Unforgettable Views and One-of-a-Kind Scenery
In addition to being a mountain-biking mecca, Moab, Utah, is the gateway to Arches and Canyonlands national parks.
Moab, Utah, is a fairly remote town. Traveling west from Grand Junction, Colorado, motorists can take Interstate 70 and then turn south on State Route 128, which follows the Colorado River into Moab.
Route 128 winds through Castle Valley, the setting of numerous Hollywood movies. Travelers will recognize many distinctive red-rock formations, including Fisher Towers. The only town along the way is a ghost town, so vacationers will do well to fill their gas tanks before leaving I-70.
Utah has a unique terrain that can be found in few places in the world. The climate is semi-arid—not quite as dry as a desert, but drier than most other areas. Moab has large expanses of “slickrock,” a surface prized by mountain bikers for its distinctive texture.
Bikers from all over the world make the trek to Moab for what’s considered by many to be the best mountain biking anywhere. Owing to this popularity with cyclists, several bicycle shops can be found throughout the small town of Moab. There are many biking trails in and around Moab; most are many miles long.
For tourists who are not avid cyclists with their own bikes, bike rentals are available. The friendly cycle shop employees offer guidance to less strenuous trails, which are usually smaller sections of the main trails.
Canyonlands National Park and Dead Horse Point State Park
A bicycle is not the only vehicle people choose for their Moab adventures. The four-wheel drive trails into Canyonlands National Park are nearly as legendary as Moab’s bike trails. Canyonlands is the largest of Utah’s national parks.
On the way from Moab to Canyonlands is Dead Horse Point State Park, offering still more breathtaking and spectacular scenery. Dead Horse Point has its own visitor center, museum, and campground. The name comes from a peninsula of rock towering 2,000 feet above a bend in the Colorado River.
The size and variety of the scenery and terrain in Canyonlands is truly extraordinary. The park is divided into three sections by the Green River and the Colorado River. Each of the three—Island in the Sky, the Needles, and the Maze—offers distinctive geological features.
Canyonlands can be viewed for a few hours by those just passing through, or it can be a multi-day adventure for serious four-wheel aficionados. Either way, visitors will do well to be prepared for the dry, rugged climate.
Arches National Park
Five miles north of Moab is one of the most-photographed areas in the USA: Arches National Park. Over 2,000 arches, big and small, are located within the park. These include Delicate Arch, Landscape Arch, and the Windows. All will look familiar, as they appear on countless calendars and posters, as well as in movies and TV shows. But seeing them in person is incomparable.
Arches is not as expansive as Canyonlands, and there are no overnight accommodations within the park. Even if a few days are required to see it all, though, lodging in nearby Moab is a practical choice.
Moab Information Center
The Moab Information_Center, at the corner of Main and Center streets in Moab, is an interactive introduction to Moab and all it has to offer. Part museum, part gallery, part gift shop, collected articles and essays, the information center is an invaluable resource for visitors to Moab.
At the center, visitors can find out where to dine, and even about Moab’s own microbrewery—a good place to visit after a day in the sun.
For a one-of-a-kind vacation, Moab is in a class by itself.