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Grand County Economic Development

Staff Directory

Melissa Stocks
Assistant Marketing Director | Social Media & Industry Partnerships

Melissa manages and implements a comprehensive marketing plan that strategically increases quality visitation and supports Grand County’s local tourism economy. She coordinates the development of marketing initiatives, advertising, social media, website, and collateral materials. Melissa also represents Grand County in domestic and international professional shows; develops and maintains a positive relationship with the business community and maintains public awareness of tourism issues, advertising opportunities, and public relations. A Peruvian girl, who moved in 2017, she fell in love with the landscape and the community of Moab. Consequently, Melissa likes to go hiking, camping, fishing, walking downtown at night, and watching the stars along with her husband and puppy. She is a Board Member of the Grand County, UT League of Women Voters organization. In 2021 Melissa won the U.S. Travel Association’s Educational Seminar for Tourism Organizations (ESTO) Destiny Award for the Best Advocacy and Grassroots Campaign.

Robert Riberia
Assistant Marketing Director | Graphic & Web Design

Originally from Western New York, Robert has been employed by Grand County since 1999. An avid hiker and photographer, he has been exploring all of southern Utah since 1986 along with his wife Rhonda. Robert’s current position is Assistant Marketing Director/Graphic & Web Designer for Grand County Economic Development, which promotes Moab Tourism, Business and Film. His job duties include developing and implementing marketing campaigns, designing and managing the discovermoab.com website, digital media and researching and developing new content. In 2017 Robert received the Utah Tourism Industry Association (UTIA) Spirit of Service Award for a tourism employee who best exemplifies the Utah tourism industry commitment of exceptional service by showing “Service Elevated.” Later that year he also received the 2017 U.S. Travel Association’s Educational Seminar for Tourism Organizations (ESTO) Destiny Award for Best Branding and Integrated Marketing Campaign with a Destination Marketing Budget of $1-2.5 Million for a campaign he designed and managed. There is also a rock on Mars named after Robert’s cat Steve, but that’s another story.

Bega Metzner
Film Commissioner
bmetzner@grandcountyutah.net | filmmoab.com

Born and raised in New York City by her director father and photographer mother, Bega Metzner was a child of the industry. She started her formal career on a film set working as a PA (Production Assistant) where she met a costume designer who quickly whisked her away into the world of wardrobe – a world she worked and traveled in for over 20 years. Bega quickly worked her way up from shopper to set costumer to assistant designer, and soon took off on her own as a costume designer and stylist for film, commercials, and editorial print ads. During this time, she spent her downtime in Moab, Utah, a place she first fell in love with (and drank the water from matrimony springs) while on a photoshoot in 1989. When Bega decided she wanted to live full-time in Moab, she started working for the Moab to Monument Valley Film Commission as the assistant director, taking on the role of Director in December of 2016. After 6 years as a Moab City employee Bega is now a joyful member of the Grand County Economic Development team as the Film Commissioner. Bega continues to act as the liaison between any type of media production and the area she represents – Moab to Monument Valley.

Grandstaff Canyon Trail

Grandstaff Canyon was named after William Grandstaff, an African American prospector and rancher who grazed his cattle here during the late 1800s. It is a lovely canyon, cut into the Navajo Sandstone by a small, perennial stream that begins about six miles from the southern shore of the Colorado River. The trail winds along the stream through an oasis of cottonwood and willow trees, cut off from the desert above by towering sandstone cliffs. Like all good hikes, this one also has a reward at the end. Morning Glory Natural Bridge spans the head of one of Grandstaff’s side canyons at the end of the trail. According to Bureau of Land Management statistics, Morning Glory is the sixth largest natural bridge in the United States. It’s span is 243 feet.

Length of Hike

2 miles to Morning Glory Bridge; allow 4 hours round trip.
Type of Hike: Constructed trail with several stream crossings. This is a hiking-only trail.

Area Attractions

Year-round stream in scenic canyon. Morning Glory Natural Bridge, which has a span of 243 feet, is the sixth longest natural rock span in the United States.

Trailhead Location

On Utah Scenic Byway 128, three miles east of junction with U.S. 191.

Route Description

From the parking area next to Utah 128, follow the trail up the left side of the stream. Keep going upstream for about 1.5 miles.

Morning Glory Natural Bridge is located at the end of the second side canyon on the right. The trail forks just below this canyon. Follow the trail to the right, cross the stream, and ascend a steep slope. Morning Glory Bridge is located at the end of the trail about 0.5 miles up the canyon from the stream. Do not touch the poison ivy that grows below the pool under the bridge! Poison ivy plants have dark green, shiny leaves with serrated edges in clusters of three.

When you reach Grandstaff Canyon, while at the parking lot, make sure you read the information sign. There is a lot of poison ivy in this canyon, so you need to be careful. Your destination is Morning Glory Bridge, which is 2 1/5 (not 2!) miles up the canyon. Follow the trail, making sure to enjoy the large canyon walls, plant life, and small creek (which you will cross several times, so your feet may get wet!), to name a few things! There is an abundance of cactus, so watch your ankles! A few miles up the trail, there will be a small sign on a trail marker indicating the right turn to the Bridge. You’re almost there! Just a few small uphill climbs, and you’ll be able to see the bridge. Follow the trail until you are standing near or under the bridge. Enjoy the view! Most of the time there is a pool of water below it, and you’ll be able to hear the water flowing from the rock wall from an underground spring! It’s a beautiful oasis in the summer!

Join Museum staff on Tuesdays at 11am (September 12 – October 31) for Grand County Ghost Towns.

The Moab area is dotted with numerous ghost towns – communities that came into existence due to mining, ranching, and transportation needs. The communities later depopulated due to changing economics, environment, and infrastructure. The Museum’s archives include a historic postcard that was delivered to the remote community of Miner’s Basin high in the La Sal Mountains in 1904 – join Museum staff to trace the postcard’s path through Grand County, while exploring the fascinating stories of several of the area’s ghost towns.

Moab Steward Business Training

Responsible Recreation Training for Moab Businesses

Grand County Economic Development is partnering with local businesses to help educate visitors about responsible recreation practices in the Moab area. From our iconic national parks, Arches and Canyonlands, to the vast expanse of public lands that extends well beyond these borders, the Moab area stands as a testament to the magnificence of Nature’s Masterpiece. Our rugged landscapes are a true treasure, yet they also reveal a surprising vulnerability. Even unassuming desert potholes cradle a vibrant array of creatures, each as exceptional as the grand landscape that envelopes them. The living biocrust that delicately covers our desert terrain stands as a cornerstone of a thriving ecosystem, deserving of our utmost care.

At the heart of the Moab Steward Business Training Program lies a mission to educate front-facing personnel about responsible and respectful recreation practices, and to empower them to impart this wisdom to the public. The program’s unwavering dedication to safeguarding our environment resonates strongly. They firmly believe that every individual possesses the capacity to contribute to a sustainable future for our planet. In this rallying call, they extend an open invitation to all Moab businesses, urging them to unite in the shared endeavor of preserving these natural marvels for generations to come.

Participation in the Program

Partnering businesses will receive:

  • Priority Placement on DiscoverMoab.com – Certified businesses will appear at the top of the business listings, along with a certification icon next to their listing.
  • Free Advertising on Social Media

Moab businesses can participate by:

  • Participating in the Moab Steward Business Training Program, which teaches public-facing staff about local responsible recreation practices and how to communicate them to the public. The training is 2 hours in the evening and offered on multiple dates.
  • Displaying educational signage in their business. Signage can be provided in different formats to suit your space and needs.

For more information contact Anna Sprout at asprout@grandcountyutah.net.

Prioritized Listing

If you’re planning a trip to Moab, you’re likely aware of its status as an oasis for outdoor recreation. But the city of Moab has a lot to offer when it comes to dining, arts, and culture, too. Read on for your guide on how to make the most of a three-day trip to the Moab area.


Morning: Canyonlands National Park
Start your day at Canyonlands National Park. Roughly 30 miles outside Moab, the Island in the Sky District provides sweeping canyon views and stunning red rock panoramas. In a few hours’ time, you can drive the park’s 20 miles of paved roads to Grand View Point, Green River Overlook, and Upheaval Dome and hike the Grand View Point, Mesa Arch, and Upheaval Dome Overlook Trails. Get up early to beat the crowds and catch sunrise at the Mesa Arch or any of the viewpoints inside the park.

Mesa Arch
Mesa Arch

Green River Overlook
Green River Overlook

Hiking Options
  • Easy: Mesa Arch (0.6 mi/1 km) Recommended before sunrise.
  • Moderate: Grand View Point (1.8 mi/2.9 km)

Lunch: Dead Horse Point State Park
On your way back from Canyonlands, don’t miss Dead Horse Point State Park. Head to Dead Horse Point Overlook to take in the view of the Colorado River and the surrounding pinnacles and buttes that make up one of the most photographed scenic vistas in the world. Enjoy a picnic lunch and stop in the Visitor Center.

Hiking Options
  • Easy: The Colorado River Overlook (1 mi/1.6 km)
  • Moderate: The Bighorn Overlook Trail (3 mi/4.8 km)

Dead Horse Point State Park
Dead Horse Point State Park

Moab Giants
Moab Giants Museum & Dinosaur Park

Afternoon: Moab Giants Museum & Dinosaur Park
Fun for the whole family, Moab Giants Museum & Dinosaur Park is the first of its kind worldwide! Take a journey back through time with a 3D cinema experience and a half-mile trail featuring more than 130 full-size reconstructions of dinosaurs and their tracks. Inside the Tracks Museum, you’ll find interactive learning touch screens, games to play, and visually stunning educational exhibits. These exhibits also include insights into the history and prehistory of the Moab area and windows into Moab Giant’s research labs.

Evening: Dinner in Town
After a full day of exploring, head into town to refuel. Moab is home to a variety of cuisines and local eats. For family-friendly dining, try Moab Diner or Moab Grill. To enjoy a local brew with your meal, visit Moab Brewery or Proper Brewing Moab


During the Day: Choose Your Own Adventure
Spend the day recreating in Moab’s red rock wilderness. Thanks to the numerous local guides and outfitters, visitors of all ability levels can enjoy their favorite activity to the fullest, or try something new. Some popular options include:

  • Mountain Biking: Cover more ground by hopping on a bike and hitting the trail. Moab offers some of the greatest mountain biking in the world, with a variety of trail options for any experience level. From the highly technical Slickrock Bike Trail to the easy-riding Bar-M Loop Trail, you’ll enjoy incredible scenery and a good work out.
  • Colorado River Water Recreation: Whether you’re looking for an intense whitewater experience or a more leisurely float, there’s a section of the river for you. Choose from rafting, kayaking, canoeing, or paddle boarding, then start paddling to get a whole new perspective on the area from the Colorado River’s red rock-lined waters.
  • Horseback Rides: For a truly authentic Western experience, nothing beats touring the rugged desert by horseback. Follow in the footsteps, or hoofprints, of cowboys as part of a guided trail ride to stunning landmarks such as Castle Rock and Fisher Towers.
  • Scenic Flights: The wild and untamed landscape of southern Utah is so vast, it’s nearly impossible to see it all. However, even an hour-long scenic flight allows you to experience spectacular views over thousands of square miles of canyon country! No other mode of transportation will allow you to see so much in such a short period of time.

Bar-M Trail
Bar-M Trail

Moab Scenic Flights
Scenic Flight

In the Evening: Wind Down
Toast to a day well spent at Moab’s own local winery. Visitors may be surprised to learn Moab’s long growing season, coupled with its fertile, sandy soils, has resulted in delicious white German-varietal wines. Spanish Valley Vineyards & Winery specializes in these single-vineyard estate-bottled wines, which means they grow the grapes, ferment, and bottle the wine all at their single location. Stop by to enjoy the sunset with a tasting or tour.

Spanish Valley Winery


Morning: Experience History
After back-to-back adventure-filled days, sleep in and grab a leisurely breakfast. For a full spread, visit Jailhouse Cafe. If you’re in need of a quick bite, grab coffee and one of the deliciously inventive doughnuts at Doughbird.

To learn more about Moab’s beginnings, join the historical walking tour led by Moab Museum staff. This one-mile guided tour focuses on Moab’s fascinating and seldom told pre-uranium history and delves into the agricultural history of canyon country.

Moab Historic Walking Tour
Historical Walking Tour

Arches National Park
Arches National Park

Afternoon: Arches National Park
Next, make your way to Arches National Park, home to the world’s largest concentration of sandstone arches located just five miles from downtown Moab. You can drive the entire park in three hours with 10-minute stops at each viewpoint and a short hike at the Windows section of the park. If you’re planning to visit between April 1 and October 31, plan ahead, as a timed entry reservation is required.

Hiking Options
  • Easy: Double Arch (0.5 mi/0.8km), Landscape Arch (2 mi/3.2 km)
  • Moderate: Delicate Arch (3 mi/4.8 km) This hike is usually crowded; visiting at sunrise or sunset is best.

Evening: Art and Souvenirs 
For a unique dinner option, visit the Moab Food Truck Park. With 14 different food trucks offering a variety of options, there’s something to please everyone’s palate. Spend the rest of the evening wandering the shops and art galleries on downtown’s Main Street, where you’ll find everything from landscape paintings and photography to jank art (sculptures made from desert finds) and locally made goods. Then, end your trip on a sweet note with dessert at Crystal’s Cakes and Cones.

Downtown Moab
Downtown Moab

Moab Art
Moab Art

Fairy Shrimp

Moab Free Summer Concert Series
Moab Rafting

Moab, Utah, usually conjures images of warm, sunny days spent among awe-inspiring landscapes of unique red rock. While summer is the most popular time to visit, the city and surrounding desert are brimming with exciting activities year-round. From hiking and biking to parks and arts, new adventures ebb and flow with the area’s long, hot summer days and mild, less busy winter months. Read on to explore the best aspects of visiting during each season and discover the ideal time for your own trip.

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, making spring a perfect time of year to get outside. 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 stunning sunrise from a red rock vista.

The desert wildflowers will be in full bloom, so be sure to pack your hiking boots and find a trail. Must-see options such as Delicate Arch, Grandstaff Canyon, Corona Arch, and Fisher Towers 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.

Moab Restaurant
Downtown Moab

Downtown Moab is full of locally owned outfitters, art galleries, and restaurants – spend an evening wandering through town for a taste of the local lifestyle. In May, don’t miss the Moab Arts Festival, where fine art, pottery, jewelry, wood work, sculpture, photography, and much more will be on display. This is a great event for the whole family, with a kids’ activities tent, live music, theatrical performances, and excellent eats.

Summer | June – August

During the summer months, temperatures can climb over 100ºF, so it’s best to avoid strenuous activities in the hottest hours of the afternoon. Summer is the busiest time of year for the national parks, so plan your visit for the early morning or early evening to beat some of the traffic and crowds, as well as the heat. Long summer days lend themselves well to packed itineraries; just make sure you have plenty of water and sun protection.

Moab Stand Up Paddleboard
Moab Night Sky

Then, be sure to save some energy to stay up late to stargaze; Moab’s night skies are some of the darkest in the world. After dark is also a great time to experience a new perspective at one of the three International Dark Sky Parks in the Moab area, including Arches, Canyonlands, and Dead Horse Point. In August, the Perseid meteor shower is a perfect opportunity to see the difference the unique desert darkness can make. 

You can escape the heat by camping at Warner Lake Campground in the La Sal Mountains, where you’ll have easy access to less-traveled trails. Or head to the Colorado River to cool down with a variety of water-based activities for all ability levels. From kayaking and white water rafting to paddle boarding and relaxing moonlight cruises, there’s something for everyone looking to recreate on the water. In town, grab some local fare, then make your way to Swanny Park to enjoy free summer concerts on select Fridays.

Fall | September – November

Once fall comes around, Moab is in full bloom. The river has warmed, higher elevation trails are thawed, and temperatures drop back down to a comfortable 70ºF. It’s a great time to hit the trails, visit the national parks, and camp along the Colorado River under Moab Canyon’s commanding red cliffs. Mountain bikers can generally access all of the popular Whole Enchilada Trail, along with other higher elevation trails.

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, take a scenic drive on the La Sal Mountain Loop Road. It’s 63 miles in length and takes nearly two hours to drive. Pack a picnic and take your time, the forest is incredible during the fall months. 

For an exciting and unique cultural experience, plan your visit around a couple of Moab’s favorite annual festivals. Every fall, the Moab Folk Festival and Celtic Festival bring great music, food, and tradition to the red rocks. Additionally, the Moab ArtWalk takes place monthly during the fall. Enjoy the comfortable evening temperatures as you stroll through downtown taking in work from various talented local artists.

Moab Artwalk
Moab Mountain Biking

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 on hiking trails you’ll practically have all to yourself.

Spend some time exploring Arches and Canyonlands National Parks to see the most popular landmarks without the crowds. As an added bonus, many people don’t know you can also ski in Moab! Head to the La Sal Mountains for some peaceful cross country skiing in surroundings unlike anywhere else.

Skiing in Moab's La Sal Mountains
Winter Hiking in Moab
Moab is an oasis for outdoor recreation any time of year. For more resources for planning your trip, check out monthly weather averages, explore places to stay, and learn how to recreate responsibly. No matter when you choose to visit, you’re sure to create an adventure you’ll always remember.

Fairy Shrimp

Poop in Moab

How to Properly Dispose of Human Waste in the Moab Area

Disposing of Human Waste in the Moab Area

Whenever possible, use developed toilet facilities. When developed facilities are not available, all solid waste should be packed out in approved waste bags. Human waste is a serious health issue in the backcountry. To make carrying out human waste easy and safe, the use of a W.A.G. bag (Waste Alleviation and Gelling Bags) is recommended. W.A.G. Bags are spill proof, puncture proof and zipper closed. W.A.G. Bags must be disposed of in W.A.G. Bag equipped locations in Moab.

What is a W.A.G. Bag

When hiking, backpacking, biking, driving where toilet facilities are not available, the most convenient and sustainable option is purchasing a W.A.G. Bag: a double-walled, self-closing human waste container complete with crystals or gels to neutralize the dangerous pathogens in human waste, allowing direct disposal into approved W.A.G. Bag Disposal Bins after use. W.A.G. bags tuck easily into a pack, and one bag is good for about three to four uses.

Where to Purchase W.A.G. Bags in the Moab Area

W.A.G. Bags can be purchased at the following locations in Moab:

Do not dispose of W.A.G. Bags in regular trash cans. In order to reduce exposure to biohazards, it is a priority for our local solid waste handler to reduce the amount of human waste that is handled by their staff members and introduced to various types of equipment. W.A.G. Bags should be brought directly to any of the disposal bins listed below.

W.A.G. Bag Disposal Bin
W.A.G. Bag Disposal Bin – At 5 convenient locations in Moab (see below).

Where to Dispose of W.A.G. Bags in Moab

Grand County Transit Hub
Intersection of Highways 191 and 128 (“River Road”)
Available 24/7

Lions Park
Intersection of Highways 191 and 128 (“River Road”)
Available 24/7

SE Utah Health Department
575 Kane Creek Blvd, Moab, UT 84532
Available 24/7

Wastewater Reclamation Facility
1070 W 400 N, Moab, UT 84532
7:00 AM – 5:00 PM Monday-Friday

Moab Transfer Station
2295 S Hwy 191 (3 Miles South of Moab)

  • 24/7 dumping for individuals. (Go inside during operating hours. A bin will be outside after hours.)
  • Commercial tour operators can only dump during operating hours. 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM (Monday – Friday), 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM (Saturday), Closed Sunday. Fees apply.

What NOT to put in W.A.G. Bag Disposal Bins

  1. W.A.G. bags only. Spill-proof, zipper-closed, commercially made Waste and Gelling Bags ONLY.
  2. NO Do-It-Yourself bags. Empty their contents into a toilet, tie the bag securely then put it into a regular trash bin.
  3. Do not empty your toilet buckets or cassette toilets into the bins. Flush normal amounts of poop, pee and toilet paper down a toilet.
  4. NO dog poop. Tie the bag securely, then put it in the regular trash. Do not throw dog poop in a recycling bin.
  5. No groover dumping.
  6. No commercial dumping. Businesses should go to the Transfer Station.
  7. RVers should dump blackwater at an RV dump site. Sewer hoses required.

Poop Responsibly

Arches National Park

Scenic Byway U-128

Every twist and turn holds something new.

This spectacular route along the Colorado River gorge begins at the Colorado River Bridge on the north end of Moab. Spending a day exploring this section of the river gorge will provide you with jaw dropping scenery and take you to the sixth-longest natural rock span in the United States, world famous movie locations, beautiful picnic and bouldering areas, a Film Heritage Museum, a large variety of hiking trails including one that goes to the breathtaking Fisher Towers, historical points of interest, guided horseback riding opportunities, outdoor dining, a brand new mercantile (opening in 2020) and a ghost town.

Utah State Route 128 (U-128) is a 44.6-mile-long (71.7 km) state highway north of Moab. The entire length of the highway has been designated the Upper Colorado River Scenic Byway, as part of the Utah Scenic Byways program. This road also forms part of the Dinosaur Diamond Prehistoric Highway, a National Scenic Byway. Residents of Moab frequently refer to SR-128 as “the river road”, after the Colorado River, which the highway follows.

The highway was originally constructed to connect rural cities in eastern Utah with Grand Junction, Colorado, the largest city in the region. Part of the highway was merged into the Utah state highway system in 1931; the rest was taken over by the state and assigned route number 128 in 1933. Today, the highway is used as a scenic drive for visitors to the area.

The highway crosses the Colorado River at the site of the Dewey Bridge, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This bridge was the longest suspension bridge in Utah until April 2008 when it was destroyed by a fire.

To begin this tour, set your odometer to 0 at the intersection of US-191 and U-128.

0.0 Miles (0.0 Km) – Lions Park/Boulder Park

Moab Lions Park
Moab Boulder Park

This scenic park is located on the banks of the Colorado River just north of Moab on U-128 at the intersection with US 191. It’s a lovely facility with a paved parking area and big shade trees along the riverbank. There’s a footbridge over the Colorado River that connects paved trails that go north-south along US 191 and east-west along U-128 and the river through red rock canyons. Restrooms and picnic areas are available. Facilities are wheelchair-accessible.

Lions Park also contains Moab Boulder Park. Moab is a very, very difficult place to get going when you’re a beginner at climbing, and this park really bridges the gap from beginners to help them get out on the cliffs. Along with three custom-made boulders that were color-matched to blend with Moab’s surrounding red rocks, the park also includes a thick rubber surface beneath the climbing rocks to help cushion the inevitable falls.

Fisher Towers 360

Continuing down U-128, the drive parallels the Colorado River within a narrow section of the Colorado River gorge, providing breathtaking views of the surrounding red sandstone cliffs. Popular attractions along this portion of the route include viewpoints of the river, public camping areas, and Grandstaff Canyon, which contains a delightful hiking trail to Morning Glory Natural Bridge.

3.1 Miles (5.1 Km) – Grandstaff Hiking Trail

Grandstaff Canyon was named after William Grandstaff, an African American prospector and rancher who grazed his cattle here during the late 1800s. It is a lovely canyon, cut into the Navajo Sandstone by a small, perennial stream that begins about six miles from the southern shore of the Colorado River. The trail winds along the stream through an oasis of cottonwood and willow trees, cut off from the desert above by towering sandstone cliffs. Like all good hikes, this one also has a reward at the end. Morning Glory Natural Bridge spans the head of one of Grandstaff’s side canyons at the end of the trail. According to Bureau of Land Management statistics, Morning Glory is the sixth largest natural bridge in the United States.

Grandstaff Canyon was named after William Grandstaff, an African American prospector and rancher who grazed his cattle here during the late 1800s. It is a lovely canyon, cut into the Navajo Sandstone by a small, perennial stream that begins about six miles from the southern shore of the Colorado River. The trail winds along the stream through an oasis of cottonwood and willow trees, cut off from the desert above by towering sandstone cliffs. Like all good hikes, this one also has a reward at the end. Morning Glory Natural Bridge spans the head of one of Grandstaff’s side canyons at the end of the trail. According to Bureau of Land Management statistics, Morning Glory is the sixth largest natural bridge in the United States.

Morning Glory Natural Bridge

Morning Glory Natural Bridge 360

7.8 Miles (12.6 Km) – Big Bend Bouldering Area

Big Bend Bouldering Area has something for every age and ability. Located right off the highway, literally across the street from the Colorado River, it is hard to find a more scenic location for bouldering. It’s not unusual to have beginners working next to world-class climbers. Bring a comfortable chair and watch the show or work the routes yourself.

At 13 miles (20.9 km) the gorge widens as the highway proceeds past Castle and Professor Valleys, which have been the shooting locations for many western films including Wagon Master and Rio Grande, along with numerous television commercials.

14.2 Miles/22.9 km – 21 Miles/33.8 km – Horseback Riding (Seasonal)

  • Red Cliffs Lodge Horseback Riding (14.2 Miles/22.9 km) – For a truly authentic western experience, nothing beats touring our rugged desert from atop a gentle, cowboy-trained quarter horse. From early settlers to John Wayne himself, people have found there’s no better way to see, smell, and experience the Wild West.
  • Moab Horses at Hauer Ranch (21 Miles/33.8 km) – The ranch offers both horse and mule riding through miles of scenic open range in the most spectacular country you can imagine. Meander along the Colorado River, cross creeks, or visit famous movie sites while enjoying the feel of open range riding. All trips are tailored to your experience level and desired duration.

14.2 Miles (22.9 km) – Moab Museum of Film and Western Heritage

Moab Museum of Film and Western Heritage
Moab Museum of Film and Western Heritage

Red Cliffs Lodge, on the banks of the mighty Colorado River, is home for the Moab Museum of Film & Western Heritage. The lodge is built on the old George White Ranch, a key location for nine of the big Westerns including Rio Grande, Cheyenne Autumn, Ten Who Dared, The Comancheros, and Rio Conchas. The late George White was founder of the Moab to Monument Valley Film Commission, the longest ongoing film commission in the world. In the museum one can learn more about film locations, how the sets are built, and how the filming process is managed on nature’s own sound stage. On display in the museum are production photographs, movie posters, autographed scripts, props from the many pictures filmed in the area, and displays about the western ranching heritage.

Dozens of movies have used the ranch and surrounding area as the set and backdrop for their films. From Disney to Spielberg and from westerns to sci-fi, Moab has been the scenic choice for some of Hollywood’s greatest movies. Red Cliffs has hosted some of its biggest stars; John Wayne, Maureen O’Hara, Rock Hudson, Henry Fonda, Roger Moore, Burt Reynolds, Jason Patrick, Johnny Depp and many, many more.

Westworld has a lot of scenes that were filmed along Highway 128.
Austin Powers’ helicopter, for Goldmember, was shot on Highway 128.

14.2 Miles (22.9 km) – Red Cliffs Outdoor Lunch

During the season, Red Cliffs Lodge offers an outdoor lunch on the banks of the Colorado River. (Open to the public as well as guests.)

15.5 Miles (24.9 km) Castle Valley – Castleton Tower and The Rectory

Castleton Tower is a 400-foot (120 m) Wingate Sandstone tower standing on a 1,000 foot Moenkopi-Chinle cone above the northeastern border of Castle Valley. The Tower is world-renowned as a subject for photography and for its classic rock climbing routes, the most famous of which is the Kor-Ingalls Route featured in the famous guidebook “Fifty Classic Climbs of North America”. In 1964, Chevrolet filmed a commercial for the Impala convertible perched atop the tower.

Adjacent to Castleton Tower is The Rectory, a thin 200 foot (61 m) wide, and 1,000 foot (305 m) long north-to-south butte with 200 ft vertical Wingate Sandstone walls tower standing on a 1,000 foot Moenkopi-Chinle base. The Jon Bon Jovi music video Blaze of Glory was filmed at The Rectory. The Australian band Heaven also filmed their Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door music video on top of The Rectory.

Note: There are great views of these formations from the Sylvester Trail (below).

Castleton Tower

17.3 Miles (27.8 km) – JJ’s Mercantile

Opening to the public in Spring 2020, on the property of Sorrel River Ranch, JJ’s Mercantile will provide everything from gifts, groceries and gear for the guests of the resort, campers, locals and those passing through. Stop by for hot coffee, tantalizing pastries, fresh baked bread, tasty sandwiches and salads artfully prepared from JJ’s open kitchen and ready to go.

18.4 Miles (29.6 km) – Sylvester Trail

From the Professor Valley Ranch Road turn-off on the right, drive 2.2 miles (3.5 km) on a well graded road to the trailhead.

The Sylvester Trail is in the Onion Creek area and follows open desert through the Professor Valley drainage and features beautiful views of the surrounding terrain. The trail is named after Dr. Sylvester Richardson, who with his wife Mary Jane, were among the first settlers in the valley back in the 1880’s. Sylvester’s nickname was ‘Professor’ for which the valley is named.

From the parking area, follow the trail which is relatively flat and easy. The trail will cross a dry wash several times before it begins to ascend a bench on the right. The trail weaves along this bench gradually ascending. The rock formations include the Preacher, The Nuns, Rectory and Castleton Tower. Once the trail passes the foot of Castleton Tower, it will begin to descend slightly.

When you reach a dirt 4×4 road, the Sylvester Trail ends and you return the way you came. 6.9 miles (11.1 km) round-trip. (The trail is shared with equestrian users and there is no shade, so avoid on hot days.)

21.8 Miles (35.1) – Fisher Towers Trail

Fisher Towers Trail

Turn right on the well graded dirt road, then travel 2.2 miles (3.5 km) to the trailhead. The Fisher Towers trail is a world class experience. The views of Castle Rock and the shear sandstone cliffs of the Colorado River are stunning. This is an out and back hike will take you by 3 amazing formations, The Kingfisher, Echo Tower and The Titan. This area is popular with rock climbers so keep an eye up on the rocks. The trail descends into the canyons in several places which brings the overall elevation gain to about 1000 feet. The best picture taking time is probably when the afternoon sun is looking over your shoulder at the towers but alas that is also the most unforgiving time on a hot summer day so be sure to bring plenty of water.

Fisher Towers 360

23.3 Miles (37.3) – Amphitheater Loop

Turn left into Hittle Bottom Parking Area – The trail starts across the street and features broad sweeping views and solitude. 2.8 mile loop.

This is a foray into the heart of the Richardson Amphitheater, near the Colorado River, in an area of beautiful rock formations. The Amphitheater Loop Trail is approximately 4 miles (6.4 km) from the Fisher Towers Trailhead and both trails can be walked in a single day. The Amphitheater Loop Trail makes a lovely walk, and climbs approximately 250 feet in elevation to afford a stunning view of the Colorado River corridor. Along the way, you can see interesting sandstone formations in the Moenkopi and Cutler sandstone layers.

24.7 miles (39.8 km) – Fisher Towers Viewpoint

Fishers Towers and La Sal Mountains

The roadside viewpoint on the left provides one of the grandest views in the west, the red rock spires of the Fisher Towers set against the often snow covered peaks of the La Sal Mountains.

30.0 Miles (48.3) – The Site of Historic Dewey Bridge

Dewey Bridge
Historic Dewey Bridge, before it was destroyed by fire in 2008.

Dewey Bridge, built in 1916, originally carried U-128 across the Colorado River. The bridge featured an all wood deck measuring 502 feet (153 m) long, 10.2 feet (3.1 m) wide from support to support and 8 feet (2.4 m) wide from rail to rail. The bridge also consisted of two metal towers, a run of seven cables on each side of the bridge deck, and cable anchors. The bridge was designed to support the weight of six horses, three wagons, and 9,000 pounds (4,100 kg) of freight.

On the day of its completion, it was the second-longest suspension bridge west of the Mississippi River. The longest was the Cameron Suspension Bridge, also built by the Midland Bridge Company, who used the same base plans for both bridges. Dewey Bridge remained the longest suspension bridge in Utah until it was destroyed by fire in 2008. The remains of the bridge and a historical marker remain on the site.

44.0 Miles (70.8) – Cisco Ghost Town

The town started in the 1880s as a saloon and water-refilling station for the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad. As work crews and, later, travelers came through, stores, hotels and restaurants sprang up to accommodate them. Nearby cattle ranchers and sheepherders in the Book Cliffs north of town began using Cisco as a livestock and provisioning center. Around the turn of the 20th century, over 100,000 sheep were sheared at Cisco before being shipped to market. After oil and natural gas were discovered, people began traveling more and Cisco continued to grow. The town’s decline coincided with the demise of the steam locomotive. A declining economy crashed when Interstate 70 was built, bypassing Cisco. After another 5 miles (8 km) the route intersects Interstate 70.

A dog in front of the Corona Arch in Moab, Utah

If you’re anything like us, you probably think that a day spent exploring with your pup is as good as things get. Moab is full of stunning red rock views, great hikes, and charming local shops for you and your pets to visit. You could start off with a three-mile hike out to the picturesque Corona Arch, the Colorado River like never before from Dead Horse Point State Park, or spend a day in town at the off-leash Bark Park. Then consider stopping by Moab’s famed Quesadilla Mobilla food truck for a bite to eat, a chance to pick up a few local tips, and maybe a dog treat or two.
No matter where your adventure takes you, you’ll probably want a place to kick off your boots at the end of the day. Browse the 11 pet friendly hotels throughout Moab shown below, or explore campgrounds that welcome pets.

Aarchway Inn

$$-$$$ | Pet Fee: $75 | aarchwayinn.com

Just two miles from the entrance to Arches National Park, Aarchway Inn is a beautiful, amenity-packed resort hotel on the north edge of town, tucked just a bit away from the buzz of downtown Moab. The spacious grounds offer plenty of room to play with your pup, complete with access to nearby nature trails with incredible views of the surrounding landscape.

Big Horn Lodge

$-$$ | Pet Fee: $10 per pet, per night | moabbighorn.com

An affordable option right off Main Street in downtown Moab, Big Horn Lodge offers multiple pet-friendly hotel rooms. You’ll have plenty of dining and shopping options nearby—and the off-leash Moab Bark Park is less than a half-mile walk away, giving your pups a well-shaded place to romp around (complete with a doggy drinking fountain during the warmer months).

Expedition Lodge

$-$$$ | Pet Fee: $30 per stay | expeditionlodge.com

Also within easy walking distance of Moab’s Bark Park and the paved Mill Creek Pathway, the pet-friendly Expedition Lodge keeps you close to everything in the center of town. You’ll have easy access to all of Moab’s world-class adventure offerings—like the dog-friendly Grandstaff Canyon Trail just off the Colorado River.

The Gonzo Inn

$$-$$$ | Pet Fee: $30 per night, up to 2 pets | gonzoinn.com

A one-of-a-kind, pet-friendly hotel tucked away one block off Main Street, The Gonzo Inn features plentiful grassy areas for your dog to play and explore. It’s also just steps away from the beginning of Mill Creek Pathway, a beautiful paved path where you can walk your dog in the shade alongside a beautiful creek winding through town. Added bonus: they’re open to all kinds of pets, in case you’re traveling with a feline friend as well.

Homewood Suites Moab

$$-$$$ | Pet Fee: $50, up to 35 lbs | hotelmoabut.com

With stylish, contemporary rooms and a convenient location right in the middle of downtown Moab, the pet-friendly Homewood Suites is an easy walk from Moab’s off-leash Bark Park. Enjoy free hot breakfasts and complimentary evening socials between your daily adventures—or grab the best breakfast burrito in town at the Love Muffin Café right across the street.

Hyatt Place Moab

$$-$$$ | Pet Fee: $75 per stay up to 7 days, 2 pets max | hyattplacemoab.com

A newly built hotel on the north side of town and very close to the entrance to Arches National Park, the Hyatt Place Moab features a small designated pet area on-site, and dog-friendly hiking trails just steps away from the front door. If you’re planning to settle in for a while, this could be a good option—the $75 pet fee covers two dogs (up to 50lb.) for stays up to seven days.

Moab Rustic Inn

$-$$ | Pet Fee: Call | moabrusticinn.com

Centrally located near downtown Moab and less than a block away from the shaded Mill Creek Pathway, the Moab Rustic Inn offers surprisingly roomy accommodations with a humble, unassuming vibe. All rooms and apartments also feature kitchenettes where more frugal travelers can prepare their own meals.

Motel 6

$-$$ | Pet Fee: None | motel6.com

Another great option for Moab visitors on a budget, the pet-friendly Motel 6 Moab doesn’t charge any pet fees. It’s also a little removed from the hustle and bustle of downtown, which makes for a quiet stay. It’s super close to the entrance of Arches National Park, as well as the Atomic Café—a great place to grab a burger and a beverage after a long day of playing in the sun.

Red Stone Inn

$-$$ | Pet Fee: Call | moabredstone.com

Centrally located in Moab close to restaurants, shops, gear outfitters, bike shops, and much more, the Red Stone Inn is also a short walk away from the Moab Bark Park and multiple paved paths with lots of shade. (Note that other than the off-leash Bark Park, dogs are not allowed in Moab city parks). But there are plenty of dog-friendly trails just a short drive away, like Professor Creek/Mary Jane Canyon and pretty much all of the Manti-La Sal National Forest.

Silver Sage Inn

$-$$ | Pet Fee: Call | silversageinn.com

Located toward the south end of Main Street and right next to local-favorite Mexican restaurant El Charro Loco, the Silver Sage Inn makes for a great pet-friendly home base for visiting adventurers. Be sure to bring your pooch by the reception desk for free dog treats and suggestions on dog-friendly hikes in the local area.

Wingate by Wyndham Moab

$$-$$$ | Pet Fee: $25 | wyndamhotels.com

Situated on the south end of town for easy access to nearby trails in the La Sal mountains, the Wingate by Wyndam is a pet-friendly hotel in Moab with well-appointed rooms and all the comforts you’d expect, complete with a small dog park/pet relief area. And of course, you’re just a few minutes away from famous Moab attractions like the Sand Flats Recreation Area and the legendary Slickrock Bike Trail.

Other Things to Know

While you’re in town, make sure to stop by the Moab Barkery to spoil your pup with fresh-baked gourmet treats. Afterwards you’ll be ready to head out on one of Moab’s many pet-friendly hiking trails and places to see. If you’ll be visiting one of the national parks there are a few rules to keep in mind. Pets are only allowed in designated campgrounds, on paved roads and scenic drives, and must be leashed at all times within the national parks (click here for complete Arches and Canyonlands National Park pet policies). Otherwise, pets are welcome on most public land and areas surrounding the national parks.

So round up your pup’s gear (they’ll need plenty of water), pack your daypack, and learn more about visiting Moab with your pets to finish planning.

All of Moab’s Bicycle shops have remarkable stories to tell.  This month we are focusing on Poison Spider Bicycles

The Poison Spider Bicycles story began in 1988 when Judy and Chuck Nichols brought their tour company to Moab and started Canyon Country Bed & Breakfast, Moab’s first B&B, and established a mountain bike rental fleet with 6 used bikes.  By 1990, the popularity of mountain biking exploded and both the bike rental operation and tour company moved from the B&B to the current location, which back then was a tiny turquoise and pink house called Nichols Bike Stop.

Poison Spider Bicycles
The giant spider on the side of Poison Spider Bicycles’ building has been a longtime landmark on the north end of Moab.

The name of the shop changed to Poison Spider Bicycles in 1992 and in the winter of 1993 work started on the current building, which opened in March of 1994.  Scott Newton started as a mechanic and, when offered the business in January of 2007, he took the opportunity to instill his love of riding through the business. All of the employees that work at Poison Spider Bicycle ride some type of bike. Triathletes, racers, mountain bikers, dirt jumpers and roadies all work there and convey their love of riding daily to the locals and tourists alike!

Poison Spider Bicycles Staff
The Poison Spider staff fully support Moab’s Do It Like A Moab Local program which promotes stewardship of our unique and fragile environment.

Poison Spider Bicycles, a longtime asset to the Moab Community, is involved in the following programs and organizations:

Poison Spider Bicycles achievements include: