9 Best Things to Do in Moab, Utah

An Adventurer's Guide for What to Do in Moab

best things to do in Moab Utah cover photo of a couple sitting on a desert dirt road off Utah 128

The Top 9 Things to Do in Moab

A Guide to Moab's Most Scenic Places to Adventure To

It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyways: Moab is an adventurer’s paradise. There are so many outdoors excursions you can go on, and so many incredible places to soak up the red dirt deserts and epic sunsets. There are tons of amazing things to do in Moab, Utah, so to make things easier as you plan at your Moab itinerary, I’m sharing my absolute favorites.

Disclosure: Part of crafting the ultimate Moab itinerary is finding the best places to stay. As a frequent traveler, I’ve curated a list of epic places to stay in Moab to make your planning process easier. I may make a commission, at no cost to you, if you choose to book through one of the Moab lodging links in this article. I appreciate you supporting small businesses like mine by using these links to book!

Looking for the Best Things to Do in Moab?

There's a Few Important Things to Keep in Mind Before Crafting Your Moab Itinerary

Consider the Seasons in the Desert

The Best Things to Do in Moab Might Not Be So Great in the Dead of Summer

While Moab is certainly busier in the spring and fall (fall is personally my favorite time of year to get out to Moab!), the weather is also a lot more enjoyable in these months.

Winter can certainly be interesting. The air in Moab is very dry, so while it’s cold, it’s not unbearable. Plus, there’s a chance you can catch a magical dusting of snow on the desert if you’re lucky!

Aim for at least a 3-5 Day Moab Itinerary

So You Can Truly Get Out There And See The Best Places Moab Has to Offer

I’d recommend at least giving yourself 3-5 days in your itinerary to do all of the best things in Moab. 

Sure, you can see a glimpse in a quick weekend, but that doesn’t leave much room for side explorations, spontaneous hikes or rafting trips, or any other last-minute adventures you may want to take.

Consider Camping in Moab

Sometimes the Best Way To See Moab is From Your Campsite

If you ask me, one of the best things to do in Moab is camp, assuming you’re visiting in the spring or fall seasons.

You get to experience each Moab sunrise and sunset from camp, can cook your dinners with the most incredible views, and sleep beneath the desert stars. It doesn’t get any better.

If you want my recommendations for best non-camping lodging in Moab, though, I include more info further down in the article!

The Best of the Best

So What Are The Best Things to Do in Moab, Utah?

These are my personal favorite things to do when I get out to Moab. They’re mostly outdoors focused, because let’s be honest, you’re probably drawn to Moab for its epic landscapes. And trust me, this little desert town will not disappoint.

 

1. Dead Horse Point State Park

The Spot With One of the Most Epic Overlooks Moab Has to Offer

couple standing at overlook in Dead Horse Point Moab Utah at sunset

Dead Horse Point State Park is without a doubt tops the list of best things to do in Moab. It’s one of my personal favorites, especially at sunset. It reminds me of Horseshoe Bend in Arizona, except for Dead Horse is honestly so much more epic.

If you have a chance, swing by around sunset to watch an epic Moab sunset, with the Colorado River twisting beneath the overlook. 

Dead Horse Point Moab Utah at sunset

Another reason why Dead Horse is at the top of my list of best things to do is that unlike Canyonlands and Arches National Parks, Dead Horse is dog friendly! 

As someone who loves camping with dogs, this is a must in my book. There’s nothing more exciting than sharing your Moab adventures with your furry bud, so if you’re looking for dog friendly hikes in Moab, definitely check out Dead Horse.

Dead Horse Point Moab Utah cotton candy sunset

Moab Itinerary Pro Tip

Canyonlands National Park’s Island in the Sky visitor center is only a 20 minute drive away from Dead Horse. My recommendation is to see Canyonlands in the afternoon and then spend the sunset at Dead Horse.

2. Canyonlands National Park

The Less Popular (But Honestly A Bit Cooler) of Moab's Two National Parks

canyon views in Canyonlands Island in the Sky - best things to do in Moab

Speaking of Canyonlands…it’s absolutely worth adding to your Moab itinerary. The park has two sections: Island in the Sky and Needles. If you’re looking for epic overlooks, Island in the Sky is going to be your go-to.

While Canyonlands is certainly less busy than Arches, it’s still a pretty popular national park. 

With that said, the best way to get away from the crowds is to start your Moab adventures before dawn. You get empty parking lots and private, epic sunrises that are truly unbeatable.

If you don’t want to get up at sunrise, though, definitely swing by on a weekday.

canyon views in Canyonlands Island in the Sky - best things to do in Moab

My personal favorite spots to visit when in Canyonlands are Grand View Point Overlook, Murphy Point Overlook, and Green River Overlook. 

Unpopular opinion, but I don’t think Mesa Arch is worth the stop. Canyonlands is amazing for its epic canyon views. 

Arches is where I’d go to see arches. Mesa Arch is pretty, don’t get me wrong. But it’s beyond crowded, and I don’t think it’s worth the hype (somebody had to say it!).

Another cool spot to see in Canyonlands is Upheaval Dome. Created some 60 million years ago, it’s this giant, crater in the ground that scientists are still debating on the cause of.

Quick Pause...On the Search for Lodging?

I've Curated a Collection of the Best Places to Stay in Moab

Looking for the Best Hotels?

These are the best hotels in Moab to stay at

If you want to stay at a hotel, the Element Moab is a beautiful, pet-friendly modern hotel option that has laundry on-site and really great common space amenities.

If you’re looking to spend some time poolside, I cannot get over how epic the outdoors pool is at the Marriott Fairfield Inn & Suites and the Marriott SpringHill Suites. I mean, come on, you can’t beat those views!

Looking for a Cabin, Home, or Condo?

I've scoured the web to find the most unique Moab stays

If you want to experience cabin or tiny house living while visiting in Moab, definitely check out either the cabins at Moab Springs Ranch or the modern, colorful tiny homes at Kokopelli West

Another absolute gem is this industrial, modern apartment with a fire pint and hot tub onsite. It’s within walking distance to downtown, which is perfect for grabbing a bite to eat. Plus, it has 3 bedrooms with 5 beds, which is perfect if you’re traveling with a group.

3. Explore Utah 128

Take the Scenic Drive Alongside the Colorado River out of Moab on Utah 128

Moab Utah 128 roadside view

I remember my first time driving Utah 128 and being in complete and total awe of the drive. 

If you thought the national parks in Moab are awesome, you have only scratched the surface. There is so much to do up Utah 128 that any Moab itinerary would be incomplete without the drive.

Some of the absolute best things to do in Moab are up this road. Whether you’re looking to paddle on the Colorado River, enjoy a picnic by the water, go hiking amongst the red desert rocks, or witness an incredible desert sunrise, the options up this Moab road are endless.

4. Visit Castle Valley and Castleton Tower at Sunset

For an Iconic Moab Golden Hour View

Castleton Tower in Castle Valley near Moab Utah at sunset

The itty bitty town of Castle Valley is too far off Utah 128, and right outside of town, you can get iconic views of Castleton Tower. 

There are so many amazing pull-offs on the side of the road where you can watch the sun set at Castleton, or you can opt for a hike to experience the golden hour magic.

Personally, I’m a big believer that the best things to do in Moab typically involve scoping out an epic spot to watch the sun set. Desert sunsets are honestly like nothing else, and spending any Moab sunset indoors is a total waste.

5. Hike Fisher Towers Trail

And Peep The Climbers Making Their Ascent

fisher towers trail hike in Moab Utah

Of all the hikes I’ve done in Moab, Fisher Towers Trail is one of the most memorable. The rock structures on this hiking trail are honestly some of the coolest Moab has to offer.

fisher towers trail hike in Moab Utah

This road to the trailhead is actually right off Utah 128, so definitely add it to your Moab itinerary when you’re exploring that area. As you’re hiking, make sure to look up and see if there are any climbers making their ascent.

6. Arches National Park

Where Moab's Epic Mars-Like Landscape is on Full Display

view of Arches in Moab Utah at sunrise

I know, I know, I just talked about how Canyonlands was cooler than Arches, but let’s not kid ourselves: Arches National Park is a total gem as well. My favorite times to be in Arches are sunrise and at night.

Why? Arches, especially during busy season, has a tendency to completely shut down entry into the park when they’re at capacity, which can happen pretty early in the day. 

Entering the park at sunrise helps with that. Plus, (and I cannot stress this enough!) Arches is stunning in the morning light.

As for night, I absolutely love seeing the star-filled sky in the desert, and there’s something even more magical about doing that with all these grand, epic arches nearby. 

couple exploring Arches at sunrise in Moab Utah

Some classics to see when you’re in Arches include: Double Arch (pictures do not do this one justice, you’ll just have to stand under it to see!), Turret ArchPark AvenueDelicate Arch (this is the arch on the Utah license plate), and Sand Dunes Arch Trail (my personal favorite).

Just as a general rule when in delicate desert environments like Arches NP: please make sure you’re staying on the trail (the cryptobiotic soil is extremely sensitive!). 

Also, don’t be that person that climbs on the arches. I get that it’s tempting, but the only way we can continue exploring these great places is if we all make a point of loving and taking care of them.

7. Explore Moab's Dirt Backroads

So You Can Find Your Own Hidden Gems

dirt backroad in Moab Utah with view of the La Sal mountains in a storm

This is quite possibly my personal favorite thing to do in Moab. And honestly, I’ve found some of my most loved Moab spots from doing this. 

I highly recommend renting an AWD or 4WD vehicle, if you don’t have one, and getting out on those dirt roads (Moab is full of them, since it’s an off-roading paradise!).

best things to do in Moab Utah | spending blue hour down a dirt road
couple exploring a random dirt road in Moab Utah at sunset

Just think of it this way: as a general rule, the harder a spot is to get to, the less people you’ll find. 

There’s a reason Arches and Canyonlands are the most popular places in town. They have paved roads and every person gets a map telling them what’s there.

But, if you’re willing to venture out and do your own exploring, you’re bound to be rewarded with everything Moab has to offer.

8. Stay Out Late and Stargaze

Because Moab's Night Sky is 100% Worth It

couple stargazing in Moab Utah

The night sky in Moab is to die for. Rather than heading back to your hotel when it gets dark, stay out and watch the stars. 

If you’re into astro photography, there’s an awesome app, Photo Pills, that can help you plan for Milky Way photos. Definitely make sure you download it before your trip to Moab.

9. Enjoy the Desert Plant Life

Moab's Plant Life is Absolutely Stunning, Especially in Springtime

blooming pink flower cactus in Moab Utah

If you plan on traveling to Moab during the springtime, pay close attention to the blooming desert plant life. 

The flowers in the desert are on another level. I don’t know if I’ll ever get tired of staring at cacti with colorful flowers budding on them.

Hey there, Moab traveler! Sheena here.

Outdoors enthusiast and advocate. Adventure elopement photographer. Dog mom extraordinaire. Girl who lives for the sounds of dirt beneath her hiking boots.

Sheena is a Colorado-based elopement photographer who believes in being the go-to adventure wedding resource for the couples she works with. Interested in working with Sheena for your elopement? 

Click the button below to schedule your complimentary elopement chat or view the pricing page to see how she can help you bring your dream to life.

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