Adventure Guide: 24 Hours in Moab, Utah

Adventure Guide: 24 Hours in Moab, Utah

Adventure Guide: 24 Hours in Moab, Utah

Have you been dreaming of exploring the sandstone magic of Moab, Utah? This little town is the gateway to two amazing National Parks, an eclectic art scene, and, if you’re willing to get off the beaten path, plenty of solitude. 

The beauty of Moab, Utah is no secret. With both Arches and Canyonlands National Parks just minutes outside of city limits, Moab is well-known as an adventure destination. But truly experiencing all it has to offer is a different story. Join us for an insider look at how to get the most out of 24 hours in Moab, UT.

24 Hours in Moab, Utah

Watch the sunrise over the La Sal Mountains

The endless sandstone walls and towers of Moab get all the glory, but the true magic comes when you get a peak at the snow capped mountains in the distance. The La Sal mountain range isn’t far from Moab, but it looks like another dimension. These striking peaks hold snow almost year-round. And, they provide water for the entire Moab area. 

To catch a sunrise that captures both the mountains and the desert, head to Arches National Park. Not only is sunrise the perfect time to see the landscape glow, getting into Arches early means that you’ll be able to experience it without the crowds. We love the Balanced Rock and Owl Rock area for a great sunrise experience.

sunrise in Moab, Utah

Grab Breakfast and Coffee at Moab Garage Co.

Desert mornings can be colder than you expect, so once you’ve gotten your fill of the colorful sunrise, head into the heart of Moab to warm up with some local food. Moab Garage Co. is located right on Main Street in a re-designed auto garage space. They offer locally roasted coffee, freshly baked sweet treats, and an amazing breakfast spread. You can’t go wrong with their smothered burrito, or indulge in one of their enticing waffle combinations. Whatever you choose, you’ll quickly be filled up and ready for more exploring.

Sample the Local Art Scene in Downtown Moab

In a place this beautiful, the art reflects it! Southwest Utah is home to many talented artists, and you can find their work on display in several shops on the main street. First, check out Moab Made (which just so happens to be right next to Moab Garage Co.). This eclectic store has something for everyone, and every item you find is made by an artesian who is local to the Moab area. From one-of-a-kind jewelry to show-stopping artwork, you’re sure to find something you love.

Drive the La Sal Loop

It might not be in a National Park, but the La Sal Loop is one of the best ways to see the landscapes of Moab in a short time. From Moab, you’ll drive next to the Colorado River with towering walls surrounding you, and then end up at Castle Valley. Take a well-worth stop to admire Castleton Tower. This impressive monolith is one of the most famous towers in Southwest Utah (and there was even a car commercial once shot on its large summit). From there, you’ll get up-close and personal with the La Sal Mountains, and experience a great view of the expansive canyons surrounding you.

Indulge in a classic American treat at Milt's Stop ‘N Eat

It might not look like much when you pull up, put this small burger and shake joint is home to the best lunch in Moab. With an impressive number of shake flavors and combinations, little ones and adults alike will leave with a smile on their face.  In the summer, be prepared to wait for your meal. In the cooler seasons, enjoy quicker service. Either way, hang out on their outdoor patio and take a moment to look at the scenery encompassing the town. 

Take a Hike in Canyonlands National Park

Two National Parks in one day might sound crazy, but Moab is the place to do it! Head down to Canyonlands for an afternoon hike, and you won’t be disappointed. Stop by the visitor center to learn about the Indigenous tribes who first called Canyonlands home, and then ask a ranger what hike they suggest for your group, then hit the trail. No matter what season it is, remember to bring plenty of water! The desert heat can quickly dehydrate you, and you won’t find much shade in this expansive National Park.

Watch the Night Sky at Dead Horse Point State Park

Even when the sun sets, the adventure doesn’t need to stop! Make one more stop to end your day in Moab. During the day, Dead Horse Point State Park provides an impressive view of Canyonlands. At night, the best views are found looking up. With some of the darkest skies around, this desert landscape will quickly be dotted with enough stars to impress anyone.

There’s a lot to see and do in Moab, Utah! No matter where you head in the unique corner of the west, keep these three things in mind:

Mind the Soil and Rocks

In desert areas like Moab, the soil is extremely fragile. An essential part of the desert landscape is crypto soil, which is a black crust-like topping that you’ll see frequently. Crypto soil takes thousands of years to grow, but it’s destroyed on impact. Keep the desert beautiful by staying on trail and keeping any pets on leash while you’re in Moab.

Another fragile part of the desert is the rock itself. While sandstone towers and walls may look strong, they are easily damaged. Don’t climb or scramble on wet sandstone, and never carve or scrape designs into sandstone.

wearing the best Colorado sweatshirt in Moab, Utah

Be Respectful of Indigenous Culture

The Moab area is home to many Native American tribes who have called the land home for thousands of years. While you’re exploring, take some time to learn about the Indigenous people who first roamed here. And if you come across ancient dwellings or petroglyphs, admire them from a distance, then leave them as they were found.

Bring More Than You Think You Need

No matter that time of year you visit Moab, you’ll likely experience a wide range of temperatures and weather. Mornings and nights in Moab are surprisingly cold, so bring warm layers (even in summer!). During the day, pack a refillable water bottle, and make sure you drink from it frequently.

Have you been to Moab, Utah? If so, tell us your favorite spot to explore in the comments below!

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