With Moab’s endless adventure and sightseeing opportunities, planning a three-day getaway to Moab can be challenging. The good news is that considering a trip from mid-November on can make it much easier with reduced crowds, great off-season rates and unmatched solitude. Moab’s moderate off-season temperatures and changing scenic landscape, with rich autumn colors and snow-capped red rock peaks and cliffs, is spectacular.
Hike the National Parks
No matter the season, no three-day weekend trip to Moab is complete without visiting at least one of the two stunning national parks within its borders, Arches and Canyonlands. The parks are open year-round, and while it is possible to take in the wonder of the wild attractions simply from your car window, you should opt to hike one of the many renowned trails, like to iconic Delicate Arch in Arches National Park, or through the winding paths of the Windows Area. You’ll enjoy cooler hiking weather, fewer crowds, and the feeling that you have a national park all to yourself (and, you really might).
Visit Dead Horse Point State Park
While Arches and Canyonlands, deservedly, stand out when it comes to must-see Moab destinations, Dead Horse Point State Park, located near Canyonlands, shouldn’t be overlooked. You should especially consider visiting the park if you are bringing your four-legged friend, as it is largely a dog-friendly destination. Dead Horse Point sits on a high plateau and features a vast canyon rim where you can sightsee for miles. At night, the state park transforms into a certified International Dark Sky Park, where you’ll more than likely lose track of counting shooting stars. It’s also worth taking advantage of park staff-guided events like full moon hikes and star parties that happen on a semi-regular basis, pending weather and other restrictions (be sure to check at the visitor center.)
Family Hiking in Arches National Park
Take to the River
Rafting on the Colorado River Near Moab
The Colorado and Green rivers are responsible for helping carve the winding landscapes that define the Moab terrain, and there’s no better way to see the sculpted walls of the Colorado Plateau than up close and personal in a river raft. While rafting trips on the Green River typically close by the fall season, guided trips on the Colorado don’t end until late October, once water levels get too low. Fall is a preferred time of year for many three-day weekend visitors to take a trip down the storied river, as the later months offer a more mellow experience, without the extreme thrills that can come with tumultuous summertime rapids. Enjoy a rafting trip at a (relatively) leisure pace, giving you more time to admire the red rock pinnacles, wildlife and petroglyphs visible near the river’s edge. Rafting tours vary in length from a few hours long to multi-day trips.
Cover More Ground on a Mountain Bike
There’s a lot to see in Moab’s immense wilderness and renting a mountain bike (at any number of outdoor retailers on Main Street) might be the solution to exploring as much backcountry as possible on your weekend getaway. Seasoned mountain bikers come from far and wide to enjoy Moab’s endless trail systems, but mountain biking is meant for people of all experience levels, particularly when visiting with such pleasant temperatures. Are you traveling with a group with varying mountain biking experience? Check out the Bar-M Loop, a scenic, accessible beginner trail that’s open year-round and connects to several more advanced trails, should the experienced biker in the group wish to break off to conquer more technical terrain.
Mountain Biking on the Klondike Bluff Trail near Moab
Follow the Cowboys
Saddle up! Choose to go off the beaten path and step back in time to experience the spiraling towers and river valleys of Moab’s sandstone vistas on a horseback riding tour – taking the same paths as some of history’s most (in)famous cowboys. Professional wranglers will guide you through these scenic, open-range trails, which meander through hallowed Western ground and take you everywhere from the vast Castle Rock and Castle Valley, to Fisher Towers, to the banks and creeks of the Colorado River. There are a range of tours available, from 90-minute rides to half-day adventures. It might be difficult to take your eyes off the infinite landscape as your guide points out historic desert hideouts, along with more contemporary Western movie sets. Most tours run through November. (Cowboy hats not provided.)
To find out more visit discovermoab.com.