This post about things to do in Moab is authored by Kyle.
Moab in Utah is the gateway to two incredible national parks. Whether you appreciate nature or enjoy adventure, there are plenty of things to do in Moab.
It’s an ideal destination for adventure tourists looking to ride ATVs, bikes, and four-wheel drives. Hikers and birdwatchers can also enjoy the beautiful scenery of the parks with arches and canyons formed alongside the Colorado River.
15 Things To Do In Moab, Utah
Since there’s so much you can do in this part of the Beehive State, here’s a comprehensive list to help you pick what you enjoy the most.
1. Bike on the Slickrock Trail
The Slickrock Trail can be a challenge even for experienced mountain bikers, let alone recreational bikers. However, that does not stop visitors from taking this scenic route. You could always walk instead of biking on the more difficult sections of the stretch – advanced mountain bikers should be fine.
The trail stretches over 12 miles, out of which three miles could be seen as a test of how difficult it can get. If you can cover it easily, perhaps you can do the whole trail as well. The good thing is that it also features the main part of the trail with great views of the surroundings.
2. Enjoy the Colorado River View from Dead Horse Point State Park
If you’re looking for some great photos for your Facebook or Instagram, you should definitely visit this viewpoint in Dead Horse Point State Park. It oversees a huge bend in the Colorado River surrounded by rock formations. The river gently flows 2000 feet below the viewing point.
The great thing about this viewpoint is that it’s not as popular as a lot of other viewpoints in the two national parks, which visitors frequent. So if you’re looking for a space to enjoy all to yourself, this could be it.
Other viewpoints only show surreal rocks and canyons, but this point also brings the river into the mix, creating a mix of textures and colors.
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3. Explore Arches National Park
Arches National Park is the main tourist attraction in Moab, Utah. This beautiful national treasure has so much to offer that one day is not enough. Just being there and driving around to get to different points will leave you in awe.
The park entry fee per vehicle is $30.
Here’s what you should see in the Arches National Park:
Balance Rock: A gravity and balance-defying rock sitting on a narrow rock formation is the most popular sight. It’s located alongside the main road of the park.
Windows Trail: It’s a simple one-mile trail that shows some beautiful hollow rocks. You can see the North Window, South Window, and Turret Arch.
Park Avenue: It’s a one-mile trek that takes you to a beautiful viewpoint with balanced rocks and slick rocks on the way.
Delicate Arch: The Delicate Arch in the park is at height and takes a little more challenging hike. With a 480 feet elevation overlooking the park, it’s the perfect spot to end your day trip and watch the sunset.
Arches is one of the best parks in the Southwest for a reason here are a few other epic options https://youtu.be/1UiUxINyzxY
4. Hike/Drive in the Needles Division
Hiking or driving with a 4WD in Needles Division in Canyonlands National Park is one of the best things to do in Moab. It’s the most scenic route in the park, so it’s ideal when you visit in summer and it’s very hot. As underrated as it is, the route is great for a four-wheel drive.
For those planning to hike on foot, there are some short trails as well as a full-day hike. The ideal place to hike to is Pothole Point, which features natural potholes that sometimes get filled with water when it rains.
For those looking for an authentic off-road driving experience, the Colorado River Outlook is the best point to get to. However, the conditions on the road can be very rough, so it’s better to check in advance.
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5. Kayak in the Colorado River
Lined with red hills and canyons, the Colorado River to the north of Moab is perfect for kayaking and rafting. The waters are calm, and the views are simply outstanding.
There are local tour operators that offer rafting and jet boating trips. It’s an ideal choice if you’re feeling the scorching heat of the sun, which is normal in this part of the West. The river is easily accessible from the east side out of Moab. So you can stop and relax by the river if you’d like.
6. Drive to Thelma and Louise
The movie Thelma and Louise made this particular point in the Dead Horse Point State Park very famous. It’s where the movie’s two protagonists drove off the cliff.
You can use the Potash road to get to this point, which is rough but doable with a 4WD. The drive itself is very scenic and interesting. It lies on the end of a plateau with the Colorado River on one side and towering hills on the other.
Since it got famous through the movie and wasn’t essentially an attraction designated by the park, it’s a little hard to find. This road continues on to Canyonlands National Park, but it’s not for the faint of heart.
7. Check Out the Petroglyphs at Newspaper Rock
Newspaper Rock is located on the road leading to the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park. It features petroglyphs including shapes, animals, and humans. It’s simply fascinating to look at these carved drawings.
Although a detour when going into Canyonlands, it’s a must-view for any history buff. The images on the side of the rock can give you a taste of prehistoric times.
8. Walk at Bartlett Wash
If you’re looking for a secluded place to see in Moab, it’s Bartlett Wash. It’s a slick rock that isn’t frequented by mountain bikers, as most head to the Slickrock Trail.
The trail is very different from the Slickrock Trail with porous rock. While you can bike there, it’s more about seeing the views and taking in the nature of the trail. So it’s best to walk on the trail and photograph the beautiful rocks.
While people refer to it as a trail, it’s more of an open expanse. That’s what makes it so much more flexible for both hikers and bikers. You can choose your own way to explore this area.
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9. Visit the Museum of Moab
The Museum of Moab is dedicated to documenting and preserving the history of Moab. It’s also about the geology of the landscape surrounding the town, i.e., all the natural wonders of the national parks and state parks.
It was created in 1958 and was initially small. However, it now has a new and bigger location. You can see dinosaur bones and even a full cast skeleton of a Gastonia.
It also gives some history lessons about the rocks and mines around the area. With lots of informational displays, the museum is a good place to start exploring Moab and the surrounding areas, so when you visit, you understand the science behind some rocks and hills.
For those traveling to Moab with children, the Experiential Education Center at the museum also offers children’s activities.
10. Take in the Needles Lookout
The parks around this Utah town are full of gorgeous lookout points, one of which is the Needles Lookout. It’s arguably the most stunning because it’s secluded. Not many people go to this lookout point.
What really makes it different is that the lookout offers a panoramic view of the hills and rocks spreading far and wide. When you go at the peak hours of the day (around noon), the sun shining over the canyon rocks creates a scene that any professional photographer would love to capture.
Even if you’re not a photographer, you’ll simply appreciate the stunning pictures you can take here.
11. Go Wild in the Sand Flats Recreation Area
Consider the Sand Flats Recreation Area as the playground of adventurists. It’s an ideal place for dirt bikers, mountain bikers, and off-road drivers.
This is the area where the Slickrock Trail is also located. There are a few campsites as well if you want to stay there overnight and can be a great place to bring your rented recreational vehicle.
12. See Dinosaurs in Moab Giants Dinosaur Park
It’s quickly becoming a popular tourist destination in the city, with its 3D cinema. The cinema shows documentary films showing the evolution and end of dinosaurs on our planet.
Of course, there are life-size installations of the replicas of different species of dinosaurs. Kids absolutely love this place, so if you’re visiting with kids, do check out this park. The kids will enjoy the Tracks Museum and all the games and exhibits it has to offer.
This part of the town is actually known for dinosaur fossils. So you really feel and see what it was like when dinosaurs were around.
13. Camp Overnight To Look at the Stars
The night sky over Utah could give the northern lights some competition. The clearly visible clusters of stars in the clear sky are a sight you shouldn’t miss.
If you are staying for a few days, it’s worth camping out at night to see the stars. The weather is also pleasant at night, with a chill in the air. You can camp at many locations, but the best one is in Arches National Park at the Balanced Rock Picnic Area.
Other campsites include Panorama Point, Eden Viewpoint, and Windows. All these sites offer an amazing view of the sky and the stars.
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14. Slide Down Dunes
When you’re entering Arches National Park, you’ll see sand dunes on the side. It wasn’t always an official attraction, but people find it to be very fun. Kids and even adults slide and run down the dunes, having fun and making videos. Plus, it’s absolutely free.
It’s also a good place to relax and take a break before entering the park.
15. Watch the Sunrise or Sunset at Delicate Arch
Last but not least, you could enjoy a spectacular sunrise at Delicate Arch. Most visitors, especially day visitors to the park, keep Delicate Arch for last to view the sunset.
The hike can be time-consuming, so you’ll have to cut down on the activities, especially if making a day trip. However, it’s definitely worth the hike, especially around sunset. That being said, this hike gets difficult on a hot sunny day, as the total hike back and forth is three miles.
When going to see the sunset, keep some daylight time to get back to your car. Nevertheless, the beautiful rock formation looks great any time of the day. Photographs come out great in the late afternoon when the sun is not that bright, and the rocks have an orange hue.
Kyle Kroeger is the owner of ViaTravelers.com. Via Travelers is a modern travel blog providing the best tips, hacks, and itineraries to ensure you have an amazing adventure. Follow us on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and YouTube.