National Parks And More On Adventures In Moab Utah

National Parks Adventures In Moab Utah.jpg

Discover Great Adventures in Moab Utah

After our visit to Salt Lake City, we headed to discover some great adventures in Moab. We knew it would be a great base to explore several of the Utah National Parks – Arches, Canyonlands and Capitol Reef. But we were delighted when we found more great state parks too.

One night we headed out for an off-road jeep adventure. We drove along the Colorado River. And spent some time in town. But there was many other things we missed on this visit to Moab.

Heading To Moab In Utah

We enjoyed a couple of great days in Salt Lake City as we drove along the Mt Nebo Scenic Loop and then visited Park City for the fall colours. But when we headed out early in the morning, we left behind a dark sky. The wonderful warm temperatures we had experienced plummeted. And there was even a threat of snow.

We were happy to be headed south in Utah. As we drove out of the clouds, we even caught sight of our last view of fall colours.

Mt Nebo Loop Utah.jpg

We turned off Interstate 15 and headed east on Hwy 6. It was not long before we saw fascinating rock structures. Steep rocks reminded us of flat iron buildings. Rocks towered over houses and fields.

Salt Lake City to Moab Drive.jpg

Salt Lake City to Moab Drive.jpg

As we passed Helper and approached the Price Canyon, we were fascinated with the rough rock tops with cascading bottoms that looked like slumped sand. We saw these interesting rock structures again when we drove along the Scenic Byway 24 and visited Capitol Reef National Park. We wanted to see these rocks up close, so we left the highway at Price and drove through a neighbourhood built right under the rocks.

Price Canyon - Salt Lake City to Moab Drive.jpg

Price Canyon - Salt Lake City to Moab Drive.jpg

Price Canyon - Salt Lake City to Moab Drive.jpg

The drive south from Salt Lake City provided so many stunning rock sights.

Stopping At Crescent Junction

Just before we made our turn south on Hwy 191, we saw a rest stop high on a plateau. The Crescent Junction Rest Stop was a great spot to take a rest. And get the most amazing view out over the landscape we travelled.

Crescent Junction - Salt Lake City to Moab Drive.jpg

Crescent Junction - Salt Lake City to Moab Drive.jpg

Crescent Junction - Salt Lake City to Moab Drive.jpg

The map in the visitor centre provided an overview of the area we explored during our adventures in Moab. It made us excited to finish our driving day.

As we drove down Hwy 191, we passed the exit to we used to visit Dead Horse State Park and Canyonlands National Park. The flat plains slowly rose as we got closer to Moab. At one point, we saw the most interesting rock face with a green coloured cascading bottom. Just before we arrived in Moab, we passed the gate for the Arches National Park which we visited the next day.

Blue Rocks - Salt Lake City to Moab Drive.jpg

Moab Town Sign - Salt Lake City to Moab Drive.jpg

When we finished our visit in Moab, we backtracked up Hwy 191 to Interstate 70. The next stop on our visit to Utah was a drive along Scenic Drive 24 to visit Goblins State Park and Capitol Reef.

Settling Into Moab

On our travels around Utah to visit the National Parks, we stayed at local Marriott properties. Most days we were out for long hours so we did not need a luxury retreat. And these properties were great with a rental car since there were no parking fees.

In Moab we stayed at the Springhill Suites. The hotel was located close to the rock faces around Arches National Park. And our room had a great view.

Moab Hotel Springhill Suites Marriott View - National Parks Adventures In Moab Utah.jpg

The hotel had two pools and several outdoor hot tubs. It was great to get back to the hotel after a long day. And just relax into the hot water. A great base for our adventures in Moab.

So much to see and do from Moab ….

1) Drive Along The Colorado River

Right behind our hotel was the Columbia before it curved around towards Moab. There were walking paths along the river, with a pedestrian bridge close to where we stayed. We planned to do the walk at sunrise. But our adventures in Moab kept us too busy.

 Colorado Riverway Bridge.jpg

But the day we arrived in Moab, we did take a drive along the Colorado Riverway. Bike paths ran on the water side of the roadway and we saw a lot of people on the paths. There were several pullouts that provided views down along the Colorado River.

 Colorado Riverway View.jpg

 Colorado Riverway View - National Parks Adventures In Moab Utah.jpg

The rock faces on either side of the roadway showed an interesting variety. We even saw several climbers as they scaled the rocks.

 Colorado Riverway Rocks - National Parks Adventures In Moab Utah.jpg

 Colorado Riverway Rocks - National Parks Adventures In Moab Utah.jpg

 Colorado Riverway Rock Climbers.jpg

We kept looking for a roadway that might take us up on the rocks for a panoramic view down over the Colorado River. But we turned back before we found one. We later saw a gondola ride off of Hwy 161 that could take us to the top. Just another of the adventures in Moab to plan.

 Colorado Riverway Gondola.jpg

2) Have Fun On An Off Road Adventure

We originally wanted to the off-road drive along the Schafer Trail in Canyonlands National Park. And we did not want to use our rental car. When we looked at jeep rentals, we were quickly convinced that an off-road jeep adventure in Moab with Twisted Jeeps would be far more exciting. Little did we know that we would be driving up and down rock faces in our jeep.

Twisted Jeeps Off-Road Jeep Tour - National Parks Adventures In Moab Utah.jpg

It was one of the most fun adventures in Moab. But not for the weak at heart. The jeep travelled along the tops of narrow rocks before plunging down the face. The path led us out towards several great viewpoints.

Twisted Jeeps Off-Road Jeep Tour - National Parks Adventures In Moab Utah.jpg

Twisted Jeeps Off-Road Jeep Tour.jpg

The sun set and we watched the sky turn dark. A perfect way to end our off-road jeep adventures in Moab.

3) Explore Arches National Park

On our first day in Moab, we visited Arches National Park. It was the closest park to the town. And was worth at least a day to explore.

We drove through the park and saw a wide array of interesting rock structures. Rock walls, statues and towers intrigued us. The Fiery Furnace stretched for miles.

Courthouse - Arches - National Parks Adventures In Moab Utah.jpg

There were so many great sites to see the arches. We hiked along the pathways to see the Windows, Skyline and Delicate Arches.

Windows Arches - National Parks Adventures In Moab Utah.jpg

Delicate Arch - Arches National Parks Adventures In Moab Utah.jpg

On our first National Park day trip we visited Arches National Park and got a taste of how amazing the Utah National Parks were.

4) Take A Day Trip To Canyonlands National Park

We did another day trip and explored Canyonlands National Park. This was a very different park than Aches. The scenic drive took us along the top of the canyon. Our viewpoint stops gave us views of stunning vistas over large tears in the canyons.

Canyonlands Buck Canyon Overlook - National Parks Adventures In Moab Utah.jpg

Canyonlands Grand View Overlook - National Parks Adventures In Moab Utah.jpg

On other stops we saw the twisting canyons carved by the Green and Colorado Rivers.

Canyonlands National Parks Green River Overlook.jpg

On a day trip from Moab we visited Canyonland National Park and viewed the variety in the Utah National Parks.

5) Head To The Scenic Byway 24 For Capitol Reef National Park

On our travel day from Moab, we enjoyed the drive along the Scenic Byway 24 and explored Capitol Reef National Park. There was so much to see along the way.

Scenic Byway 24 Roadway.jpg

The scenic drive into Capitol Reef National Park provided a great view of the uplifted rocks of the Waterpocket Fold. When we took the off-road path into Capitol Gorge, the narrow dirt lane provided yet more fascinating views.

Capitol Reef Grand Wash - National Parks Adventures In Moab Utah.jpg

Capitol Gorge Capitol Reef National Parks.jpg

Our adventures in Moab continued when we headed off and visited the Capitol Reef National Park.

6) Visit The Utah State Parks – Dead Horse and Goblins Valley

When we planned our visit to the Utah National Parks, we did not really look into the state parks. But on our visit to Salt Lake City, we explored our first Utah state park as we drove the Mt Nebo Scenic Loop to look at the fall colours. On a second day trip, we drove through other states parks and visited Park City for the fall colours.

Mt Nebo Loop Utah Fall Colours.jpg

On our day trip to see Canyonlands National Park, we started with amazing views out over the canyons at Dead Horse State Park.

Dead Horse State Park Colorado Overlook - Adventures In Moab Utah.jpg

The first stop we made on our drive along Scenic Byway 24, was to see the fun and whimsical Goblins Valley National Park.

Goblin Valley State Park - Adventures In Moab Utah.jpg

For our adventures in Moab, we planned to see the National Parks. When we visited Dead Horse and Goblins Valley State Parks, we were delighted with these additions to our plan.

7) Other Things To Do In Moab, Utah

We wandered in town most days in search of food. Sometimes we picked up food at the grocery store for a picnic. And sometimes we enjoyed the local restaurants and brew pubs.

One day we were delighted to find some interesting street art in the main part of town.

Moab Town Statue 2002 Olympic Winter torch.jpg

Moab Town Statue American Eagle.jpg

The main street of Moab was littered with tour companies that offered a wide range of adventures in Moab. Some were tours of the parks close to Moab. Others were jeep adventures tamer or wilder than our off-road jeep adventure. We could have explored the area by hot air balloon or helicopter. But we left our helicopter adventure for our tour over the Sedona Valley. Or we could have headed to the waterways. We saw the more southerly part of these waters on a boat trip through Navajo Canyon in Page, Arizona.

We found a little something for everyone in Moab.

Moab Is A Great Spot For Fun Adventures

We found so many great adventure in Moab. There were several great Utah National Parks in this quadrant of Utah – Arches, Canyonlands and Capitol Reef. And we were delighted to discover several awesome state parks too.

We did the short hikes from the viewpoints when we visited the parks. But there were so many different hiking options for serious hikers. One day for each park was great for an overview. But if we wanted to do days of hiking, we would need much more than 4 days in Moab.

There was much to explore around the town of Moab. And so many great tours to book. We were so glad we did the off-road jeep tour at sunset.

We visited Moab for 4 days. Every day was filled from early morning to late night. And we did not try all the adventures in Moab. There were many reasons to plan a return visit to further explore Utah and Arizona.

Did you find some great adventures in Moab? Did you find something that was not on our list?

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  1. I’m really fascinated with how there’s such a variation in the coloured rocks, particularly the emerald green rock face. My hubby would absolutely love to do the off road 4×4 experience! I’d be pretty keen for the hot tub each arvo back at the accommodation. What a fantastic road trip/ adventure holiday.

  2. I can totally understand why the off-road jeep ride is not for the faint hearts. Once I looked at the picture of the blue jeep totally tilted, I was thinking “is that really happening or is it showcased”. Truly it looks like an ultimate road adventure. I really like the variations in the landscape in Moab, Utah. I am enjoying reading about your road trips.

  3. Do u know , even we have a place called saltlake in India (Kolkata ) ? Haha ..thought I will mention here . I can totally imagine how would it be to drive through the canyons and those lovely rock cuts ..and there are so many national parks I didn’t l know about ..Yes to do fun activity i feel 4×4 is a must to get through any rough terrain in Moab. Also , I found one place you mentioned about the hotel stay , would like to know if there were plenty of hotels around to hault ?

    • Debjani, There were a number of hotels in Moab, both big brands and smaller local hotels. It is the big base in this part of the state so lots of places to stay. And so many things to see and do from Moab. Linda

  4. Never had dreamt that USA has these many National parks and that too full of wonderful sand like rocks. The landscape,colorful rocks, and emerald green colors all I need is road trip to UTAH someday. The driving here by 4*4 sounds great and this looks adventurous holiday!

  5. Utah is one of my favorite states. I’ve been there several times, but I still feel that I want to back. I love Moab, it is a charming town, and it is an excellent base for exploring the area, especially Arches, Canyonlands and Capitol Reef. I would like to take a jeep tour adventure next time.

  6. After reading your blog, and imagining of visiting this place I think having a rental car (like those 4×4 wheel car) will be great to use for this long drive. My boyfriend will love this experience, coz he is used to long driving and dry lands of Australia. Is this place also covered by snow during winter?

    • Blair, We rented an SUV for our trip around Utah because we knew we would be heading off road. Many of the parks had road I would not have wanted to drive my car on. But for our 4×4 adventure, I was glad we had a jeep built specially to take the kind of abuse it took on our drive. We would not have taken our rental car there. Linda

  7. Utah has some of the most beautiful National Parks i’ve seen. I haven’t made it yet to Moab, Canyonlands, or the state parks – but i’ve heard great things about them, I’m planning my next road trip for that area. I saw Zion, Bryce, Grand Canyon, Antelope etc.. in the lower part of the state. My partner hasn’t seen any of Utah yet though. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Looks like quite an adventurous roadtrip, ticking off Canyonlands, Arches and Capitol Reef National Park in one go. All these national parks, are so unique in themselves, despite being in the same region. A 4×4 offroading adventure is something i would totally love to do.

    • Arnav, We really loved Moab as a base. We easily could have stayed for a week and enjoyed the parks more. And done a few more adventures. Hope you get there one day to try the off-road jeep adventure. It was a ball! Linda

  9. I would love to do some hiking in this amazing landscape and I hear more and more about this state as the place to do it in. How fun the off-roading must have been. I would never have thought of this area being great for fall foliage, what a beautiful backdrop to the red rock it would be.

  10. I feel like I’ve been hearing so much about Moab and Utah lately – maybe I’m just late to the game! But, after reading this post I couldn’t be more convinced that I want to add it to to our list for when we do a family road trip hopefully next summer. The nature is just unreal. I’ve never seen this part of my own country, I can’t wait to explore and get so cool photos of the rock formations! The one that looks like the Flat Iron building in Manhattan is amazing!

    • Stephanie, I think lots of people are re-visiting their travel wish lists for domestic travel. And Utah and Moab definitely are not that list for many people. Hope you get to visit. Linda

  11. Oh dear! Your post has just given us SO MUCH wanderlust!! We both love road trips through national parks in the US. Back in 2013, we also went to Utah but not to Moab though. So, Arches NP is now on top of our list!

    • Mei and Kerstin, I am glad this post provided a bit of wanderlust! I hope you get to visit Moab. It is a great spot to use as a base for National Parks and more. Linda

  12. What a beautiful landscape that I can see of Dead Horse and Goblins valley The towering structures and the red look of the canyons are just amazing.Beautiful place truly to get lost in.

  13. Utah is such a crazy beautiful state!! Every mile you go, the landscape completely changes. I love all the rock formations. I haven’t visited Canyonlands or any of the state parks yet but they are on my list!

  14. Being retired works so well for you Linda! I can hardly wait to get to retirement, although I’m not sure my husband will ever agree to retire, lol! I enjoy a lot your posts about the National Parks in Utah. We have friends who live there and every time I read one of your posts I find myself making plans to go visit these places. The Moab seems to have a very varied landscape, with lots of vegetation and water. Quite a place to visit!

    • Anda, Given the slowdown in travel we are facing for some time, we are definitely happy we chose to retire early. We saw so many great things in the past few years. We were certainly happy we had the time to spend a month travelling in Utah and Arizona last fall. Linda

  15. Fall colors are just exquisite, especially in total wilderness like this! Never ending roads in the middle of nowhere at Cresent Junction is just wow! Love the rock formations at Dead Horse and Goblins Valley. Now I have no clue which region to finalize on, when I plan my USA trip.

    • Bhushavali, Every drive we did in Utah provided us with great scenery. But it did take a long time as we stopped at all the interesting spots along the way. Linda

  16. This looks so dreamy and I think once we can all explore again, most people will start with local travels including visiting more National Parks. You perfectly described the National Parks in Utah and it looks like an adventure perfect for the families. I can’t decide which one would be my favourite to see first but The Arches National Park, The Dead Horse and Capitol Reef National Park are strong contenders.

    • I agree that people will be looking to visit the National Parks when we can travel again. There are so many great ones. And Moab was a great stop to use as a base. Then you can see them all! Linda

  17. The sight of fall colors when you drove towards south in Utah is truly amazing. I love Fall colors and would love this charming drive. Near Price Canyon the rough rock tops with cascading bottoms really looks fascinating. The sight of Fiery Furnace at Arches National Park really looks splendid and I can understand this sight can be caught from miles. Thanks for wonderful itinerary and when everything gets well, I would soon plan for it.

  18. ahh i was looking into utah the other day. this is just another reminder as to how much i want to visit! stunning post 😀 i cant wait to go and explore here! iemexploring xx

  19. I’ve been denied a US tourist visa three times already so I have not had the chance to visit. The US is full of outdoor adventures and if I am granted a visa one day, I will definitely include Utah! Road trips seem to be fitting – what’s the normal rental car cost average/range?

    • Trisha, I sure hope you get a visa and can visit some of the great outdoor spots in the U.S. Utah is a great spot to visit. There are car rental rates quite low. But be prepared for other costs like insurance and extras like GPS or toll transponders. Linda

  20. You are so right — Moab is a great base for visiting several national parks. We did the same thing — and really loved how close we were to so much. We didn’t rent any ATVs, but people riding on them looked as though that was the way to go. Maybe next time!

  21. Took a trip to Moab this fall and loved it! One point of clarification, though – the gondola you picture and mention is non- functioning and never opened for service. One of the many tidbits I learned on my trip!

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