.
Beginning October 1, 2019, visitors to Southeast Utah Group parks (Arches and Canyonlands national parks and Hovenweep and Natural Bridges national monuments) will be allowed to use e-bikes where traditional bicycles are allowed. Bicycles and e-bikes are allowed on paved and unpaved roads that are open to the public. Bicycles and e-bikes are not allowed on any trails in the parks.
There are no charging stations in the parks. Generators are not allowed in the backcountry. This change in e-bike policy applies to private and commercial use in the parks.
The National Park Service announcement and the agency’s new e-bike policy are available online at www.nps.gov/orgs/1207/ebikepolicy.htm.
The following Moab companies offer commercial tours in Arches National Park:
National Park is a paradise for photographers. Under conditions of constantly changing light, the red rock landscape provides limitless photographic opportunities. Often, the difference between an average photograph and an exceptional photograph is good lighting. Low sun angles at sunrise and sunset can add brilliant color to the red rock. Scattered clouds can also add depth to an image and a passing storm can provide extremely dramatic lighting.
Photographing Delicate Arch
Over one million people visit Arches
National Park every year, and just about everyone wants to see all of the major views within the park. One of the most heavily visited arches
is Delicate Arch
. As a result of its popularity, you should always expect to see people surrounding this world famous arch
. Although it may occasionally happen, it is unrealistic to expect a solitary experience around Delicate Arch
. Be courteous to other visitors during your visit to the arch
, and do not expect people to move away from this world famous landmark during your photographs. Remember that not everyone who visits this arch
is a photographer. Most people simply want to experience the joy of standing next to such a beautiful landmark. People can add scale to any photo of Delicate Arch
, so make your visit a great shared experience for everyone involved.
Try not to limit your creativity by simply capturing images of iconic places using the same composition as countless photographers before you. Arches National Park contains thousands of arches and vast expanses of breathtaking scenery just waiting for you to introduce your own personal style and interpretation. For those seeking solitude, Arches has much to offer beyond its iconic places. For example, consider a hike to Double O Arch, returning via the Primitive Trail, for some of the most spectacular scenery in the park. Just remember to bring enough memory cards to capture all of the great views!
Best Times / Locations to Photograph
|The Three Gossips
|The Great Wall
||The Garden of Eden
||North and South Windows
||Delicate Arch (at end of main trail)
||Fins in Devil Garden
|Double O Arch
Arches National Park
for Children and Families
Arches is a great family park. From the Visitor Center with its interpretive exhibits, orientation video and animal statues at the Visitor Center, to the rock formations, the Park will delight kids as well as adults, and hiking trails provide many opportunities for children to get out of the car and explore the arches up close.
The following hikes are easy and safe hikes that will give kids a chance to stretch their legs and burn off energy.
Sand Dune Arch
Starting Point: Sand Dune Arch parking area (approximately 16 miles from entrance to park)
Length: 0.4 mile (0.6 km) round trip
Time: 15 to 30 minutes
Trail leads kids through a short slot-type canyon to a secluded arch among sandstone fins where they will find sand pouring in to a natural sandbox beneath.
Starting Point: Windows parking area (11.7 miles from entrance)
Length: 1 mile (1.6 km) round trip
Time: 30 to 60 minutes
A gentle climb up a gravel loop trail leads to three massive arches (North and South Windows and Turret Arch). Kids can get right up under the arches for great photo opportunities. An alternate return, slightly longer, is by way of the primitive loop around the back of the two Windows. The primitive loop trail starts at the South Window viewpoint.
Starting Point: Balanced Rock Trail Head
Length: .3 mi (5. km) round trip
Time: 15-30 min
A loop trail around the base of a fragile, picturesque rock formation.
Delicate Arch Viewpoint
Starting Point: Delicate Arch Viewpoint Trail Head
Length: 100 yards (91 meters) round trip
Time: 10-15 min
In addition to the short accessible trail, another (moderately strenuous) hiking trail climbs one-half mile (0.8 km) toward Delicate Arch and ends at the rim of a steep canyon that separates the viewpoint from the arch.
Starting Point: Windows parking Area (11.7 miles from entrance)
Length: 0.5 mi (0.8 km) round trip
Time: 15-30 min
A relatively flat, sandy trail leads to the base of two giant arch spans which are joined at one end.
Starting Point: Skyline Arch parking area (approximately 17 miles from entrance to park)
Length: 0.4 mile (0.6 km) round trip
Time: 10 to 20 minutes
A short hike on a flat, well-defined trail. On a cold November night in 1940, a large chunk fell out of the arch, instantly doubling the size of its opening.
Junior Ranger Program
Free Junior Ranger booklets are available at the visitor center. Filled with fun activities, these books reveal the wonders of Arches to kids and parents alike. By completing five or more exercises, participants earn a Junior Ranger badge and signed certificate. Activities are designed for ages 6 to 12.
Kids also enjoy the short interpretive talks and walks offered spring through fall. Check at the Visitor’s Center for schedule.
Things To Do in Moab
In Moab, hikers set beneath a sandstone arch to watch the sunrise illuminate the sandstone desert. Mountain bikers ride out of town on pathways leading to some of the world’s greatest trail networks, river runners raft the world-renowned stretch of the Colorado River near Moab, and artists lay eyes upon some of Mother Nature’s greatest gifts. No matter what brings you to Moab, adventure awaits.
Find Your Adventure
Surrounded by two national parks, a state park, and seemingly endless stretches of public land, Moab has no shortage of hiking trails. Some wind through patches of light sand and sagebrush, some are a slickrock scramble, and others follow a river or creek beneath towering canyon walls. Depending on which trail calls to you, you may end up at the base of a famous landmark like Delicate Arch, or you may find solitude in some of the biggest stretches of undeveloped land anywhere in the U.S.
More on Hiking…
In 1969 Richard Wilson designed a route that would lead motorcyclists along a 10 mile loop through valleys of slickrock and up short, punchy climbs. It didn’t take long for mountain bikers to venture out on the Slickrock Loop, which is now one of the most popular trails in the area. Since then, thanks to an ever growing network of trails that wind through some of the most unique mountain biking terrain anywhere in the world, Moab has become a bucket-list destination for mountain bikers.
More on Mountain Biking…
If you plan to visit Moab during the warmer months, river rafting should be near the top of your to-do list. The winding Colorado River has everything from sections of calm, paddle board friendly water to Class V rapids where the Colorado meets the Green River in Canyonlands National Park. There are quick, one-day routes like The Moab Daily, or multi-day ventures like a 5-day excursion through Desolation Canyon. To start planning your trip, get in touch with one of Moab’s local river rafting guides.
More on River Rafting…
Visit the Parks
Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, and Dead Horse Point State Park are all only about half an hour outside of downtown Moab. That means in a few days time you can explore the largest concentration of natural arches in the world, gaze upon the desolate Maze district, and visit one of the most photographed scenic vistas in the U.S. Even though the parks are all accessible in a day’s time, you could spend countless trips seeing all that the parks have to offer.
More on Arches National Park…
More on Canyonlands National Park…
More on Dead Horse Point State Park…
For many, Moab is a natural oasis. One where travelers can look upwards from their camp to clear dark skies where stars are not hidden behind the polluting light of nearby development. It’s a place where your family can gather around a campfire and share stories at a glamping resort. There are plenty of ways, and places, to camp in Moab. Set up a basecamp in either of the national parks for early access to the trails and overlooks, book a night at one of the many camping resorts, or find your own site in the surrounding BLM land.
More on Camping…
Events & Art
After an evening spent in town it’s apparent how inspired, artistic, and passionate the locals of Moab are. Outdoor art exhibits are shown at nearly every street corner, and concerts, festivals and other events are almost always within reach. Yearly events like the Moab Folk Festival and Scots on the Rocks are a great way to experience Moab’s strong sense of community, a community that knows the importance of protecting their home so everyone can enjoy it for years to come. So, during your next vacation plan to save an evening for an art stroll or an event, and remember to Do It Like a Local.
More on Arts…
Protect & Preserve Moab
Moab is one of the most beautiful destinations on the planet. From deep canyons to towering mountains, from breathtaking red rock landscapes to raging rivers, it guarantees astonishing vistas at every turn. Protecting and preserving this precious area for future generations is essential. When visiting, always stay on the trails, leave historic sites and rock art untouched, respect wildlife and always pack out what you pack in.
More Activities in Moab
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.
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.
Guest Journalist: Mark
In 2017 I flew from Australia to North America for the trip of a lifetime, the only difference between me and thousands of other Aussies, is I choose to take my dog along for the adventure. Since then we have traveled almost 80,000 km throughout North America. We have been across Canada, explored almost 40 states throughout the USA, and even made it to Mexico for a day. Initially we found getting information about travelling with a pet really difficult, so now we share pet-friendly travel tips and show people you can have a dog and a life of adventure and travel too. Together we have been skiing, snowboarding, backcountry touring, snowshoeing, fat and mountain biking, paddling, white water rafting and hiking.
During our time in Utah, we made it to Moab and absolutely fell in love with how beautiful the area is and the adventure on offer. We did some things quite well during our time there, but also could have done some things better, and thought we would share our top five tips for visiting Moab with a dog.
1. Know what you can and can’t do
During our time, we explored Arches National Park during the day and watched the sunset from the Island in the Sky in the Canyonlands National Park. Often people talk about the limitations you have going into a National Park with your dog, and although they existed, we were still able to see and do plenty from the areas we were allowed.
There are some differences between the two parks, so we suggest you check the current requirements for each park from the National Park Service’s website (click here), but in general dogs must be leashed at all times and you can have your dog with you:
- On all park roads
- In parking areas
- In picnic areas
- In the main campground
You can’t have your dog with you:
- At any overlooks on any hiking trails,
- Anywhere off-trails
- In the visitor centre
As in all National Parks you are expected to clean up after your dog & not leave them unattended.
2. Plan for the heat
When we were exploring Moab it was really hot during the day. Summer temperatures reach 100°F regularly, so it is really important to plan your days accordingly. I made sure I carried plenty of water for both Mya and I, and had a collapsible light weight dog bowl for Mya to drink from. I also had a set of Ruffwear hiking boots for Mya, to stop her paws getting burnt on the hot ground. A good rule is, if you can’t put your hand on the ground for five seconds without burning it, then it is probably too hot for dogs to walk on bare paw. Just remember that different surfaces such as asphalt, concrete and soil will have different temperatures.
3. Utilize doggy day care when required
I would have liked to have been able to check out the Delicate Arch, but sadly I wasn’t able to see it whilst I had Mya with me, as it is a 30 minute hike and dogs aren’t permitted on the trail. The National Parks recommend against leaving pets in your car when temperatures are above 68°F, even with the windows cracked. With the heat we experienced, I would also discourage this and instead suggest arranging for some doggy day care. A list of boarding services can be found here, or talk to the team at the Moab Information Center (corner of Main & Center Streets in Moab) who can help you with recommendations.
4. Book your accommodation in advance
Be sure to book your accommodation well in advance. Initially we planned to camp in one of the national parks or Dead Horse Point State Park, but when we arrived, all the camp sites were booked out (If you arrive early enough, you may be able to get a non reserved site, but they do fill up fast). Additionally, if your dog is the type that is going to bark whenever they hear a noise outside of the tent, you might want to be considerate of others and look at alternative forms of pet friendly accommodation. We ended up staying at La Quinta in Moab, which as most of you know has a fantastic pet policy with no pet fees. Other pet friendly options we would recommend would by the Hyatt Place and Homewood Suites By Hilton. A complete list of pet-friendly accommodations can be found here.
5. Make Sure You Have Enough Time
Sadly we didn’t allocate enough time during our visit to make the most of the area. I would have loved to have checked out the dog friendly hike to the Corona Arch (I’ve seen some incredible photos and this is our biggest regret from Utah), a dog friendly hike through Dead Horse Point State Park, the Negro Bill Canyon trail and a rafting trip on the Green River or San Jan River with the Moab Rafting & Canoe Company; yes the company offers dog friendly rafting tours. I’ve also heard the mountain biking in Dead Horse State Park is great, but as dogs aren’t allowed on the mountain bike trails, it’s one you would need to arrange doggy day care for in advance. To make the most of the area I would recommend spending at least five days there, but if for whatever reason you can’t, I guess it just gives you a reason to head back.
Exploring Moab with Mya, made the experience so much more special. With so many amazing opportunities, Moab is definitely one of our favourite places in the USA, and with enough time and planning there is no reason why people should have to leave their furry friends behind.
Follow Mark & Mya’s continuing Adventures here: facebook.com/markandmyasadventures/
With Moab’s endless adventures and sightseeing opportunities, planning a three-day getaway can seem overwhelming at first. The good news is that visiting Moab in the fall means reduced crowds, great off-season rates, and unmatched solitude. Moab’s moderate off-season temperatures and changing scenic landscape is spectacular, with rich autumn colors and occasionally snow-capped red rock peaks and cliffs. Here are a few can’t-miss activities to check out during your fall getaway to Moab.
Hike the National Parks
No matter the season, no three-day weekend trip to Moab is complete without visiting at least one of the two stunning nearby national parks, Arches and Canyonlands. The parks are open year-round, and while it is possible to take in the wonder of the wild attractions simply from your car window, you should opt to hike one of the many renowned trails, like to iconic Delicate Arch in Arches National Park, or through the winding paths of the Windows Area. You’ll enjoy cooler hiking weather, fewer crowds, and the feeling that you have a national park all to yourself (and, you really might).
Visit Dead Horse Point State Park
While Arches and Canyonlands deservedly stand out when it comes to must-see Moab destinations, Dead Horse Point State Park, located near Canyonlands, shouldn’t be overlooked. You should especially consider visiting the park if you are bringing your four-legged friend, as it is largely a dog-friendly destination. Dead Horse Point sits on a high plateau and features a vast canyon rim where you can sightsee for miles. At night, the state park transforms into a certified International Dark Sky Park, where you’ll more than likely lose track of counting shooting stars. It’s also worth taking advantage of park-staff-guided events like full moon hikes and star parties that happen on a semi-regular basis, pending weather and other restrictions (be sure to check at the visitor center.)
Family Hiking in Arches National Park
Enjoy a (Mostly) Leisurely River Trip
Rafting and Kayaking on the Colorado River Near Moab
The Colorado and Green rivers are responsible for helping carve the winding landscapes that define the Moab terrain, and there’s no better way to see the sculpted walls of the Colorado Plateau than up close and personal in a river raft. While rafting trips on the Green River typically close by the fall season, guided trips on the Colorado don’t end until water levels get too low in late October. Fall is the preferred time of year for many three-day weekend visitors to take a trip down the storied river, as the later months offer a mellower experience without the extreme thrills that often come with tumultuous summertime rapids. Enjoy a rafting trip at a (relatively) leisure pace, giving you more time to admire the red rock pinnacles, wildlife, and petroglyphs visible near the river’s edge. Rafting tours vary in length from a few hours long to multi-day trips.
Cover More Ground on a Mountain Bike
There’s a lot to see in Moab’s immense wilderness, and renting a mountain bike (at any number of outdoor retailers on Main Street) might be the solution to exploring as much backcountry as possible on your weekend getaway. Seasoned mountain bikers come from far and wide to enjoy Moab’s endless trail systems, but mountain biking is accessible for people of all experience levels, particularly when visiting with such pleasant temperatures. Are you traveling with a group with varying mountain biking experience? Check out the Bar-M Loop, a scenic, accessible beginner trail that’s open year-round and connects to several more advanced trails, should the experienced biker in the group wish to break off to conquer more technical terrain.
Mountain Biking on the Klondike Bluff Trail near Moab
Follow the Cowboys
Saddle up! Get off the beaten path and step back in time to experience the spiraling towers and river valleys of Moab’s sandstone vistas on a horseback riding tour – taking the same paths as some of history’s most (in)famous cowboys. Professional wranglers will guide you through these scenic, open-range trails, which meander through hallowed Western ground and take you everywhere from the vast Castle Rock and Castle Valley, to Fisher Towers, to the banks and creeks of the Colorado River. There are a range of tours available, from 90-minute rides to half-day adventures. It might be difficult to take your eyes off the infinite landscape as your guide points out historic desert hideouts, along with more contemporary Western movie sets. Most tours run through November—note that fall temperatures can fluctuate significantly, so be prepared with layering options (flannels and cowboy hats not provided.)
To find out more visit discovermoab.com.