Destination: Moab, Utah
About: Just north of the confluence of the Green and Colorado river is Moab. Surrounded by red rocks and two incredible National Parks, Arches and Canyonlands
Driving240 Miles from Denver
Time: ~ 5.5 hours
Fly Moab airport or Grand Junction
Season: Spring and Fall are the best temperature-wise
It had been about six years since my last trip to Moab (why I wait this long I can’t tell you why!) and it was Clay’s first trip so we tried to get a lot in but the weather was really not working in our favor. It was warm but overcast and very windy. We had planned on SUPing down the Colorado River on Saturday afternoon but with gust up to 45 that was not going to be ideal.
Moab gets HOT and very cold so ideal times to visit are April/May and September/October. Before it gets too painstakingly hot during the day and way too cold at night. Avoid the parks at mid-day when it’s the hottest too. You will want to get up and go to the parks then choose another activity for mid-day. There is very little shade in the parks and in Moab in general. Pack a hat and lots of sunscreen, and HYDRATE. Take more water than you think you will need on hikes, mountain biking etc.
Where to Stay in Moab, Utah
Camping in Moab
Coming in designated campgrounds around Moab goes fast. A number of friends told us just to head to route ___ near canyonlands and their would-be plenty of BLM land to find a spot and they were right! We found a great spot about 100 yards from the green river canyon. Will I share the exact spot, nope! Half the fun is finding your own spot and trust me there are 100s along these dirt roads.
Hotels in Moab
We opted to get a hotel room for our last night so we could get a good night’s sleep before golfing and heading back. We stayed at the Best Western Plus Canyonlands Inn and it was great. Our room was huge – very spacious. I honestly picked the hotel for the pool area which was lovely. The pool is heated too so it felt perfect for a dip. We spent Sunday afternoon listening to music, sunning and swimming.
Bucketlist Hotel – Moab Under Canvas
Arches – Unfortuenlty each time we tried to get into arches there was either a huge line or it was closed/full. I did go on my last trip and we went around 6 pm and it was the perfect temperature and weatherize – you really want to go before it gets too hot or as the sun is setting.
Canyonlands – We went around 9 am Sunday morning and got in no problem. It was a quick trip so we stopped at Shaffer overlook and Mesa Arch.
White Rim Road – We could see the Green River from our campsite and decided to drive down and check it out. Once down you can drive left about 5 miles to enter Canyonlands at the bottom. This is a 4×4 only road. We didn’t realize it’s actually 100 miles around the park to get to the main entrance. So this is NOT a shortcut into the park. So we ended up turning around after driving through some nearly sheer cuts offs first – 100000% sketch driving.
So If you want to drive down to the river – go for it! But if you turn left to Canyonlands Id not go further than Canyonlands entrance. Even on this little drive, you will still get some epic views. Again 4×4 only. I seriously almost passed out on one ridge I was holding my breath cause I was so scared 🙂
What to do in Moab
Hikes outside of National Parks – There are a number of hikes inside each park but plenty outsides too. Since we didn’t get into Arches we did Corona arch which IMO was more epic than some of the arches in Arches.
Corona Arch – This hike is about 20 minutes from town and a fun drive as you pass lots of rock climber sand the petroglyphs as you follow the Colorado River. The hike is a little over 2 miles round trip so pretty easy. You start out with a little incline then it’s 90% flat the rest of the way. There are two areas that are more “difficult” where you walk up a steep incline holding a rope than a ladder but each section is like 10 feet so totally manageable.
When you get to the arch be sure to walk all the way through as the view is better from the other side. We went around ~1pm and it wasn’t too busy. If you’re hot after the hike cools off at the bach right across the road too!
Professor Creek & Mary Jane Trail – This non-national park hike about 5 miles through a slot canyon the pictures on All Trails look Epic!
Mill Creek Falls – I was prepared for HOT weather and it was windy and overcast so we didn’t do this hike. However, on a hot day, this is an easy hike to a waterfall and swimming hole.
SUP (Stand Up Paddle Board) – We ended up canceling our SUP trip because of high winds. But I had booked with Paddle Moab, they offer a great service “Rent and Ride” where you can rent a SUP set up and they will shuttle your card fro you so they drop you off wherever up river and you float back down to your car then return the boards!
4×4 or Jeep Drive – I’d love to do more of the drive in the future in a 4×4 off-road vehicle or jeep but not in a big f150 – we saw lots of people mountain biking down here too!
Golf – Golf is our new thing and we look for a good course everywhere we go now. The Moab Golf Course is a public course that was really cool with crazy views but not the nicest. Still, it’s golf!
Where To Eat in Moab
Trailhead Inn – I had planned on going to the food truck park but realized we couldn’t get a beer too so we went to the Trailhead and I’m so happy we did – we were sat immediately on the balcony and got two giant delicious salads for under $10 – cheap and delicious! 10/10 would recommend
Zax – This is a pizza place and we didn’t get pizza so it was okay. Nothing to write home about, a great covered rooftop balcony.
Miguel Baja Grill – Yum! I am so glad we picked this spot dinner everything was so good. Our waiter recommended we get the fish tacos or anything with shrimp. Seriously some of the best margaritas I have had in a while and the fish tacos were so yummy. Clay got the shrimp fajitas and loved them. Everything was very fresh and delicious. Highly recommend!
Woody Tavern – We walked over here to check out the scene which immediately during covid isn’t much but it’s a big bar with pool tables, jukebox, and big patio.
Sweet Cravings Moab – Stop in for breakfast or lunch to go with so many options this spot will please everyone in your group. Plus each meal comes with a special baked treat!
I honestly can’t wait to go back to Moab – I feel like there is so much left to explore but we will have to wait till fall! Have you been to Moab? What was your favorite spot?!