After a long day of adventures on the trails, on the river, or exploring the national parks, a satisfying meal is non-negotiable. Fortunately, Moab offers a plethora of great dining options that belie its small-town status. With offerings from breakfast to BBQ and food trucks to fancy fine dining (and just about everything in-between), these are some of the best places to eat in Moab.
Love Muffin Café
Open Daily 6:30AM-1PM
139 North Main St.
If you’re looking for a quick stop for some pre-adventure fuel, you’d be hard-pressed to do better than coffee and a breakfast panini or burrito from the Love Muffin Café. With a seasonal, organic menu comprised largely of local ingredients, there are also plenty of lighter options like house-made granola and quinoa bowls. Though Love Muffin may be best known for its breakfast offerings, their lunch menu is just as delicious, featuring fresh sandwiches and salads made with house-made bread, sauces, and dressings. And while the line can often reach out the door, the friendly staff keeps it moving along at an impressive clip.
Open Daily 7AM-12PM
101 North Main St.
Pop into this cute, historic diner for delicious comfort breakfast foods and an atmosphere that instantly feels like home. Built in the late 1800’s, the Jailhouse was once Moab’s official County Courthouse, an office space, and a post office; but now it’s known as “Moab’s Breakfast Place”. Some of the can’t-miss dishes here are the chorizo scramble, swedish pancakes, and the eggs benedict (which have a reputation for being the best in town). Wake up early for a table at this popular breakfast spot, the coffee is hot and the friendly staff is ready to help you start your day off on the right foot.
Moab Food Truck Park
Open Mon. to Fri. 11AM-8PM, Sat. 5-10PM
39 West 100 North
OK, so technically this isn’t one restaurant so much as a collective of various mobile eateries, but the newly opened Moab Food Truck Park is not to be missed, especially if you’re part of a group that has a tough time settling on one place to please all palates. With a wide variety of mouth-watering food truck fare such as Red Wok Chinese Express, Tacos El Gordo, Hokulia Shave Ice, Downtown Dawgs, Delicate Donuts, The Krusty Crab, and Big Don’s Pizza, there’s truly something for everybody. The shaded and misted seating area comes in handy during hot weather, and if you’re lucky, you might even be treated to some live music while enjoying your meal.
Sultan Mediterranean Grill
Open Daily 11AM-8PM
574 North Main St.
The Sultan Mediterranean Grill is relatively new to Moab, and they’re on a mission to bring vibrant Greek and Lebanese flavors to the desert town. Stop in for any of the lunch specials after a busy morning playing on the red rocks, or end your day with an authentic mediterranean feast. The food is beautifully presented, fresh, and expertly prepared. Plus, the menu has a great offering of vegetarian options and lighter plates. You can’t miss the spicy hummus, a lamb kebab or gyro, or the falafel pita.
Open Mon. to Sat. 5-9:30PM
900 North Main St.
Perched atop the hills lining Main Street, the Sunset Grill is aptly named for delivering the best mealtime views in Moab (or just about anywhere). Originally built as the luxurious home of “Uranium King” Charlie Steen, the Sunset Grill is now the oldest operating restaurant in Moab. Dining here is an elegant experience from the moment you drive up the winding, lantern-lit road to your last bite of decadent tiramisu (which we can’t recommend enough). Watch the sun fall behind the desert horizon with a mouth-watering filet mignon, linguini olivia, or raspberry duck dish. The entire menu is well complemented with a great selection of local wines and craft beers, and everything is sure to impress.
Open Nightly at 5PM
36 South 100 West
While most Moab restaurants won’t give you a second glance if you come in covered in a fine layer of desert dust, you’ll definitely want to get cleaned up a bit before visiting this fine dining establishment. The menu puts a Southwestern spin on classic French cuisine, with nightly game specials and fresh seafood flown in from the coast. Desert Bistro also boasts an extensive wine and cocktail list, as well as fresh-baked bread and desserts, all made in-house. Reservations are recommended, especially during the busy season.
Open Tues. to Sun. 5-9PM
90 East Center St.
If sushi isn’t the first food that springs to mind when you think of desert fine dining, you’re probably not alone. But one meal at Sabaku (the Japanese word for “desert”), and you’ll quickly realize that great sushi doesn’t have to be served anywhere near an ocean. With fresh fish overnighted in several times per week, as well as house-made tamago and anago, Sabaku will delight even seasoned sushi connoisseurs. Those with food intolerances will be happy to know about the gluten-free tempura batter, and thrifty tourists will want to take advantage of happy-hour pricing between 5:00 and 6:00 on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.
Open Daily 11:30AM-9PM
686 South Main St.
Sometimes the best way to end a long, active day is with a burger and a beer; Moab Brewery’s specialty. This is the only microbrewery and distillery in town, making it an ideal stop for some post-ride libations with other thrill seekers. That said, don’t mistake it for a bar. Moab Brewery offers a family-friendly menu and even sells gelato and outdoor gear by the front doors. This is the largest restaurant in Moab, making it a great place to get a table during busy summer evenings. Pair whichever burger peaks your interest with the onion rings, and order one of the brewery’s great microbrews for a meal that feels like a reward after a busy day in the desert.
Josie Wyatt’s Grille
Open Daily 7AM-10PM
99 North 100 West
One of the newest restaurants in Moab, Josie Wyatt’s Grille puts a southwestern flair on fine western steakhouse dining. You’ll find the restaurant in Moab’s first 4-Diamond hotel, the Hoodoo, just off of Main Street. It’s ambiance pays homage to the namesake Western icons, and is brought to Moab by the founders of Pasta Jay’s
, another local favorite. The most popular plates pair locally sourced produce with premium quality steaks, which are expertly prepared and can be finished with a delicious sauce (like the horseradish crème fraîche). To top off the entire experience, spend some time talking over one of their wonderful cocktails on the patio.
Suffice it to say that Moab has no shortage of eating options; these are just a few of our favorites. For more options, browse our complete list of restaurants 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Guest Journalist: Mark Payne
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/
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.
$$-$$$ | 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
$-$$ | Pet Fee: $10 per pet, per night | moabbighorn.com
An affordable option right off Main Street in downtown Moab, Big Horn Lodge offers multiple pet-friendly hotel rooms. You’ll have plenty of dining and shopping options nearby—and the off-leash Moab Bark Park is less than a half-mile walk away, giving your pups a well-shaded place to romp around (complete with a doggy drinking fountain during the warmer months).
$-$$$ | 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
$-$$ | Pet Fee: Call | moabrusticinn.com
Centrally located near downtown Moab and less than a block away from the shaded Mill Creek Pathway, the Moab Rustic Inn offers surprisingly roomy accommodations with a humble, unassuming vibe. All rooms and apartments also feature kitchenettes where more frugal travelers can prepare their own meals.
$-$$ | 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
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.
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!
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:
- High school and middle school mountain biking team coaches
- Grand County High School student government and cheerleader sponsors
- Bike rack provider to local businesses
- Bike to work program for Moab employees
- Christmas Toy Drive for foster families in Grand County
- Christmas food drive
- PSB recycles
- Support for renewable energy sources by participating in the Utah Blue Sky Wind Generated Power Program
- Donates a portion of their t-shirt sales to the Moab Trail Alliance
- IMBA and Bikes Belong member
Poison Spider Bicycles achievements include:
- Bicycle Dealer Showcase
- Velo News, NBDA and North American Cyclists Top 100 Bicycle Shop
- Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence for the past three years as well.
Not only is it set among some of the world’s most breathtaking scenery in Moab, Utah, but it is also a unique experience of the ages. Make your tracks alongside our state-of-the-art, life-size dinosaurs in the land they called home! Moab Giants is the ultimate place to discover the past with cutting edge technology that feels like the future!
This Dinosaur Park is full of attractions that both educate and entertain. The virtual 5D PaleoAquarium takes you into a deep-sea laboratory where prehistoric sea-creatures can be observed and genetically revealed.
You can also roam the desert on the outdoor trail with over 100 life-size dinosaurs. Get up close and personal with the Big Bang Theory in the Moab Giant’s 3D Theater. Last but not least, explore the Tracks Museum, which is full of interactive learning touch screens, games to play, and visually stunning exhibits that fascinate and educate. After a long day of dinosaur exploration, stop by the Giants Cafe for lunch or a tasty treat.
Experience the excitement and fun offered in both hands-on and virtual activities and feel the curiosity and wonder of being a kid again!
This virtual adventure takes you underwater with some of the biggest, unique and most dangerous creatures known to earth. From the friendly sea-turtles to an intense encounter with a Megalodon, this adrenaline rush is one you won’t want to miss!
Travel back through time along with a half-mile-long trail with more than 100 full-size replicas of the dinosaurs in the area and the footprints they left behind! The desert landscape also boasts a breath-taking view of Arches National Park, La Sal Mountains, and Moab’s geologically famous red-rocks!
The Theater introduces the magic of the creation and early history of the universe from the Big Bang to the Age of Dinosaurs. You’ll get the full effect of creation and prehistoric life in 3D before being introduced into the open landscape where things come to life.
INTERACTIVE TRACKS MUSEUM
The indoor exhibits use interactive, cutting edge technology to highlight stories about fossil footprints and their impact on dinosaur science and geology. Experience the stories and insights behind the marks these Giants left on the world.
Step into the life of a paleontologist! See how they camp, what tools they use, and imagine those stories told around the campfire! Learn more about the Moab Giants’ paleontologist who camped on this very land over 20 years ago, making discoveries that sparked the dream of Moab Giants.
Dig It Out Sites Along the dinosaur trail there are two different sites where you can try your hand at paleontology and discovery by uncovering the dinosaur bones beneath the sand with brushes and shovels. Benches and misters make it an especially ‘cool’ experience!
For more information on the Moab Giants Dinosaur Park visit our Dinosaur Museums and Hikes
The TAIKO, a traditional Japanese drum, is perhaps the most primal of all instruments. In ancient Japan, the TAIKO was the symbol of the rural community. The farthest distance at which the TAIKO could be heard determined the boundary of the village. Experiencing the primal sounds of the drum may serve to remind us of our unity in the much larger community of the world.
It is said that the sound of the Great TAIKO resembles a mother’s heartbeat as heard and felt from within the womb. To play TAIKO as “children of the drum” is to “play purely with the heart of a child.” (Kodo)
Moab Taiko Dan is a non-profit organization that brings joy to the Moab community. The group is under the instruction of Sensei Tiffany Tamaribuchi of Sacramento Taiko Dan.
Annett Kearl, Ph.D. has been a practicing music/sound therapist for 29 years. Annette Kearl first brought taiko to Moab in October of 1994. Called “HenKei Taiko,” the group first drummed on old tires lashed to folding chairs, using 16” wooden dowels as drumsticks. They met in backyards, old warehouses, the old HMK School or any place they could arrange. Under Annette’s leadership, the group built their own “real” drums, which were very loud — enough sometimes to catch the attention of friendly Moab City Police.
When Annette left Moab in the late 1990s, the group worked hard to survive, reaching out to the national and international taiko community for instruction and inspiration. Sensei Tiffany Tamaribuchi of Sacramento Taiko Dan, who had been one of Annette’s taiko teachers in California, agreed to take, Moab Taiko Dan under her wing. This relationship has survived ever since, and Sensei continues to instruct the group in taiko skills and practices.
Here in Moab, one of the most interesting melodies is not created by the desert itself, but by Japanese-style drums. This music is in part inspired by the exceptional splendor of our beloved Moab desert. Japanese aesthetics greatly embrace the beauty of nature. The drumming produced by Moab Taiko Dan (MTD) pays homage to the human spirit as well as the wonders of the rivers, canyon, and wilderness.
MTD consists of Moabites whose love of this art form produces complex rhythms and melodies. Member dedication to their art belies their amateur status. Some members have been with MTD for two decades. Many members attend practices several times per week.
This is a unique group because it is made up only of Moab women and Taiko is usually made up
of groups of men. However, the MTD doors are open for all types of age and gender now they have 16 active members.
“MTD has for many years been a beloved part of many Moab events” explained Andrea Lombardo, who has been drumming with the group since 2015. “When the group drums for half-marathons, the runners love it. They can hear the songs, the beats, and pitches of our various drums for miles (thanks to the canyon walls). Our music encourages them to do their best. At the Moab Arts Festival, when the drumming starts, people rush toward the stage.”
A nonprofit organization, MTD’s dream, and hope is to keep alive this vital exchange of Japanese culture in our American desert setting—and have a lot of fun doing it. To keep drumming, MTD needs a new practice space, lets get going to help MTD to find a new home.
Moab, Utah is one of my favorite travel destinations
–a scenic and wickedly fun adventure hub. While it lures visitors throughout the year, wintertime
is a magical season to visit. I always wanted to see the red rock country in the winter, and I was delighted with what else I experienced during my December trip to Moab.
Beat the crowds.
If you’re like me, you’ve probably found yourself in Moab on more than one occasion, racing for a campsite and hoping to snap iconic photos without other people in the shot. In the winter, though, Moab transforms into a peaceful paradise, sans traffic in town and loads of people driving into the parks. Furthermore, don’t be surprised if you’re the only one on the trail, and get ready to rub elbows with the locals. It’s a wonderful time of year to visit!
Dazzle at the landscape.
As I mentioned previously, I have always wanted to see a blanket of snow over Moab. The snow not only added contrast to the red rock underneath, but it accentuated the contours in the rock and brought out some beautiful definition. The La Sal mountain range in the distance was just icing on the cake. This was the perfect opportunity to nab some unique landscape photos
This is Moab, adventure capital of the USA! Even 2 days after it snowed, there was still a trail we could mountain bike
: the Slickrock Trail. On this otherworldly landscape of “petrified” sand dunes, we gripped and rolled over the smooth rock. A local on the trail told me that on a typical summer day, the parking lot is full and you can see riders in all directions. A December day? Only 3 cars! Multiple bike shops stay open in the wintertime ready to rent gear, tune a bike, or recommend a trail.
Dead Horse Point State Park
should not be missed on any trip to Moab. The Colorado River far below bends sharply and disappears into canyon country. Approximately 7 miles of easy-going trail navigate the rim, offering views over the Colorado River, toward the La Sal Mountains, and over the many canyons in between. With a higher altitude, there is likely to be some snow on the trails, but it does melt relatively quick due to its exposure. Again, crowds are slim to none at this Utah gem in the wintertime.
Eat well… really well.
Many businesses in Moab close for the winter, but there are still a lot of establishments
ready to cater to winter tourists. We ate healthy granola bowls at Love Muffin
and Thai specialties at Singha Thai
(definitely a local’s spot!). In the evening we feasted on wood-fired pizzas with homemade cheese, sauce and dough at Antica Forma
, and local and fresh entrees accompanied by craft cocktails at La Sal House
. We didn’t skip a beat eating well on this trip!
This article was created in partnership with Visit USA Parks.
There’s no place on Earth quite like Moab, Utah—it’s why millions of people flock here every year from every corner of the planet to hike, bike, raft, off-road, and generally enjoy the otherworldly scenery and unique terrain. In fact, some of us love it so much that we live here year-round. And while the Utah desert seems like a rugged place, you might be surprised to learn the environment is surprisingly sensitive. To make sure everybody—both locals and visitors alike—has the chance to enjoy our little slice of paradise for generations to come, residents of Moab are taking steps toward sustainability with the Moab First Sustainable Tourism Program. When you visit Moab, keep the following tips in mind to visit like a local and do your part to protect this amazing landscape.
Stay on the Trail
While the desert soil may look unassuming, it’s actually teeming with life. Biological soil crust (also known as cryptobiotic soil) is a major part of the desert ecosystem, and helps prevent erosion as well as trap nitrogen and other plant-friendly nutrients in the soil. Cryptobiotic soil is also incredibly sensitive, and can take decades to recover from even a few footsteps breaking through the crust. When you visit Moab, make sure to stay on established trails and roads—and if established routes aren’t available, do your best to walk through dry creek beds or on bare rock.
Leave No Trace
Most people with a conscience already know not to litter up the great outdoors, but there’s more to Leave No Trace than just packing out all your trash and recyclables. When picking a campsite, use a pre-existing spot rather than placing your tent on top of vegetation, and make sure to stay at least 300 feet from water to avoid scaring animals away from critical sources of hydration. And speaking of wildlife, make sure to give them plenty of room in general—keep pets leashed, and teach children never to chase, approach, or pick up wild animals.
Respect the Rocks
Moab and the surrounding areas are home to an incredible number of ruins, artifacts, and ancient rock art. While it can be tempting to get up close and personal, make sure to admire from a distance—and look, but don’t touch. We want to keep these pieces of ancient history around for many years to come—so stay out of ruins, leave any artifacts you find in place, and encourage others to do the same, so everyone can appreciate the wonder of ancient civilizations well into the future.
Bring Your Own Bags
Starting in January 2019, the city of Moab enacted a ban on single-use plastic bags. It’s part of Moab’s efforts to help curb the use of disposable plastic products. Besides being a major litter problem, plastic bags also tend to make their way into waterways and oceans where they can harm animals, as the plastic bits don’t biodegrade even as they become divided into tiny pieces. Remember to bring your own reusable bags for any grocery or souvenir shopping, several businesses will have reusable available during January supporting the plastic-bag ban.
As part of its new sustainability strategy, Moab now features 10 electric-vehicle charging stations located throughout the city, as well as four additional Tesla supercharging stations that can charge Tesla vehicles halfway in about 20 minutes. A recent study by the Utah Department of Transportation estimates an average of 13,000 vehicles at the intersection of Moab’s Main and Center streets—if even a small fraction of those cars were electric, we could save hundreds of thousands of pounds of air pollution every year.
Eat & Shop Local
Another great way to visit Moab like a local is supporting local businesses that have made a commitment to sustainability. Keep an eye out for businesses with a Green to Gold sign—the Green to Gold program is a city-sponsored initiative encouraging establishments to take simple steps to reduce their environmental impact. In the summer of 2018 alone, Green to Gold businesses in Moab saved over 850,000 kWh—the same amount of energy used by 136 cars over the course of an entire year, or the annual CO2 emissions from 68 homes.
With these six tips in mind, you’ll be helping the cause of keeping Moab an amazing destination (and an amazing place to live) for years to come. For more information on Moab’s sustainability efforts or to start planning your trip, visit discovermoab.com.