Updated: Nov 20, 2021
Few destinations like Moab exist. And even though Moab itself is incredible, it’s not just the city that makes it such an awesome area. Within 30 minutes of Moab, you can explore Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, and Dead Horse Point State Park. If you want to venture just a bit further, Goblin Valley State park is 1.5 hours away and Capital Reef National Park is a little over 2 hours away.
Our Top 5 includes stops that are in that 30 minute range of Moab. First up, Canyonlands National Park:
1. Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park
Like many of the incredible arches in and around Moab, Mesa Arch is an easy .7 mile hike. The arch itself is not massive, but the backdrop for the arch is what makes it so amazing.
Moab includes tons of opportunities to leave the beaten path, but one of the best ways to do so is with a Jeep or UTV. We explored Shafer Trail and other roads around Moab in a Jeep from Cliffhanger Jeep Rentals and loved every minute of it.
We love our van, but it just isn’t meant for off-roading (without some seriously expensive upgrades) so renting a vehicle is a great option for us.
Off-roading is like hiking on steroids. You can go places with amazing views and yet cover 10 times as much ground and see 10 times as many views with an off-roading vehicle.
3. Dead Horse Point State Park
At first glance, a State Park may not seem like something worth your time, but Dead Horse Point State Park is not just any State Park. If you are into mountain biking, there are some must-do trails in the area. We even saw t-shirts for those who completed the trails. I don’t know much about hiking or mountain biking, but if they have a t-shirt for it, you go for it.
If mountain biking or hiking isn’t your thing. Or if plummeting down a bumpy trail on two wheels with a 3 year old in tow doesn’t seem like a good idea (which would be the case for us), the views alone are worth the stop.
The main view at the point of Dead Horse Point State Park is the money shot. You can see mesas, a bend with water surrounding it, roads, trails, and the views just go on and on. One of the most spectacular views we’ve seen yet in our opinion.
4. Landscape Arch, Arches National Park
There is no shortage of sandstone arches in and around Moab but if you want to visit the Mecca of Arches in the world, you head to Arches National Park. Arches NP has the largest concentration of natural sandstone arches in the world.
The great thing about Arches NP is some arches are a quick stop on the side of the road, some require hiking, and some even require ranger-led tours.
Landscape Arch requires a 2 mile hike on level terrain, but is well worth the hour or so it takes to see the arch. Landscape arch is the longest arch in Arches National Park spanning almost the length of a football field. Parts of the arch are so thin it makes you wonder when or if the arch will even be present for the next generation. If you want to see this arch before it’s gone, it’s a must-do stop in Arches National Park.
5. Delicate Arch, Arches National Park
Last but not least (these aren’t in any particular order so this one is definitely not least), is Delicate Arch. I’m sure you’ve seen this arch on the Utah license plate or any number of other arches.
Delicate Arch is one of the most beautiful arches we’ve seen to date, but she makes you work for it. Which to me was a good thing because even with heat in the 90’s, a three mile hike, and half of the hike at an incline the trail was still packed. I couldn’t imagine how cramped the trail would have been if the arch was a leisurely half mile hike down a flat path.
If you have a few days, you can probably fit in all 5. But if you have the time, Moab is worth way more time than a few days. We’ve only scratched the surface of this breathtaking area of Utah. What are some of your favorite Moab spots? Or if you haven’t made it to Moab yet, are there places you know you would like to check out besides the ones mentioned?
Oh, and bonus favorite thing to do in Moab would be boondocking. You can reserve spots at a private campground for $60 a night, but if the weather is not extreme and you are okay without hookups, there are tons of places to boondock with incredible views that cost $0 a night!