Moab + Arches + Canyonlands National Park: Your Ultimate Travel Guide // Out of LA”
Outdoor enthusiasts rejoice! Utah is an excellent scenic opportunity to experience all the wonders of the outside world, such as: hiking, skiing, snowboarding, climbing, and more. Two national parks reside within the town of Moab, providing year-round access to the beautiful red rock landscapes. The small town hospitality, plethora of activities, and gorgeous scenery will captivate you and will ensure a visit well-remembered.
Moab hosts the Canyonlands and Arches National Parks. Great for mountain biking, the town offers a huge variety of trails. Be cautious! The challenge level of each trail varies. In addition to dirt, Moab has delightful rafting and water-based experience because of the cool waters of the Colorado River. Remember to take pictures! Its pretty hard in this outdoor recreation destination.
“We must not only protect the country side and save it from destruction, we must restore what has been destroyed and salvage the beauty and charm of our cities … Once our natural splendor is destroyed, it can never be recaptured. And once man can no longer walk with beauty or wonder at nature, his spirit will wither and his sustenance be wasted.” — Lyndon B. Johnson
Grand Junction Colorado Airport
Grand Junction Colorado Airport
How to get there//
Located in eastern Utah, there are a several options for flying into Moab. Moab has its own small airport that connects through Denver serviced by Great Lakes Airline, Moab, Utah (CNY). There are 2 larger airport-options Grand Junction, CO (GJT) which is 120 miles from Moab and Salt Lake City (SLC) which is 240 miles away. The flight from LAX to SLC takes roughly 1 hour and 50 minutes. Flight costs range from $150-$250.
When To Go//
Peak Season: Mid-March to May
Low Season: Winter
WHAT TO DO // EXPLORE
Moab is home to both Canyonlands and Arches National Parks. Great for mountain biking, the town offers a huge variety of trails. Be cautious! The challenge level of each trail varies. In addition to dirt treks, Moab has delightful rafting and water-based experiences thanks to the cool waters of the Colorado River. Remember to bring a good camera because you won’t want to miss out on Moab’s various photo opps!
Canyonlands National Park
Arches, National Park
CANYONLANDS NATIONAL PARK
Cost: $25 per vehicle
Canyonlands National Park is intersected by the Colorado and Green Rivers, dividing the park into four districts. The most widely visited and most accessible is the Island in the Sky District full of stunning views from high above the canyon floor; as well as home to Mesa Arch one of the most famous images of the park.
Canyonlands is Utah’s largest National Park, so keep in mind that visiting one or possibly two districts in a day would be a BIG day.
Island in The Sky
One of the districts within the park is Island in the Sky. This district lies 1,000 feet above the surrounding area with spectacular views in every direction. There are multiple pull-out spots for you to stop and take photos along the scenic drive. If you’re short on time, this is the easiest district to visit and offers worthy lookouts, four-wheeling, and hiking trails.
Talk about the view from Mesa Arch.
One must-do hike in the Island of the Sky district is the Mesa Arch Trail. This trail is relatively easy; it’s only about 30 minute 0.5 mile trail round trip and makes a great morning workout.
The start of this trail is a total of 35 miles north of Moab. Once in the park, the parking lot is on the left side of the road, just 12.9 miles down.
Home to colorful sandstone spires; however, the Maze is a remote backcountry experience requiring time and self-sufficiency. If you have a few days. The Rivers is home to both flat water and whitewater rafting experiences that can be set up with a tour operator in town.
ARCHES NATIONAL PARK
Cost: $25 per vehicle
Explore a mesmerizing environment of over 2,000 natural stone arches, balanced rocks, and scenic hiking trails. Arches are beautiful at sunrise and quite accessible from all the Moab hotels.
Hike to Delicate Arch
The Delicate Arch is arguably one of the most recognized arches in the world. Made of Entrada Sandstone, the arch was sculpted by thousands of years of erosion and weathering. Its glory is magnified by a backdrop of horizontal planes surrounding it. The stunning and freestanding arch is breath-taking year round, however during the winter there are less people.
Words can hardly capture the beauty of the red sandstone contrasting against the blanket of pristine white snow. To get to this stunning sight, you hike 3 miles roundtrip with a 480 foot (164 meters) incline. This arch is worth the trek, but you need to make sure you have plenty of water and reliable hiking shoes to do so.
Caution! Please consider your personal health and current weather conditions before beginning this hike. Extreme summer heat and winter ice can make this trail more difficult than it seems. Rescue operations occur frequently for visitors who underestimated the trail’s difficulty. If you need to skip the hike this time around, visit the link, to see details on how to view Delicate Arch from further away.
Experience A ‘Parke Avenue’ Sunrise
Upon entering Arches National Park you will first encounter “Park Avenue,” an expansive canyon framed by thousands of years old soaring red rocks. As you drive up towards Delicate Arch and Balanced Rock, you will be able to see the Three Gossips, the Courthouse Towers, Queen Nefertiti and Queen Victoria Rock, the Organ, and the Tower of Babel.
It is highly suggested that you hike through it! Taking the one mile Park Avenue trail that follows along the bottom of this canyon provides you an unreal experience as you peer up at the monstrous monoliths above.
Explore >> MOAB
Every trip to Moab should include a drive along at least one byway, although driving all three is a great way to spend a relaxing day.
The Moab Adventure Center
The Moab Adventure Center can set up rafting trips, hummer safaris, climbing & canyoneering trips, mountain biking, scenic flights, horseback riding, jeep rentals, hot air balloon rides, and gear rentals.
WHERE TO STAY // SLEEP //
Moab Under Canvas
Moab offers accommodations for travelers of all shapes and sizes. If you are a canvas-seeking lover (like myself) you may opt for Moab Under Canvas.
Red Cliffs Lodge
Red Cliffs Lodge is located 14 miles down Highway 128 from Moab’s main road, so it will add some time to your daily commute. The tranquil environment and it’s neighboring Castle Creek Winery make the extra couple of miles a distant thought. Many of the rooms include a basic kitchenette so you may want to stop by a grocery store on the drive in because out here you are truly surrounded by nature and there ain’t much ‘round.
// MOAB IN WINTER TIPS //
Due to the seasonal nature of Moab, be aware that certain restaurants and shops will have adjusted hours.
Moab Under Canvas is a seasonal Glamping Resort and may not be open during winter months.
When staying at Red Cliffs Lodge in the Winter months, always call ahead to confirm the restaurant is still open when returning to the hotel. Especially after a long day of hiking because if they are closed when you arrive, there are no other food options close to the hotel.
Castle Creek Winery is not open during winter months.
Moab Brewing Company
The Moab Brewing Company is the town’s largest and most popular restaurant and home to locally made award winning beer.
Castle Creek Winery
This gorgeous little winery in set in the middle of Utah’s magnificent red rocks is a MUST SEE. It is located nextdoor to Redcliffs Lodge.
Moab Coffee Roasters
Moab Coffee Roasters offers quality beans that are freshly roasted on site each day, with each shot of espresso being poured by a well-trained barista – not a machine.
The Eklecticafe offers funky, vintage vibes as well as vegan and vegetarian options!
Grocery Store Run
Don’t forget to stock up on some snacks and meals before heading into the parks for the day. There are no food options in Arches or Canyonlands.
WHAT TO PACK //
WHAT TO WEAR