An Epic Destination in Any Season
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.
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.
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.