Skip to content

Moab, Utah

Moab is the outdoor mecca with Target Travel. The funky town of Moab is in the southeast corner of Utah and would normally be reached from either Salt Lake City heading almost straight south. Alternatively as the turnaround point when driving from Las Vegas in the west, with many memorable and extraordinary places to see on the way. Whichever way you get there, Moab the outdoor mecca with Target Travel would probably be the highlight of your trip to the west.

As you will gather, Moab is dedicated to the big outdoors with two spectacular National Parks on the edge of town and many other adrenaline-fuelled activities on offer. This is the area where Roddy Doyle’s movie 127 Hours was based. I would suggest at least 3 full days here, ideally 4, but you can also easily pack out a month’s worth of activities. It’s worth noting that Moab is baking hot in midsummer. Thankfully this is a really nice base, with a good selection of restaurants, bars, funky craft shops, and plenty of tourist tat too, it has a nice safe vibe.
Across the Colorado River (which later becomes the Grand Canyon) that borders the north of the town, is the entrance to Arches National Park. This needs a minimum of three and a half hours, but longer to really do it justice. A road loops you around the park with arms that take you out to distinctive outcrops of rocky arches. A famous and well-photographed arch requires a not especially hard half-hour hike from its car park, so bank on spending some time out of the car. As with most US National Parks, located from the car parks are various trails and hikes to take with differing durations to choose from. The geology here is spectacular and vast in scale. If time is tight and with an early start you can combine it with the north section of Canyonlands NP, but if time is on your side give it the full day, take a picnic, lots of water, and a big hat.

Another day head north again and across the river, but turn west (left) after Arches and head towards Canyonlands National Park. This park is unusual as it’s cut into three distinct areas with the confluence of the Green and Colorado Rivers. You cannot move between each part of the park without many hours of driving in and out of the park, which is especially true of the very isolated southeast section. On the way into the northern section, it is worth diverting initially into the First Nation’s land for Dead Horse Point State Park, then continuing on into the Canyonlands National Park itself, for Island in the sky at 8000ft and Grand View point which is often used in the state’s media to illustrate natural Utah. The scenery is mind-blowing. The next section ‘southeast corner’ will need you to return through the town and head south then west to Needles Overlook, this is well worth the trip, the almost 360-degree views are some of the most memorable I’ve ever seen. The last western section of the park is half a day’s drive and is not accessible without an overnight, but you can add it to an itinerary when heading into or out of Moab via the west should you wish. Personally, I feel there are enough other things to see.

White Water Rafting and kayaking are very popular from Moab, with many outfits offering trips. One of the best excursions I’ve ever done was here. A dawn pickup and a drive out to the desert along one of the disused uranium mining roads. We were then given a mountain bike and backpack, containing a ‘pack raft’ about the size of a rolled-up sleeping bag and lots of bottles of water. As the sun came up we rode along gravel roads until we reached a huge canyon and wound our way down to the river way below. After a mile or two we unpacked and blew up the rafts, removed the bike front wheels, and mounted them on our individual rafts. Apart from a stop for lunch the next six hours we gently paddled and floated downstream. What a day to remember coming through the gorges.
Other options in Moab are guided canyoning trips, exploring, and repelling into slot canyons. On the town’s south side is a huge rocky area, that 4x4s and mountain bikes can traverse. If using pedal power then be aware it’s hard stuff and broken bones are more likely than grazes when crashing. Hummer rides, Jeep safaris and guided convoys of self-driven ATVs are on offer, lots of fun even if you’re not a petrolhead. I took an evening Hummer Ride and really enjoyed seeing this unusual area.

From Las Vegas, you have to route either north or south of the Grand Canyon. North is Zion, Bryce, and Capital Reef National Parks, with a possible detour to Grand Canyon’s more quiet north rim. A southern route includes the main Grand Canyon visitors centre, parts of the historic Route 66, and Monument Valley. As an alternative, the shorter (4½ hrs) routing to/from Salt Lake City has nothing like the attractions en route, but as a three-hour side-trip from Salt Lake City, there is the possibility of heading out to the Bonneville Salt Flats, before flying home, well worth a visit for many petrolheads.

Moab is a must-see destination, please call us if you fancy experiencing Moab the outdoor mecca with Target Travel, and want a hand placing this within your bigger trip.


Arches National Park

Dead Horse Point State Park

Canyonlands National Park

Needles Overlook

To add HOT LINK, Supplementary pages- AB blog MOAB 2015 and Canyonlands with Iain Sep 17