Running through the heart of Moab is a pretty little creek that starts high in the La Sal Mountains then tumbles and twists down through the heart of Moab. The Mill Creek Parkway, a quiet recreational path designed for slow-moving bicycles, walkers, roller blades, or other non-motorized methods of transportation follows the meandering creek as it winds its way through town toward the Colorado River. The parkway is a lovely addition to downtown Moab and neighboring residential areas. June 4, 1999, marked the dedication of the parkway and it is already the destination of many visitors to Moab, and, of course, local residents. Locals use the trail system for shortcuts to work or on evening walks, for shady jogging or family bicycle (or stroller!) outings. Benches situated on the banks of the creek provide a shady, quiet respite from the desert sun. Along Mill Creek Parkway it is green and shady all the time. The trail follows the creek in the shade of cottonwood, hackberry, silver leaf poplars, catalpas and other shade trees. It’s a great bird-watching have, too, with many birds that frequent riparian areas, floating and singing overhead. Explorers on the parkway will find the trail infused with, shall we say…whimsy! Keep your eyes peeled for thrones carved from the trunks of old, dead trees, or little stools or chairs carved from the same. It’s as much fun as the furniture in Alice is Wonderland! The Dan O’Laurie Museum added even more interest to the parkway by creating an outdoor museum with its collection of antique mining and farming equipment. You’ll find it at various points along the trail along with interpretive text to help you figure out just what that big contraption is! You’ll spot ore cars, “one-man muckers,” threshers, and other vintage equipment. You can enter the trail at many different points throughout Moab. Once on the trail, you can explore the creek both directions. Several side spurs allow you to walk nearer the creek and at times you forget you are in the city at all.
Another sight along the trail is a small farm with sheep and goats & always a favorite with the kids. If you veer off the trail just for a moment at 400 East, you’ll also get to see a private ostrich farm and across the street (near the high school) you will encounter an outdoor pond, constructed by the Youth Garden Project of Moab in conjunction with Ameri-Corp. The pool and sitting area is shared by the school with visitors and local residents. The trail’s eastern end (depending upon your orientation) is at Rotary Park, a shady, quiet glen equipped with grills, picnic tables and shelters, as well as a children’s playground complete with giant xylophones locally known as “free notes.” Several instruments allow visitors to create their own music in the shady grove. Just past the park and at the trail’s end is a gazebo surrounded by a luscious native flower bed. The native plantings were contributed by the Bird Club and even in the early years of plantings, it is a botanical showcase. Nearby is the “tree deck,” which offers a new twist on a treehouse and is fun for all whether you want to read, picnic or just pretend you’re a bird! The tree deck was constructed by the Rotary Club and Varsity Scouts. All signs indicate the parkway will just keep getting better and better. Enjoy your walk, ride, or roll (under your own power, of course) along Mill Creek Parkway!