Named after an isolated area mentioned in the Bible, Moab, Utah, was a uranium-mining town in the 1950s. In recent years, Moab has become one of the biggest adventure-travel centers in the U.S. It is located 240 miles southeast of Salt Lake City.
Start with a visit to the information center, at the corner of Center and Main in the heart of town. It has oodles of brochures and maps that outline, among other things, the area's mountain biking, hiking and four-wheel-drive trails, movie locations (many feature films have been shot near Moab) and sites with Native American rock art.
Visitors interested in mountain biking, hiking, rafting, rock climbing, and four-wheel-drive or motorcycle outings will find Moab an outstanding place to settle in for several days. Others will find it a pleasant town that serves as a good base for exploring nearby Arches and Canyonlands national parks.
Four-wheel-drive vehicles, mountain bikes, canoes, kayaks and most other outdoor equipment are available for rent in town, and outfitters offer guided tours.
After you've had your fill of thrills, Moab also offers a pretty good selection of restaurants, bakeries and espresso shops.
ARCHES NATIONAL PARK
The world's largest concentration of natural stone arches (at least 2,000) can be found within Utah's Arches National Park, near Moab. The area's geology, combined with wind and water erosion, created these magnificent towering stone arches. A scenic drive runs through the park, and pleasant, easy hiking trails lead to the arches. We recommend walking some of the trails, as you get a much better view of the unusual formations and, in some cases, can climb into the lofty openings in the rock.
Be sure to see the enormous Landscape Arch (in Devil's Garden). The most famous formation in the park is Delicate Arch—its silhouette can be seen all over the state, on everything from billboards to license plates. Reaching Delicate Arch requires a one-hour, easy-to-moderate hike (be sure to take plenty of water). The park also contains a visitors center, interpretive trails and areas for picnicking, camping, hiking and climbing.
CANYONLANDS NATIONAL PARK
Set in the heart of the Colorado Plateau, Canyonlands National Park, near Moab encompasses the confluence of the Colorado and Green rivers and the breathtaking canyons that were created when the rivers eroded the plateau.
You can drive through a portion of Canyonlands on state highways, but we recommend using a four-wheel-drive vehicle to traverse the extensive backcountry roads leading into the heart of the park. A hike along one of the many trails will pay big dividends if you invest the time: The natural arches, Native American ruins, petroglyphs and canyon scenery are spectacular.
There are five distinct sections of the park. Island in the Sky, the section farthest north, is probably the best for those who want to take a relatively quick look without venturing too far from their car. While in this area, you might want to stop by Dead Horse Point State Park (named for ill-fated wild horses that perished after being marooned on the park's narrow upland peninsula).
The River District contains parts of the Green and Colorado rivers, and one of the best (though not necessarily inexpensive) ways to see Canyonlands is on a river trip by raft, canoe, kayak or powerboat. Many outfitters and tour companies are located in Moab.
The park includes a visitors center (offering guided tours), a museum and interpretive trails. There are areas for picnicking and camping and trails for hiking and horseback riding. On your way into Canyonlands be sure to see the ancient drawings and petroglyphs on a sheer cliff at Newspaper Rock Historical Monument (between Moab and Monticello).
Copyright ©2017 Northstar Travel Media LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Courtesy of: Darla Logsdon
See More Sunsets Travel