Moab Utah is to date my favorite place I have traveled to. It is located about four hours south east of Salt Lake City or one amazing drive through the Rockies from Denver. Downtown Moab is a quaint small western town that dates back to 1902 and has ancients Petroglyphs that date back to 1000-1200 AD. The petroglyphs were one of my favorite things about Moab, thanks to the Navajo and Ute tribes. Moab has multiple national parks to visit, making it a great destination to view the natural formation of earth over time.
Where to stay
The most popular way to stay in Moab is to sleep among the stars! Yes, most people in Moab are camping. Weather it is in the middle of Canyon Lands with a car topper or along the Colorado river in a Rv or tent. Most people opt for the great outdoors and who can blame them? With Moab temperatures at times reaching into triple digits, the best time to camp is in the months with cooler temperatures. My trip was for Labor Day weekend and temperatures were reaching over 100 degrees so traveling with a one year old we opted to stay in a hotel about three miles north of downtown Moab and directly across from arches national park. The hotels are not fancy, dated and not many to choose from, but at least the one we stayed at was clean. We chose a Marriott hotel with a large rock slide pool for our daughter to enjoy with all that heat. I recommended doing research to find the place that works for your needs. Also, consider airbnb!
Arches national park
Arches National park is absolutely beautiful. A place I will always find pure love for this planet. It’s journey started millions of years ago forming amazing rock structures and thanks to weather and time, created truly magnificent other worldly wonders. Basically a salt bed that over time with the help of rain, wind, sleet and snow eroding and chipping away, has created these beautiful sandstone arches or “windows in the sky,” as the natives call it. We woke up every morning of our trip at 5 AM and were at the arches watching the sunrise. It was truly heaven On earth. Virtually an untouched region of one of Americas greatest landscapes. There are a bunch of trails ranging from easy to difficult all through the park and my husband found it easy to walk around with our toddler in her hiking backpack although he would tell his version of this trip to family and friends as knowing “what the mars rover feels like.” The park also offers areas to see the ancient petroglyphs near the delicate arch making this location rich in beauty and history.
The window arches was my go to sunrise spot, its like watching the sunrise through an earth window. These are the closest arches to the entrance and have minimal hiking involved. These arches include North window, Turret arch and double arches. When at this location during sunrise you will be welcomed by many other photographers and sightseers taking in all the beauty. Also located in this area are Garden of Eden and Parade of Elephants. Rock formations you wont even believe you are seeing. Truly a must see!
Delicate Arch is the most popular of all the arches. It has many different viewing point but to physically be in its presence it is about a three mile hike and a 500 feet Incline. Making this arch more difficult to get to, it is still viewed by many people from all over the world. When getting to the arch you will be met with hundreds of other people hanging out, taking pictures and just taking in nature. The area around the arch is a huge half circle of slanted rock and should not be done with young children who are not able to be aware of their surroundings. They could easily fall. Thankfully, our daughter never came off of my husbands back. Want your picture taken in the famous arch? You will wait in a long line of people going one by one to take there picture under this famous arch. Also located in this area is wolf ranch, built in the early 1900s and the ancient petroglyphs wall by the Ute Indians.
Devils garden is located at the very end of the park road, 18 Miles from the park entrance. It is a popular spot mainly for its hiking and camping. The hiking is easy to difficult and is where most of the hiking is done in the park. The arches in the area include Landscape arch with easy hiking and double O arch past that with difficult hiking trails. Landscape arch is the longest arch in the world, only beating Kolob arch in Zion by three feet. This was a spot we did not get to do much exploring as it was the hottest part of the day when I visited this spot, making hiking with a toddler impossible.
Canyonlands national park
Canyonlands is just that, a land of canyons, with rivers flowing through. Located 32 miles southwest of Moab it is Utah’s largest national park with over 337,000 acres. The Colorado and Green rivers split the park into three sections. These sections include Island in the sky, The needles, and The maze. You can drive through it and view some of the parks most breathtaking views. It offers camping, hiking and some some amazing ATV trails. It is a very large park and we were unable to do it all in one day.
Island in the sky is a beautiful mesa 1,ooo feet above the surrounding land. It is easy to travel to offering a scenic paved drive for those less inclined for hiking. My favorite view of the trip was the mesa arch. The arch is located on the edge of a cliff with a view as far as the eye can see, with a beautiful view of the Las Sal mountains in the background. This is a popular spot for tourists, photographers and can sometimes draw long lines to have your picture taken in front of the arch. The views made it all worth it. I will be going back for sure.
La sal Moutains
The La Sal mountains are about a two hour drive south of Moab. The range is apart of the Manti-la sal National forest and the southern Rocky Mountains. With an elevation gain of 13,000 feet it is Utah’s second highest mountain range. These mountains offer hiking trials as well as biking trails. They also offer camping with a picture perfect view. We went on a quick hike just outside of this mountain range and got an awesome view of it all. We also drove to the top where again you feel like you can see to forever.
After everything, I would highly recommended Moab, Utah! We have already planned our next trip back and will be accompanied by more family!