Recently I spent a long weekend in Moab, Utah. It had been years since I had been there and that was only the briefest of visits. I was excited to go back and do some hiking and biking.
This place my friends is magical. Truly, truly, magical.
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The key is to visit when it isn’t super crowded, like any other destination, and October was perfect. The weather for hiking was ideal, temperatures in the 70’s with a bit of rain, but not too much. The fun fact we learned on this trip is that you can star/moon gaze in the park at night! We went during a full moon and it was incredible.
You can find a great guide to the national parks in Moab, here on the Discover Moab website. The site is very comprehensive, with great maps and good information on hikes. The hikes are classified by Easy, Moderate and Difficult so you can easily plan your visit ahead of time. The distances and trailheads are listed, what to expect during the different seasons and an event calendar.
We spent the majority of our time in Arches National Park although Canyonlands and Dead Horse Point are also great options. This trip confirmed that I am not a four-wheel vehicle enthusiast. This fact had been previously confirmed regarding snowmobiles and motorcycles. I am talking, not. at. all. They terrify me. #truth
I thought I would give it a go, thinking my mind would have changed and got 8 miles out on the trail with a group of friends, promptly got out and announced I was finished. I was perfectly happy to hike back out. #stubborn I had my hydration pack, a hat and the weather was beautiful with the bluest of blue skies.
For a moment I thought, “Is this a dumb idea, am I going to be a newspaper headline?”
A stubborn woman leaves her group and is finally found after days of being lost wandering in the desert. Well, that would be embarrassing and the thought did give me pause, but I wasn’t getting back in that vehicle, no way, no how.
In the end, everything was fine. There was one way out, which for me (major direction deficit) was a good thing. It was a glorious hike to the trailhead and I had some great alone time, an excellent workout as well as the satisfaction of not getting lost (huge bonus!). Ok, enough about my neuroses.
The town of Moab is just adorable but during peak seasons with only a two-lane highway can be jam-packed. Unless you are going there specifically because you love Jeeps, avoid Jeep week, it’s nuts!
Corona Arch Trail just outside of Arches National Park is beautiful and about 3 miles round trip. It has two other arches on this trail, Pinto, and Bowtie and there are some ladders and safety cables to help you along the way. I would say it is a moderate hike, there were a lot of families with young children hiking. The vistas on this trail were just mind-blowing. Miles of red rock landscapes all the way to the horizon. Stunning.
You can find more information here about other hikes in the area. Arches National Park is the closest to town, about 5 miles just outside of the city center. It is open year round, 24 hours a day and costs $30 per vehicle. Keep that pass handy because it is good for 7 days. This was where we went during the full moon and that is a must do while you are there, given that the moon participates.
When looking into flights, I had two options, Salt Lake City, Utah (SLC) or Grand Junction Colorado. While the Grand Junction is closer, 110 miles from Moab, it is a smaller airport and the flights were more expensive. We chose to fly into SLC because of the variety of flights available and they were much cheaper. It is a bit of a drive, 236 miles from Moab. We rented a car at the airport through Priceline and drove to the campground that evening. I booked the rental car ahead of time and it was the first time I had used Priceline services. The rental car was a bargain, $83 for almost 5 days if you didn’t get any added insurance, etc. Make sure to check with your credit card company to see if you are covered for insurance before you travel. This can save a lot of money in the long run. Does anyone else feel like renting a car can be similar to dining in an expensive a la carte restaurant?!
I will be spending more time on my mountain bike on my next trip. The bike shops in town that I visited were super helpful and had maps of local trail riding. Slick Rock is too technical for me which is near the Sand Flats Recreation Area. We were told of a central riding area with a variety of skill level trails 9 miles outside of town off of the highway. Check with the local bike shops for maps and directions.
We had some great meals in Moab, specifically breakfast! We tried the Love Muffin Cafe, which was amazing and unique. Depending on the time you visit, make reservations for dinner because the wait times can be quite long.
Put Moab, Utah on your bucket list, it won’t disappoint. If you have visited Moab and have trail recommendations for me reply in the comments below! I reviewed Moab in TripAdvisor which you can see here.