With such a variety of things to do in Moab Utah, it’s no wonder this is such a popular place to visit. Surrounded by some of the West’s best national parks, the mighty Colorado River, and out of this world red rock formations, this place begs to be explored.
The vast amount of things to do here is staggering. Jeep tours, horseback riding, mountain biking, winery tours, dinosaur trails, hiking, river rafting, swimming, glamping…..the list goes on and on.
Moab Utah is approximately 4 hours from Salt Lake City and is home to the best Utah National Parks. With a bucket list of activities to do in Moab, you’ll discover opportunities right outside the city for amazing day trips too!
One of our favorite day trips is the La Sal Mountain Loop State Scenic Byway. This road is an adventure, from the alpine ridges of the La Sal Mountains to Castle Rock’s red rock desert and sandstone pinnacles. You’ll see mesas, buttes, as well as steep laccolithic peaks that appear in photos of the famed Delicate Arch.
Another favorite adventure from Moab is the Potash Scenic Drive. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve passed Potash road and I didn’t even know what was down there. One afternoon after we shuttled the Mag 7 mountain bike ride we decided to explore Potash Road to see what all it offered. This beautiful scenic drive parallels the Colorado River, has a top rated rock climbing route, and is home to the Corona Arch.
Turns out you can a couple hours in this area if you plan on doing some exploring however if you’re looking to just do the drive an hour or two is what you’ll need!
LOOKING FOR MORE THINGS TO DO IN MOAB AND THE MIGHTY 5 NATIONAL PARKS?
- Utah Road Trip – The Mighty 5 Utah National Park Tour
- How to Visit Arches National Park
- 7 Not To Miss Arches National Park Hikes
- Spice Up Your Road Trip: The West’s Best Glamping Destinations
Let’s have a look at the must-see places and must-do activities in Utah’s most adventurous town.
THINGS TO DO IN MOAB TO STAY COOL
If you’re visiting Moab mid-summer it’s gonna be hot. So finding a little water to stay cool is a must. Here are our favorite ways to stay cool.
RAFT THE COLORADO RIVER- A UNIQUE THING TO DO IN MOAB
The iconic Colorado River that starts in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and carves its way right through Moab Utah, meanders through seven United States and two Mexican states before dumping into the Gulf of California.There’s no better way to see the surrounding country than by a raft trip on the majestic Colorado River. You can book half-day, full-day, and multi-day Moab river trips.
Remember Moab is really popular in the spring so be sure to book your trip early if you want to spend time on the River while you’re visiting Moab.
TAKE A DIP IN MILL CREEK AND SEE THE PETROGLYPHS
Mill Creek is one of the best ways to beat the heat in the summer. The pristine crystal clear water flows from the nearby La Sal Mountains and offers numerous calm wading pools as well as deeper pools to jump in.
Don’t miss the popular Mill Creek waterfall, a decent sized waterfall where people come to cool off and cliff jump when the water is deep enough.
Once you’re done cooling off there are some nearby petroglyphs and pictographs that are just a short hike away.
Mill Creek is located just outside of Moab on Powerhouse lane, see map.
SWIM OR CAMP AT KEN’S LAKE
Kens lake is a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Moab. This man-made reservoir 10 miles South of Moab is a nice option for SUP’s or other personal watercraft. It’s situated amongst the Red-Rock foothills and a great place to spend the day relaxing, picnicking or swimming.
CAMPING IN MOAB AT KENS LAKE
If you’re looking for camping you can find some here. The Ken’s Lake Campground is located in the Ken’s Lake Recreation Area. The area comprises Ken’s Lake, a day use area with a ramp, a campground, along with hiking and horseback riding trails. You can book your site here, March 1 – November 15, sites that aren’t reserved are available on a first come first served basis.
FAUX FALLS (A FUN THING TO DO IN MOAB FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY)
Faux falls can be found within the Ken’s lake recreation area, the walk to the Falls is only a few minutes, so the entire family can enjoy this Moab adventure. The falls were constructed back in 1981 along with Ken’s Lake and yes as the name implies they’re fake AKA this is a manmade waterfall.
The “Fauxness” and the rather shallow pool didn’t stop us from enjoying this area along with the refreshingly cold water. This waterfall is exactly what we needed after a long, hot day of mountain biking at Amasa Back.
We were lucky enough to show up and have this place to ourselves, which was a big SCORE in our books! However, in the past when we’ve been to Faux Falls, it was a little too crowded for our tastes. So be forewarned that this location might be busy, especially during spring break.
STAND UP PADDLE BOARD
One of our favorite ways to spend a hot day in Moab is to stand up paddle board (SUP) on the Colorado River. The twisting red rock canyons are unlike any other on earth, the towering red rock cliffs, sandstone domes, and cold river water makes this a perfect thing to do in Moab on a hot day.
ALTERNATIVE OPTION TO PADDLING THE RIVER: If you’d rather not stand up paddle on the river, but still want to get out on the water, take your paddleboard over to Ken’s lake where you can paddle, relax, and enjoy a picnic!
SWIM AT THE MOAB RECREATION AND AQUATIC CENTER (TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN MOAB WITH KIDS)
There’s no better way to beat the heat than a nice cool dip in a Moab swimming pool. The MRAC offers an indoor and outdoor lap pool, a large leisure pool, and some slides and fountains for fun! You can also enjoy your day by relaxing in their large grassy lounge area while watching your kids splash and play in the pool.
If swimming isn’t your thing and you’d prefer to work up a sweat in the comfort of an air conditioned building, check out the Moab Fitness Center. The MRAC has everything you need for a total body workout from cardio and weight-lifting, to various yoga and fitness classes. You can check out their schedule of classes here.
And Yes if you’re visiting the Moab area you can buy a day pass for the center, the MRAC is open to both locals and tourists!
GET A COLD ONE AT MOAB BREWERY
One of our favorite places to get a drink after a hot day in the sun is at the Moab Brewery. We have a soft spot in our hearts for this brewery because the founder, John Borkoski, also started one of our favorite breweries in Mccall, Idaho, where we lived for 16 years.
This place serves up their own tasty microbrews, some quality food and offers a decent happy hour during certain times of the year. If you’re into IPA’s I recommend trying out their Johnny’s American IPA.
Check out their menu here.
THINGS TO DO IN MOAB (ALMOST) ANYTIME OF THE YEAR
ARCHES NATIONAL PARK
Located just outside of town is one of America’s most beautiful and popular National Parks. Arches National Park is a must do while visiting Moab. The park offers a variety of hiking options and if you haven’t seen Delicate Arch it’s time you do. The 52 foot tall multicolored, Delicate Arch is one of the world’s most famous arches.
When visiting the park shoot for early mornings or evenings to catch the best light and skip the crowds. Arches is open year-round and we highly recommend visiting in the winter. Keep in mind that Moab is VERY busy during Spring Break making the Arches a widely popular destination so prepare for large crowds and a long wait to get into the park.
Insiders Info: The delicate Arch is the famous arch portrayed on Utah’s license plates and bumper stickers all over the United States
GREAT VIDEO OF THE BEST THINGS TO DO IN MOAB
GRAB A BITE TO EAT AT THE MOAB FOOD TRUCK PARK
Located in downtown Moab just off the main street the Moab Food Truck Park should not to be missed. With offerings for breakfast lunch and dinner this area makes for a very affordable place to get a bite to eat. I’m not sure how often these food trucks switch out, or if they do, but when we were there we had some fabulous tacos that we’d recommend to anyone!
This is a very popular place to eat so if you’re planning on eating here go early because once a truck runs out of food they typically close down for the day! We learned this the hard way when we had our heart set on a quesadilla after a good ride and the truck had already closed.
SCENIC UTAH BYWAY 128
Monolithic Majesty! Scenic Byway 128, which is known by the locals as the River Road is one of the most interesting and breathtaking drives. On this 44 mile one way drive you’ll explore canyons carved by the Colorado River as you make your way through red rock country, with spectacular mesas, natural springs, and enough red rock to overwhelm the senses.
If you’re looking for a quick hike along the drive hit up Grandstaff Canyon just 3 miles outside of Moab. This hike is a little over two miles one direction and leads to Morning Glory Natural Bridge. After your hike we recommend driving a bit further down Byway 128 till you hit Fisher Tower, a towering monolith famous in many western movies and a climbing spot for rock climbers. On your way back towards Moab the Red Cliffs Lodge makes for a great place to stop for lunch. While at the lodge check out The Moab Museum of Film and Western Heritage.
Interested in camping in Moab along Scenic Byway 128?
Our favorite river camping in Moab is at Big Bend Campground along the Colorado river on a beautiful white sand beach!
DEAD HORSE POINT STATE PARK
One of our favorite things to do in Moab is catch a sunset from this stunning viewpoint at Dead Horse State Park right outside of Canyonlands National Park and about 40 minutes from Moab.
This is easily one of the best sunsets we’ve ever seen. The massive canyon walls will remind you of the Grand Canyon minus all the people. There are several lookouts so come early to scope out which one you like best.
MOAB ARTS AND RECREATION CENTER (PERFECT THING TO DO IN MOAB ON A RAINY DAY)
The Moab Arts and Recreation is a place where people who have a love for art come to gather. The MARC is the hub for anything art related. You can learn about the various festivals, art walks, cultural events, and the super fun Moab Free Concert Series by heading to the MARCs website.
COWORKING AT THE MOAB ARTS AND RECREATION CENTER (MARC)
I know this may not be labeled as something “fun” to do in Moab but heck sometimes when you’re traveling you just need a quiet spot to get a bit of work done. The co-working space at the MARC is perfect to do just that. You can learn more about co-working or purchase a day pass here.
CASTLE CREEK WINERY
Castle Creek Winery is a fun stop along one of my favorite highways, HWY 128. It’s part of the larger Red Cliff’s Lodge which in itself is worth a visit for their free museum and movies featuring the local area.
There’s a ton to do here in addition to tasting delicious wine. If you landed in Moab on a rainy day this would be a great place to wait out the drizzle.
WALK AMONGST DINOSAUR TRACKS AND FIND PETROGLYPHS ON POTASH ROAD (FUN ADVENTURE FOR KIDS IN MOAB)
For you dinosaur lovers checking out the dinosaur tracks is one of the best things to do in Moab with kids. The area is full of genuine prints and fossils from these mighty giants. One of the most popular spots to check out some legit dinosaur foot prints is the Dinosaur Tracks Trail. The Dinosaur Tracks Trail is a short, easy hike (20 minutes) to a unique dinosaur trackway near the Colorado River. The site includes an open-air museum detailing the history of the area and the dinosaurs that made these tracks.
If you decide to do a bit of exploring off the beaten path in Moab its always a good idea to have an area map.
We like these ones because they are Waterproof • Tear-Resistant • and they include both Moab North and Moab South providing you coverage of the entire region.
Both maps include detailed trail charts describing the mountain biking and jeep trails that are the main draw of the Moab area. Inset maps are also included for the most heavily used areas to help when navigating these desert landscapes.
CANYONLANDS NATIONAL PARK
Canyonlands is a big, diverse, and remote area. Despite being Utah’s largest National Park, it’s frequently overshadowed by its more famous counterparts such as Arches and Zion. But Canyonlands has a lot to offer and is well worth the trip.
This massive and less-visited National Park is one of our favorites. The hundreds of miles of hiking trails promise to keep you entertained for a long time.
Here are a couple of other areas worth checking out in Canyonlands
- Grand View Point
- Mesa Arch
- Grand View Overlook
MOAB GIANTS DINOSAUR PARK AND TRACKS MUSEUM (THE BEST THING TO DO IN MOAB WITH KIDS)
Did you know that Moab has several spots where you can see dinosaur tracks and bones? It’s true and you can explore these findings at the Dinosaur Park and Tracks Museum where all of these great finds are showcased in one convenient place.
Walk amongst the giants in this fun and interactive park. The park includes a 3D cinema where you can learn about the prehistoric world of dinosaurs. After the film, walk around the park where you’ll see state-of-the-art life-sized dinosaurs It’s filled with tons of interactive displays and is a must do activity for kids of all ages 😉
You can learn more at the Moab Giants website here
MOAB SAND HILL
The enormous Sand Dune across the highway from the entrance to Arches is a great place to get some fresh air and slide or surf down the hill. Regardless of the day or time of year we always see people at this sand hill. This hill is fun for people of all ages!
SHOP DOWNTOWN MOAB
There’s plenty to explore in downtown Moab, whether you’re looking for souvenirs or just want to check out the local art. You won’t find any designer handbags or high heels in the downtown Moab shops but you will find plenty of climbing, biking and, Kokopelli artwork because this is an outdoor enthusiasts mecca.
One of our favorite places to go is the Moab Gear Trader which offers both new and used outdoor gear.
ACTIVE THINGS TO DO IN MOAB
CORONA ARCH TRAIL
Corona Arch located just outside of Moab is a scenic 3-mile round trip hike that takes you to an absolutely stunning arch. If hitting Arches National Park isn’t on your plan this is a must-do.
The hike is moderate, dog-friendly, and a great option for kids. It’s one of our favorite arches for photography, especially at night.
Moab is a must-see adventure for climbers, with easy access to thousands of routes on high-quality sandstone. The rock climbing in Moab features towering red cliffs, out-of-this-world rock formations, and enough variety to satisfy all levels of climbers whether you’re a splitter crack climber, a bolt-clipper, or a desert tower enthusiast.
Several of the most popular climbing sites in the West are super close to downtown Moab so it’s not uncommon to see climbers from all over the United States uniting in Moab
Because Moab offers many different elevations for climbing it’s a popular destination for year-around adventures.
Here are some of the most popular climbing areas in Moab
WALK, BIKE OR RUN AT LIONS PARK
The next time you visit Moab, make sure to pull off the highway at Lions Park, for a quick scenic stop.
As you approach Moab from the north, this park is on your left. It’s right along the Colorado River and has a lovely bridge that spans the river. The views and red rocks are beautiful! There are tables and pavilions to sit under, and it’s right by a paved bike trail.
FLOAT THE COLORADO RIVER AT NIGHT
Finish the day off with a Cowboy-style Dutch Oven dinner and evening boat ride on the Colorado River. The evening begins with an hour long feast overlooking the majestic Colorado River.
Next you’ll board a flat-bottom river boat and cruise the canyon with over 40,000 watts of light to illuminate the canyon walls.
TAKE THE HIGH ROPE AT MOAB ADVENTURE CENTER
Adventure Park Moab offers a fun filled day for the whole family There are a variety of courses for all skill levels and this ropes challenge course is the perfect opportunity to build confidence, teamwork, and most importantly have fun! With an amazing range of 40 foot towers linked by robust bolts and cables this course will challenge both your mental and physical strength.
Pro Tip: For those looking for a true adrenaline rush, you won’t want to miss your turn on the Giant Swing!
ZIPLINE IN MOAB
Ziplining is a fun thing to do in any outdoor area but ziplining in Moab is particularly popular because of the beautiful landscape. Adults and kids over 8 can enjoy this action packed ziplining adventure in Moab. Most tours begin by shuttling you to the trailhead in 4×4 Off-Road UTVs which is a great adventure in itself. After arriving at the trailhead you’ll be greeted with 6 exhilarating ziplines and a 100 foot suspension bridge. Make sure you book your trip in advance because spots fill up quickly and you don’t want to miss out on this fun Moab activity.
Book your adventure here!
VIA FERRATA IN MOAB
Via Ferratas have been a popular way of exploring the beautiful outdoors for years in Europe but they’re becoming more and more popular in the US. A via ferrata, or “iron path”, is a protected climbing route that features a steel cable rail fixed to the rock, metal steps, ladders, barriers, suspension bridges and rock climbing walls.
During this highly adventurous Moab activity you’ll ascend vertical walls, descend into deep natural deep craters and traverse a 50-foot slackline. The grand finale of htis adrenaline pumping adventure is a free-fall repel off of a suspension bridge.
You can explore life on the edge by taking a Via Ferrata tour at Raven’s Rim
- Don’t miss our full Via Ferrata adventure in Telluride Colorado where we have a video and full write up!
- Coming soon- Our Ouray Colorado Via Ferrata adventure
The Slot Canyons in Utah are one of the state’s most exciting attractions, with features unlike anywhere else in the world.
Slot canyons are narrow channels created by rushing water that wears away at rock, leaving narrow canyons. People enjoy exploring slot canyons because they start out rather wide and get narrower with each step taken forward. The tall vertical walls and narrow slots of the canyon can test the nerves of those who have claustrophobia.
A WORD OF CAUTION ABOUT SLOT CANYONS
Slot canyons can be very dangerous during a big rainfall due to flash floods. The safest way to explore the slot canyons is by taking a canyoneering tour. The tour guides know the area and are familiar with the weather patterns ensuring your safety.
Exploring the slot canyons is more of a day trip from Moab since they aren’t necessarily close to Moab but the slot canyons will make for an amazing day trip. You can check out 1/2 or full day tours here
Here is a list of the most amazing slot canyons in Utah.
Experience The Most Thrilling 4×4 Off Road Tours in Moab while doing Hells Revenge. You’ll roam over the sandstone domes and slickrock ledges where you’ll navigate the difficult terrain, full of steep climbs and descents. You’re treated to views of the La Sal Mountains, the Colorado River and the sandstone cliffs of Negro Bill Canyon.
This tour is 6.5 miles and intended for experienced drivers. Learn more and book your ticket here.
SAND FLATS RECREATION AREA
Sand flats recreation area is the home to the “slick rock” bike trail and other epic slick rock trails where people can bike, hike, and 4×4. Slickrock is often called one of the best bike rides in America: it is one of the coolest, most unique experiences you can have on your bike.
About 95% of the ride is on incredibly tacky, smooth slickrock, and it’s just remarkable what your tires will hold. If you have the nerve, muscle, and balance, everything is rideable, including inclines that look ridiculous at first glance. Oh, and the red rock scenery is some of the most amazing in Moab.
The Sand Flats area also has great camping really close by, so you don’t have to miss out on any of the fun! There are over 120 sites available and we’ve listed a few below to help make your decision.
PLACES TO CAMP IN MOAB- SAND FLATS RECREATION AREA
LOOP A: Is great for people wanting to stay close to the slick rock trails. This 21-site loop, which is RV accessible has 2 pit toilets and dow not require 4WD. Learn more here
LOOP C: This is our favorite loop since it offers stunning views of the La Sal Mountains. Campers will notice that they are less crowded when they stay in this area, with just 7 campsites available. On-site restrooms include two pit toilets. Access to these sites is not necessary for 4WD vehicles. The sites in this loop are single sites that are Learn more here
RENT AN ATV OR UTV
One thing you’ll notice while you’re in Moab is the large number of Jeeps EVERYWHERE, especially during the infamous Jeep Week. If you’re visiting Moab and you want to explore the areas only jeeps, hikers, and bikers can get to rent yourself an ATV or UTV to explore the vast amount of 4WD trails.
Venture into the Wild West with a horseback riding tour. Guided by a professional wrangler, you’ll explore the trails made famous by John Wayne himself. New tack and equipment will make your ride as comfortable as can be. So saddle-up and take a trek into the horizon of Moab.
Learn more about horseback riding in Moab here!
WHITE RIM TRAIL MOUNTAIN BIKE
The White Rim is a popular long-distance bike path in Canyonlands National Park, it’s a 103-mile jeep road that travels through the park’s Island in the Sky district.This route is simple in terms of technical difficulty. However, because it is so long (and has a few intense climbs) and you need to be in good shape to complete the entire thing.
With vehicle support, it may be done in 3-5 days with overnight stops at designated campgrounds along the way. A 4WD vehicle is necessary to drive the route. The ride may be taken in either direction, each side of the rim has a long and steep descent that finishes off the ride.
A permit is required for day trips and overnight trips along the White Rim you can learn about permits here.
You can learn more about setting up your multi-day bike tour in Moab here
MOUNTAIN BIKE IN MOAB
Each year, thousands of people (including us) head to Moab with one thing on their mind – mountain biking. We prefer to mountain bike in the spring or fall when temperatures are mild and not too hot. Early May is typically perfect, with sunny skies and temps in the upper 70s.
Moab is well known for the world famous, and highly technical, Slickrock Bike Trail. This challenging 9.6 mile trail is considered to be the ultimate Moab bike ride. And while this route is often dubbed “high technical,” it does not require the same level of expertise as other alpine routes. The majority of this picturesque journey is paved with Navajo sandstone, a tacky surface for bike tires.
Why is it called Slickrock? Although slickrock is tacky for bike tires, pioneers in the 1800s had a different experience. The horses’ metal shoes made traveling on the sandstone difficult, so they dubbed it “slick rock.”
If you’re looking for something a little mellower, try Moab Brand Trails or Navajo Rocks
Pro Tip: Make sure you’re equipped for riding the rock in Moab by investing in some pads. Your elbows and knees will thank you!
TREAT YOURSELF TO SOME GLAMPING
If you need a break from your cramped tent or the hotels just aren’t hitting the spot, Glamping has your name written all over it. Located just outside of Moab, a luxury camping experience awaits at Under Canvas.
Enjoy nature but with a big twist of luxury. It’s a really fun way to mix things up a bit.
MOAB UTAH FAQ
When is the best time to visit Moab Utah?
Fall and Spring are the best times. The busiest season is mid-March through May and September through October. During the summer months, Moab gets very hot averaging well over 100 degrees.
Does it snow in Moab Utah?
Moab averages only 9 inches of snow per year. If it does snow it tends to melt quickly making winter a nice time to visit and miss the crowds.
What’s the most popular thing to do in Moab?
Arches National Park located just outside of Moab is one of Moab’s most popular attractions. Moab is also known for world-class mountain biking, hiking, rafting, canyoneering, ATV and motorcycle riding, as well as 4×4 jeeping.