Best Time to Visit Moab (Exactly When to Go in 2023)
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The best time to visit Moab is typically from late spring-early fall when the weather is the most agreeable. The summer months can also be a pleasant time to visit Moab, as there are frequent community events and most downtown establishments are back up and running.
I’m a Southwestern gal, and I know from experience that Moab, Utah is enjoyable year-round, as long as you don’t mind a little snow. Of course, when to visit this small Southwestern town depends on which of Moab’s epic things to do you plan on experiencing.
If your main prerogative is to enjoy the Colorado Plateau scenery without crowds, then winter is the perfect time to visit. Early fall is the best time to explore the quirky town and its nearby outdoor activities.
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When is the Best Time to Visit Moab
The non-summer months are the ideal time to explore Moab. This is when the weather isn’t excruciatingly hot, hotel prices are most affordable, and heavy summer crowds haven’t yet flocked to the sandstone oasis. However, because summer is the peak tourist season in Moab, it has more special events and most trails and monuments are open for business.
The best time to visit Moab fluctuates depending on the traveler. If you’re wondering when to visit for navigating the top national parks in Utah, off-roading, sightseeing, or hiking, then read along as I break down the best time to visit Moab depending on such important factors.
When to Visit Moab for Good Weather
As the famous saying goes, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad gear.” While that may be good and plenty true, having pleasant and dry weather certainly doesn’t hurt. The best time to visit Moab for good weather is in the late spring or late fall.
Late spring may still experience arbitrary storms but temperatures are no longer below freezing and rock climbing becomes more bearable. The almost-perfect weather of late fall makes it my personal favorite time to visit Moab and top Utah hot springs in surrounding areas. Average day temperatures can still experience up to 90 degrees but the nights cool down to pleasant desert evenings.
The summer brings the driest weather, potential monsoons, and severe desert heat. This is the best time to visit Moab’s water sources like the Colorado and Green Rivers, Ken’s Lake, and the Mill Creek waterfall, but these sometimes aren’t even refreshing in bouts of extreme heat.
When to Visit Moab for Affordable Prices
Winter is by far the best time to visit Moab for affordable prices. The hotels and tours are often half-price at this time, making it a good time to visit for travelers trying to save a buck or two.
Some campsites may even be discounted or free during the winter months, given roads are free of snow and ice. Because daytime temperatures typically average below freezing in the winter months in Moab, most visitors stay away at this time.
Moab is a completely different town in the winter. A town with a booming summer tourist industry, Moab streets are far emptier in the winter, and some establishments even close shop during the colder months. Prices in town are greatly discounted to make up for the absence of tourists around this time.
When to Visit Moab for Families and Kids
Families with kids should visit Moab in the late fall and early summer months when most community events are in full swing and cool Utah hiking trails are free of snow and ice.
The best hiking trails and activities for kids near Moab are the Mill Creek waterfall hike, Moab Giants Dinosaur Park, a white water rafting excursion down the Colorado River, the Hells Revenge off-road trail, and the Delicate Arch hike in Arches National Park.
Hiking in the La Sal Mountains just outside of town or viewing an extraterrestrial-like landscape in Canyonlands National Park are other popular activities to do with kids in Moab.
When to Visit Moab to Avoid Crowds
Big crowds can taint new travel experiences, especially in small towns or in outdoor spaces that are meant to serve peaceful, primitive purposes. Heavy crowds and intense heat make desert activities impossible, or near impossible, in the summer, so visit during the other off-season months for a crowd-free Moab adventure.
I recommend visiting Moab during the winter months if you prefer your vacation to be without crowds. You are likely to only encounter locals on the trails and very few other tourists in your hostel or hotel. This is my favorite time to visit for a more intimate experience with nature.
Some of the hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and rock climbing approach routes may be inaccessible due to snow at this time, but your Moab vacation will be more wholesome and stress-free.
When to Visit Moab for Hiking
The best time to visit Moab for hiking is in the late summer and fall months. Summer may be an okay time for hiking in Moab if you get an early morning start.
This also happens to be the peak season in Moab, so keep in mind that trails may be more crowded than expected at this time. Outdoor recreation is one of Moab’s top activities, and even more popular when hiking under the colors of fall foliage.
Visitors can enjoy hiking during any month in Moab, but the late summer and fall months are the most popular time for this top Utah activity.
When to Visit Moab for Rock Climbing
Rock climbing is one of the best things to do in Utah. The best time to visit Moab for epic rock climbing adventures is during the dry summer months. Because the Moab desert can be painfully hot at this time, I highly suggest getting an early morning start so you don’t fry all day under the hot desert sun.
There is a higher risk of possibly contracting sun sickness at this time, so I suggest rock climbing in the early winter, so long as the crags are dry enough to grab.
There are rock climbing routes for novice climbers and experts alike in Moab, from bouldering to the top rope and lead climbing. Don’t forget to bring your climbing shoes, a crash pad, a harness, and some chalk on your trip to the red sandstone state.
Moab Travel Seasons
Fall in Moab
🔬 Moab Festival of Science – Enjoy free science events like Marvel at the Night Sky and the Utah Raptor Talk & Walk each October in Moab. This is one of the best things to do in Moab for travelers with kids.
🥁 Red Canyon Pow Wow – Be a part of this large Utah Indigenous celebration with tribes from all over the U.S. and Canada. Drumming, dancing, singing, and food are among some of the event’s top attractions.
🪕 Moab Folk Festival – Music sounds better when echoed off of red rock walls. Folk, Americana, roots, and world music enthusiasts flock to this event at the Moab City Ballpark, typically held each November.
Winter in Moab
🌟 Electric Light Parade – Ring at the start of the holiday season at Moab’s Electric Light Parade. Enjoy some hot cocoa on Main Street as you watch a festive Christmas light parade among Moab local families.
❄️ Winter Solstice Celebration – Moab is one of the top places in Utah to view astronomical events. Put your creative skills to the test and bring your own homemade sundial to the Winter Solstice Celebration in Moab every December 21st. Earn a sundial competition prize or simply attend the event to welcome the turn of the season with Moab locals.
Spring in Moab
🌸 Wildflower Bloom – Wildflower blooms are so much better when contrasted against a harsh desert environment. Moab is one of my favorite places to witness such an explosion of color as lupine, lilies, primrose, and other such flowers awake in quantity each spring in the Moab Utah desert.
🎨 Moab Arts Festival – Late Spring not only brings spectacular wildflower blooms but also an eclectic mix of artistic talents on display at the Moab Arts Festival. Enjoy fine art, pottery, jewelry, woodwork, sculpture, jewelry, photography, and more!
Summer in Moab
🎙️ Moab Free Concert Series – Enjoy sweet local music under an open summer sky at Swanny City Park each August in Moab. This is one of the best free events to explore on an idyl summer night either with the family, with new friends, or solo.
🚴♀️ Moab Century Tour – Cycle through some of the most beautiful territory Moab has to offer on this 2-day cycling tour held each September. Cycle through the beautiful La Sal Mountains, along the Colorado River, and among giant sandstone canyon walls.
🎵 Moab Music Festival – Summer is the best time to visit Utah for fun community events. Experience world-renowned jazz and world music artists performing their craft either in the midst of echoing red rock canyons or cruising down the Colorado River canoe-style.
Moab Weather and Climate
Moab teeters on the edge of a semi-arid-to-arid desert environment. It’s typical to encounter a proper four seasons in Moab, including hot summers and chilly winters. Travelers should also expect precipitation year-round, with heavier downpours in the winter and spring months.
Tips for Visiting Moab
Bring Your Own Vehicle
There’s so much to explore in Moab, you’ll want the access and freedom of having your own vehicle. This way, you can explore Canyonlands National Park, the La Sal Mountains, the nearby Capitol Reef National Park, and so many more nature-dense places without limitation.
Discover Cars is my go-to car rental company in Utah, I recommend renting a 4WD truck so you can explore the backcountry.
Don’t Forget Your Hiking Gear
Hiking is one of the top desert activities in Moab, followed closely by mountain biking. You’ll seriously regret a trip to Moab without hiking boots, a large-capacity water bladder, hiking poles, a sun hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses.
Always Carry Enough Water
Moab frequently experiences scorching summer temperatures and hiking rescues are commonplace at this time due to dehydration. Be sure to carry enough water with you as you explore the desert state, during any season under the hot sun.
Hangout at Local Spots
Hanging out at local spots is the best way to meet Moab locals, especially if you’re traveling alone. I suggest visiting the multiple bars around town or the Moab Brewery, as well as the Gravel Pit Lanes bowling alley.
Ditch the Hotel & Try Camping
Camping is the more popular option in Moab. With so many surrounding public and private campsites and state and national parks, you’ll regret not bringing the camping essentials. You can also find several glamping options around town like Under Canvas Moab.
FAQs About the Best Time to Visit Moab
What is the best month to visit Moab?
What is the best month to visit Arches National Park?
Does Moab have an off-season?
Winter is typically Moab’s off-season. November-February experiences far fewer crowds and offers a slower pace of travel.
What is the hottest month in Moab?
Late July is the hottest month in Moab. The average temperatures at this time surpass 90 degrees, with lows in the 70s.
You’re ready to start exploring Moab! I hope you found this best time to visit Moab guide helpful for your upcoming Utah trip. Be sure to also give our where to stay in Moab guide a read before you set sail.
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