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Why Moab, Utah, Lures Adventurous Souls

The Ultimate for Active Vacationers & Dramatic Scenery Lovers


Rafting on the Colorado River during a trip to Moab

Rafting on the Colorado River during a trip to Moab

© 2012 Dick Friedland
How many places have you visited where motels have bicycle washing and repair stations? That alone can give you a sense of the mental set for Moab, Utah, where locals and visitors take advantage of the available outdoors adventures, sometimes to extremes, and the beautiful red-rock settings.

Canyoneering & Hiking

In Moab canyoneering takes hiking to a whole new level. You'll learn why when you are strapped into a harness and rappelling a hundred feet down to the canyon floor below.

Moab has great hiking trails with varying levels of difficulty, but I enjoy canyoneering for that added adrenalin rush.

Rafting and Kayaking on the Colorado River

Depending upon the time of year a raft trip down the Colorado River can be a wild ride or a float trip. Early season provides the best opportunity for excitement, but later in the summer you can enjoy floating downstream in your life vest. In either case the scenery is just spectacular.

Mountain Biking & Dirt Biking on Slickrock

From high-speed single tracking to technical riding and technical maneuvering, from easy riding to leg burning exertion, Moab has it all. A favorite activity around here is riding the slickrock bike trail on a mountain bike or a dirt bike. For those who prefer road biking, the new Canyon Pathway provides the opportunity to ride to different parks without going on the highway.

Here's a helmet cam video of mountain biking the Porcupine Rim Trail in Moab.

Riding Hummers & ATVs on Slickrock

Riding a Hummer, ATV or other 4-wheel drive vehicle on the slickrock gives you an adrenaline rush and new perspective on 4-wheeling. My husband and I have gone 4-wheeling in our truck in the back country, but I never realized what it's like to climb steep, smooth, rock trails until I tried it in Moab. The view from the top looking down to the Colorado River is breathtaking.

Explore the National Parks Surrounding Moab

A visit to the parks around Moab should be on everyone's bucket list. Arches is one of our favorite parks because the red, colorful stone bridges are a photographer's dream. You'll find some easy hikes to the arches, too.

The views and perspectives in Canyonlands make you feel very small. If you go, don't miss the overlooks on the Island in the Sky mesa. The park was formed through the eons by the Colorado River and some of its tributaries. There's plenty of hiking and camping in the canyons and alongside the steep-edged buttes in the park's remote areas.

Where to View Rock Art

You can see many native rock art (petroglyphs and pictographs) sites around Moab. They were left by prehistoric nomads, the Anasazi and the Utes. Some are easy to access; others require hikes of varying difficulty.

If you like to view rock art, here are rock art sites elsewhere in Utah and around the world.

In some cases the meanings are obscure, and in others the art has obvious astronomical meaning. It's always fun to try and place yourself in the mind of the artist who created the artwork so many years ago.

Moab in the Wintertime

Moab and the surround national parks do get some snow in the winter and adventures continue all year around. You won't find any great downhill ski areas, but there's lots of great cross country skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling in the La Sal mountains.

Links to Visiting Moab for Adventures

Moab has many good guides and adventure service providers. We worked with the Moab Adventure Center, which is a good one-stop source for planning activities in Moab. The company vets and sub-contracts certain adventures to specialists, such as Moab Cliffs and Canyons, our guides for canyoneering.

The official tourism site, Discover Moab has detailed information about hiking, mountain biking, rock art sites and much more.

As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with complimentary services for review purposes. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our Ethics Policy.

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