There are tons of things to do in Moab – an outdoor dreamland. This quirky hippie town is home to two Utah national parks, a small-town main street area with eclectic local shops, and plenty of hiking, biking, and off-roading trails.
I find myself going back to Moab every year, as do most travelers who visit the red rock town.
I’ve listed 35 of my top Moab activities in this complete guide, most of which are centered around Southwestern desert excursions. You can also check out my guide to where to stay in Moab, if you need accommodation.
Table of Contents
- 35 Best Things to Do in Moab
- Arches National Park
- Canyonlands National Park
- La Sal Mountains
- Colorado River
- Slickrock Bike Trail
- Moab Giants Dinosaur Park
- Rock Climbing
- Hole N” the Rock
- Moab Garage Co.
- Sand Flats Recreation Area
- Dead Horse Point State Park
- River Rafting
- Goblin Valley State Park
- Klondike Bluffs Trail
- Green River
- Fisher Towers Trail
- Moab Museum
- Faux Falls
- Gravel Pit Lanes
- Newspaper Rock State Historical Monument
- Moab Brewery
- Castle Valley
- Horseshoe Canyon
- Main Street
- Back of Beyond Books
- Island in the Sky
- Moab Rock Shop
- Mill Creek Hike
- Food Truck Park
- Farmers Market
- Birthing Scene Petroglyph
- Ken’s Lake
- Hell’s Revenge
- FAQs About Best Things to Do in Moab
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35 Best Things to Do in Moab
Arches National Park
Try to find as many of the 2,000 naturally-forming arches in this national park as you can.
One of my personal favorite things to do in Moab, Arches National Park captures the hearts of most desert enthusiasts. The sandstone park is known for its naturally-forming stone arches, numbering in the thousands.
The most popular destination in Arches National Park is the 3-mile round trip Delicate Arch Trail. This hike brings Arches visitors to the most photographed point in the whole park, if not all of Utah, the towering Delicate Arch.
Be on the lookout for wildlife while hiking in the park. I’ve personally seen a bobcat, bighorn sheep, and snakes in Arches National Park.
Canyonlands National Park
Drive to an overlook of deep gorge valleys carved out by the Colorado River.
Follow Potash Road on a dirt adventure to reach Canyonlands National Park. This Utah national park is more under the radar than the other Utah “Big Five” parks but is one of the most scenic.
I recommend mountain biking or driving to White Rim Road, a desert sight that is sure to blow you away. This backcountry adventure is not for the faint of heart but offers hidden lookouts of acres upon acres of prime desert scenery, from gaping gorges to proud-standing plateaus, and the roaring Colorado River below.
La Sal Mountains
Escape hot Moab heat with a trek to nearly 13,000 feet in this mountain range just outside of town.
Most travelers venture to Moab for the red desert landscape without experiencing the beauty of the La Sal Mountains. Only a few miles south outside of town, the cool air of the high-elevation La Sal Mountains provides a much-needed release from hot desert temperatures.
Compliment your Moab visit with a drive down the La Sal Loop Road, hiking to nearly 3,000 feet, or simply enjoying a picnic in the La Sal Mountains.
Spend some time lounging around the lazy river near Arches National Park.
Hanging out on the Colorado River is one of the best things to do in Moab, especially in the summertime when the weather is more than fine. The iconic Southwest river carves its way through mesas and plateaus along Potash Road near the Canyonlands entrance, creating some of the most beautiful features in Moab.
Enjoy a picnic on the Colorado River, paddle board, go for a dip, or bring your inflatable kayak for a fun Southwestern experience. If you’re not too keen on swimming, I recommend visiting this breathtaking section of the Colorado in the winter when there are no crowds and layers of snow strikingly contrast the desert hues.
Slickrock Bike Trail
Don’t let nerves get the best of you as your mountain bike straddles the edge of a slick rock trail.
One of the most beautiful bike trails in America, the Slickrock Bike Trail is a mountain biking dream. With some nerve and a lot of balance, you too can enjoy riding on exposed slickrock in the heart of the canyonlands.
If you prefer a more mellow riding experience, the Moab Canyon Pathway is the trail for you. This easy ride begins on Highway 28 just north of town, passes through the Arches National Park entrance, and spits riders out on the main street.
👉 Pro Tip: Don’t forget to stay hydrated when biking in the desert!
Hold on tight as you rappel down ever-narrowing sandstone walls.
Canyoneering in Moab, Utah is hard to beat anywhere else in the U.S. With some experience or a hired guide service, canyoneering invites adventurous travelers to squeeze through some of the tightest slots in the desert.
You may be familiar with the Moab sport from the major motion picture, 127 hours, where a Utahian finds himself between a rock and a hard place while stuck in a strenuous slot.
If you choose to go canyoneering without a guide, be sure to have all the necessary equipment and be up-to-date with current weather conditions to avoid a surprise summer monsoon.
👉 Read Next: Fun Things to Do in Utah
Moab Giants Dinosaur Park
Journey through time on a dinosaur-laden trail in the Utah desert.
This prehistoric place takes visitors on a journey through time. Wander along the Dinosaur Trail amid 100 life-size giants and their presumed footprints. The Moab Giants Dinosaur Park is within walking distance from the Seven Mile RV Park and the Gemini Bridges Campground, making it the perfect day excursion to visit with children.
Don’t forget to check out the virtual aquarium or snag a coffee at the park cafe before you go!
Experience nature up close and personal by gripping onto crimp holds.
The outdoor adventures are endless in Moab! While canyoneering and mountain biking takes the cake for the most popular activities in the area, there are also plenty of cool rock climbing spots around town.
Arches National Park is one of the most frequented rock climbing spots due to the sheer number of routes and boulders available. Most routes are on Entrada sandstone and it’s advised to approach climbs via washes to avoid stepping on cryptobiotic soil.
Bouldering and top rope are the most popular rock climbing styles in Arches but lead and “trad” climbing can be attempted with fragile sandstone caution.
Hole N” the Rock
Tour a famous historic house carved out in the middle of a giant boulder.
You’ve most likely encountered this hard-to-miss gigantic boulder museum on the outskirts of Moab. As one of the most unique things to do in Moab, you must visit this dynamited-out museum for pure curiosity alone.
The enormous boulder museum was once home to a Moab miner and his wife. Their perfectly-preserved historic artifacts can be viewed at the unusual site today.
Put your fitness to the test with a multi-day desert hiking excursion.
Disappear for a few days into the desert wilderness of Moab. Canyonlands National Park is one of the best places to go backpacking in Moab, with trails ranging from a few miles to hundreds of thru-hiking miles.
Shafer Trail and White Rim OHV Road is a 47.1-mile backpacking adventure in the heart of Canyonlands National Park. It takes daring adventurers through some of the best desert scenery in the area. Be sure to snag a backcountry wilderness permit from the Canyonlands National Park Visitor Center before you embark on your overnight trip.
📚 Related Reading: Best Hikes in California
Moab Garage Co.
Get caffeinated at this local coffee shop before exploring the Moab backcountry.
One of my favorite coffee shops in Moab, Moab Garage Co. supplies groggy customers with premium espresso. This local, small-town cafe is one of the best things to do in Moab on a rainy day with a good book.
I recommend pairing your Spanish latte with the delicious breakfast huevos rancheros for the perfect start to your Moab morning. Moab Garage Co. rests right on Main Street, next to locally-made handicrafts and the only bookstore in town. Once you’re caffeinated, spend the rest of the morning supporting other local Moab establishments.
Sand Flats Recreation Area
Take your 4WD vehicle off-roading just outside of downtown Moab.
This huge protected wilderness area is one of the best things to do in Moab for off-roading and mountain biking. Explore dunes all day under the sun before you relax at the Sand Flats Campground, beautifully backdropped by the snow-capped La Sal Mountains.
This is one of the best places to stay in Moab for stargazing and escaping weekend city crowds. If you’re lucky or find yourself camping under a full moon, you may just bear witness to coyote howls, a desert commodity. Don’t forget to pack the camping essentials!
Dead Horse Point State Park
Enjoy backcountry camping away from national park crowds.
This state park offers an insane overlook of the Colorado River and the nearby Canyonlands National Park. Explore the high desert woodland trails or catch a desert sunset in the state park, over huge, river-carved cliffs.
This is the perfect place to set up a home base for exploring Moab during the week. The park is one of the quietest wilderness places in the area and is sure to give you a remote feeling of serene isolation.
Rush down Colorado River rapids just outside of Moab.
Hold on tight as you crest roaring rapids on the Colorado River. If you crave adrenaline, then white water rafting in Moab is the ideal activity for you.
Besides flying down a crazy river, white water rafting is also one of the best ways to develop a personal relationship with nature. The steep gorge walls keep out the noisy surrounding environment, making floating down the river one of the calmest experiences you can have in the wilderness.
Goblin Valley State Park
Hike among hundreds of hoodoos in this miniature version of Bryce Canyon.
A Bryce Canyon of the southeast, Goblin Valley State Park boasts hundreds of whimsical hoodoo rock formations, an unusual geologic statue found in few other U.S. states.
This mars-like landscape is one of the coolest places to camp in Utah. Bring your motorhome, tent, or rent a glamping yurt to sleep under the stars in the land of the geologic goblins.
Klondike Bluffs Trail
Bike safely on mountain-biking-only trails.
The Klondike Bluffs Trail is one of the top spots for mountain biking in Moab. Bicycle-only singletrack routes keep bikers safe from ATV and Jeep accidents in the backcountry, one of the biggest draws of the trail.
Keep your eyes out for dinosaur footprints along the way and be careful riding the slick rock sections of the trail, as the Entrada sandstone has broken away in the past.
🛎️ Need a Hotel? Under Canvas Moab is one of the closest accommodations to this mountain biking trail.
Enjoy sun-bathing solitude on a lesser-known Utah river.
Enjoy self-meditation on this lesser-known Moab river. Fed by trickling snow melt from the Wind River Mountains of Wyoming, the water makes a 730-mile journey downstream across state borders to end up in its resting place-the Green River of the Utah Canyonlands.
Multi-day canoe and rafting trips are available from guide services in town or you can experience complete isolation on the banks of the vast river.
Fisher Towers Trail
Hike with your four-legged friend in the Southwestern desert.
This 4.2-mile Moab trail is a great way to experience the backcountry of the Colorado Plateau. During the winter, snow rests almost perfectly atop hoodoos and other fanciful rock formations, a true desert winter wonderland.
Dogs are allowed on this trail if they are kept on a leash but there is a ladder section 1.5 miles into the hike. Unless you can carry your dog up this small section, it’s advisable to leave the dogs at home for this one.
👉 Pro Tip: Be cautious of muddy conditions after a recent storm. You may even need microspikes if attempting this trail in the winter.
Learn more about the features and people that shaped Moab culture.
Explore the rich geology, archaeology, and paleontology of Moab at the Moab Museum. This cultural and natural history museum is the best way to understand the natural wonders surrounding the eastern Utah landscape.
There are exhibits on the first people in the area, settlers, pioneers, movement and migration, and more! This community-intensive museum also hosts various events like Lyrical Letters, CFI Archaeology Service Day, and postcard printing workshops.
Go for a refreshing summer dip at the base of this man-made waterfall.
Be sure to bring your hiking boots because exploring trails is one of the top things to do in Moab. The Faux Falls waterfall hike is a fun hike year-round, although you may want to refrain from swimming in the winter months unless you’re a fan of cold plunging.
Rest assured, the waterfall and its swimming hole are real but its man-made status deemed it fake by some, giving Faux Falls its name. A very short hike brings travelers to the refreshing watering hole, an incredibly popular destination in the summer when 100-degree temps are normal. Don’t forget the hiking essentials!
Gravel Pit Lanes
Strike luck at Moab’s sole bowling alley.
Get to know local Moabians at the Gravel Pit Lanes bowling alley. Located away from the tourist crowds on Mill Creek Dr., spend your evening at the bar, hitting high notes on karaoke night, trying your luck at arcade games, or striking out on the bowling lanes.
This is the best place to visit in Moab for solo travelers who are looking to make local friends, as most locals hang out with friends here throughout the week.
Newspaper Rock State Historical Monument
Hike to one of the biggest collections of petroglyphs in the Southwest.
This Utah state monument features a rock panel with one of the largest collections of petroglyphs in the Southwest. The Newspaper Rock State Historical Monument is a part of the Bears Ears National Monument and pays tribute to the culturally-rich history of the desert state.
The hundreds of rock art depictions are some of the best preserved in Utah, and well worth the day trip from downtown Moab.
Meet friendly Moab locals at the bar of this main street brewery.
Another great place to break the ice with Moab locals, the Moab Brewery is located on the east side of town and offers a full food menu along with signature craft beers.
I recommend the house recipe pretzel and the jalapeño beer fries to go with your Moab brew for the perfect evening snack or after-dinner meal.
Enjoy peace and relaxation at this less-visited nature area.
Castle Valley Road provides drivers with breathtaking views of red mountains, spires, and other desert scenery just outside of Moab. Visit Castle Rock Peak Tower just 20 miles north of town for a relaxing day among the natural desert beauty.
There are a few short hiking trails in this area but most visitors come to Castle Valley to escape busy weekend crowds and let the dogs run free.
Photograph some of the most popular Utah petroglyphs.
Tour amazing North American rock art with a hike through Horseshoe Canyon in Canyonlands National Park. Life-sized depictions take form on the sandstone walls of Horseshoe Canyon, the most notable being a 7-mile hike to The Great Gallery.
Two-wheel-drive vehicles can access Horseshoe Canyon from the west, but along a 30-mile dirt road. Don’t bring your Porsche unless you’re prepared to get it detailed after the adventure.
👉 Pro Tip: Pets aren’t allowed on the trails and groups over 20 individuals are prohibited.
Shop locally from Moab’s eclectic selection of stores lining Main Street.
There’s no better way to get to know a new town than exploring its downtown area. Moab Main Street contains most tour agencies, vintage shops, restaurants, and quirky rock shops.
This is the perfect place to get a Southwestern souvenir or an afternoon pick-me-up while surrounded by red rock giants.
Back of Beyond Books
Browse around a selection of natural history books at this bookstore that has the original desk of Moab author Edward Abbey.
Supporting small mom-and-pop shops is the best way to get to know the Moab community. The Back of Beyond Books bookstore is a small but mighty literary reserve with books “specializing in natural history and regional titles of the Colorado Plateau.”
I picked up a Frida Kahlo postcard book and The Anthropology of Turquoise book at Back of Beyond Books and was surprised at the wide selection of the tiny bookstore.
Island in the Sky
One of the most photographed sites in Canyonlands NP.
One of the coolest viewpoints in Canyonlands National Park, the Island in the Sky mesa is perched on a 1,000-foot cliff and is the perfect place to witness a pristine desert sunset.
This is one of the best sites to visit in Canyonlands if you’re on a time crunch due to its close proximity to the park entrance. Roads lead into the backcountry from Island in the Sky, making this spot a great starting point for your Canyonlands adventure.
Moab Rock Shop
Purchase natural souvenirs at this outdoorsy rock shop.
This is your one-stop shop for all things rocks. The Moab Rock Shop has an impressive selection of petrified wood, gems, fossils, and other cool natural knick-knacks.
Most products at the rock shop are sourced locally, found right in Moab’s backyard. Located right on Main Street, it’s hard to miss this eclectic shop.
Mill Creek Hike
Hike through red rock canyons and sand to get to a natural Moab waterfall.
One of my favorite hikes in Utah, the Mill Creek hike is an underrated natural oasis. Multiple river crossings and a sandy trail lead to the refreshing water hole pictured above.
I recommend hiking this trail in the non-summer months to avoid heat exhaustion unless you bring a big water bottle and a sun hat. With the proper gear, the Mill Creek hike is one of the most popular, refreshing hangout spots during a hot Moab summer.
Food Truck Park
Dine casually at this courtyard food truck ensemble.
Skip restaurant wait times by eating at the Moab Food Truck Park. This casual dining option showcases local Moab flavors with local chefs and is a great place to make friends on the weekends.
Choose from panini, hot dog, Chinese, ice cream, pizza, and taco trucks to satisfy your appetite after a long day exploring the Moab wilderness. The large, communal picnic seating area invites visitors to take their time and stay a while.
Meet friendly local farmers and artisans at the Thursday night market.
📍 Google Maps | Phone: (435) 259-5602 | Hours: 5 pm-8 pm Thursdays | Entrance: Free
Shop locally at the weekly Thursday night farmers market in downtown Moab. This market supports local artists and farms and frequently hosts special events like live music.
The height of the Moab growing season is summer-fall, so don’t be too disappointed if you don’t find a large selection of produce in the winter months. For more, see my guide to seasons in Moab.
Birthing Scene Petroglyph
Hike to an unusual rock art depiction.
One of the most popular petroglyphs in Moab, the Birthing Scene glyph can be accessed via the Tunnel Arch Trailhead. Not to be confused with a pictograph, a photo painted on the surface of the rock, petroglyphs are depictions that have been carved into the rock and preserved far better than ancient paint.
The Birthing Scene rock is covered on all 4 sides of graphic glyphs, which (you guessed it) depicts an ancient natural birth.
Relax lakeside under the desert sun or go for a refreshing swim.
Ken’s Lake is a man-made reservoir that’s off the beaten path hidden in the red rocks just outside of Moab. Enjoy lakeside lounging with views of the distant La Sal Mountains and red rock Moab Rim.
The lake is located above 5,000 feet and can freeze over in the winter months. Visit in the summer to fully experience the best lakefront activities like fishing, swimming, and kayaking.
📚 Related Reading: Best Arizona Lakes
Saddle up for a rough and rowdy off-road adventure.
Hell’s Revenge is the ultimate 4×4 trail in Moab. The trail is only 6.5 miles but the hazardous terrain makes it a Jeep owner’s favorite off-road trail in Moab. Access to this wild road is just past the Sand Flats Recreation Area.
The trail is marked with signs and there is a 15 MPH speed limit, although even that is tricky to do on the steep terrain. Check out a local Moab tour to take you on Hell’s Revenge if your vehicle isn’t 4WD.
FAQs About Best Things to Do in Moab
What are the best things to do in Moab with kids?
How do I spend three days in Moab?
What are the top Moab attractions?
Why is Moab so famous?
Moab is famous for being an outdoor mecca. The town is a popular base for exploring national parks, mountain biking, and river rafting.
Thanks for reading my complete guide on things to do in Moab – one of the coolest places in Utah!
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