Moab: a 4-hour drive from Park City, gateway to two national parks and one state park, home to hundreds of miles of mountain biking, hiking and jeeping trails, affectionately nicknamed “the world’s biggest sandbox.”
Remember how much fun you could have in a sandbox as a child? You’d throw the sand in the air, drive your trucks and bikes through it, sit down in the middle of it and eat your snack, take in the views of the rest of the playground.
In Moab, you get to do all of that again, but in a little more grown-up fashion.
This adult playground offers everything you could ever want for your next outdoor adventure, but don’t worry, Moab is not quite the “Wild West” anymore (but your Instagram followers won’t know the difference). And you definitely don’t have to sleep on the ground when you stay.
Where to Stay
If we’re being honest, there are really only two places to stay when you go down to Moab. Both are located along the Colorado River about 15 miles outside of town.
When you stay at Sorrel River Ranch or Red Cliffs Lodge, your suite will look out over the Colorado River and you can watch the sun set behind the famous red rocks. And if you stay at Sorrel River, you can take it all in after you enjoyed the afternoon relaxing in the onsite spa!
Sure, there are tons of other hotels lining Main Street and even more campgrounds where you could stay for the weekend, but none of those even come close to these two options.
What to Do
There is literally no way you can go to Moab and get bored or run out of things to do. But if you don’t know where to start, here’s a Clif’s Notes version broken up by land, water, and sky.
- Rent Jeeps, Hummers, dirtbikes, side-by-sides, or rock-crawlers and start driving over shit.There just aren’t that many places in the country that off-road vehicles have this much free range. Take advantage.
- Mountain bike. The Slickrock and White Rim Trails are two of the most famous mountain biking trails in the world of mountain biking. Send ‘em!
- Hike. Remember the whole two national parks and one state park thing? If you go to Moab and you don’t hike out to Delicate Arch, you’re doing it wrong. Simple as that.
- Shop. Main Street is lined with small, locally-owned shops and restaurants. Pop in and out of the stores for a more low-key day or afternoon. This is an especially great option if you happen to catch the rain in the desert. Water Activities
- Raft the Colorado River. On a hot day, nothing beats floating down a river. The rapids keep you from getting bored and a steady supply of beer keeps you, you know…hydrated.
- Canyonlands by Night. You’ll notice as you’re getting outside in and around Moab all of the petroglyphs carved into the walls by Native Americans. Oh, you didn’t notice? This tour is for you. You’ll float down the river while the guide points out different landmarks (natural and manmade) with a spotlight on the canyon walls.
- Skydive. Yes, jump out of a perfectly good airplane. The pilots take you up for a scenic flight of the area before they chuck you out the side of the plane and you’ll get to look out over Dead Horse Point State Park, Canyonlands State Park and Arches National Park. The flight alone is worth it, but the jump is one of the best things you’ll ever experience.
- Hot Air Balloon Ride. No jumping or parachutes required. Once you’ve hiked, biked, rafted and driven through the slot canyons and seen the arches, you really need to see the “canyon country” from above. A hot air balloon ride gives you that access without quite so much adrenaline required to skydive!
What to Eat & Drink
When it comes to eating in Moab, there aren’t exactly world-class steakhouses dotting the map or gourmet, five-course dinners being served. Luckily, after a long day out in the desert sun, you’ll have worked up an appetite and everything tastes good at that point. Here are just a few favorites:
- The Quesadilla Mobilla. This is a food truck that parks at different spots along Main Street making upscale versions of the classic quesadilla.
- The Love Muffin. Much more than just muffins. Stop in for a breakfast burrito or my personal favorite, the biscuits and gravy, and, not that you would, but don’t forget your coffee.
- The Moab Brewery. The only microbrewery in Moab. Also the creator of the best (IMHO) amber ale out there, the Dead Horse Amber Ale. Especially well-deserved if you hiked around Dead Horse Point earlier that day.
- Castle Creek Winery. The desert may be dry, but that doesn’t mean that it’s dry (get it?!). Yes, it is Utah, but just outside of Moab, there is a winery nestled up against the river. They have eight different wine selections for you to test out.
Moab is a great weekend getaway, especially in the spring and fall months when you’re ready to put away your rock skis for a few days and soak up some sunshine.