Moab: the Outdoor Paradise of Rock and Sun

Moab - the Outdoor Paradise of Rock and Sun 1 - Corona_ArchCorona Arch, Moab, Utah

What more surprising place to find paradise than in the middle of the desert? That’s what you’ll find in Utah’s little oasis, Moab. The iconic landscape is a nature-lover’s playground, with stunning red rock formations, austere desert vistas and far horizons that extend into infinity. But the thing that keeps people flocking to Moab from all over the world is the wealth of outdoor recreation and extreme sports that has concentrated itself here in the desert.

You’re in for a few hours of driving unless you take a direct flight to Moab’s small airport, but the drive is a scenic treat in and of itself, winding you through a land of bright red rock and sand, with towering cliffs and eerie rock formations (the setting of many blockbuster films) that seem like they’re from another planet. Moab is a small town. You’ll find comfortable hotels and award-winning restaurants here, but it’s not the accommodations that people are looking for in the city; luxury is not the prime directive of this destination.

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Hiking and Mountain Biking


Trekking or biking your way through the area’s hundreds of miles of trails is a good way to see a lot of what Moab has to offer. Arches and Canyonlands National Parks are just a short drive from the city. One or two good hikes, say to Delicate Arch, Corona Arch or Elephant Canyon, can take up the bulk of your day. Hikes vary in length and difficulty, so be sure to plan accordingly.

Don’t make the rookie mistake of forgetting to take food and water with you. Dehydration is a common problem for hikers and bikers, and the dry air can deceive you into thinking you aren’t sweating as much as you actually are. There are water refill stations placed strategically at certain trail heads, but there are no real gift shops selling snacks inside the parks. And efforts to manage waste in the park have led to a ban on disposable plastic water-bottles, so you won’t be able to buy them inside the parks. Bring your own refillable bottle and you should be fine.


Whitewater Rafting


Moab is situated right along the Colorado River, which has some of the most sought-after stretches of white water rapids in the country. Rapids are rated for difficulty, and you will need an experienced guide to take you on the river. Kayaking and canoeing is also very popular in many stretches of this long waterway, which winds across southern Utah and into Lake Powell.

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Rock Climbing and BASE Jumping


Adrenaline-addicts have found their Mecca in the high-elevation and cracked landscape of the Southwest, and Moab is right in the center of it all. The entire Colorado Plateau is rich with amazing places for climbers to test their skills. Popular routes can be found in Indian Creek, just a short drive from Moab, as well as Big Bend and even approved routes within Arches National Park (though, climbing on arches themselves is strictly prohibited).

BASE jumping is also legal in numerous locations in the surrounding area. Tombstone, Torch and Amasa Back are just a few of the prime locations in this landscape of broken rock and towering cliff-faces. Experienced jumpers will find plenty of opportunity year-round.

On your first trip to Moab, it becomes startlingly clear that you’ve only dipped your toe into what this amazing part of the world has to offer. The natural beauty of this rocky paradise is unlike anything else you’ve ever seen. And whether you extend your explorations west, to Zions and Bryce Canyon, or you plumb the depths of the unforgettable Grand Canyon, you’ll dream of these otherworldly places until you have a chance to come back, ride the trails and climb the ancient stones to stand close to the sun.


Author bio: Kate Mitchell is an extreme sports enthusiast who loves the outdoors. When she does come inside, she blogs for with travel tips and spotlights on amazing travel destinations worldwide.

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