Utah is known for its gorgeous red rocks, and some of the top National and State Parks in the U.S. There is so much to see and do, that you can spend months exploring this state. If you’ve only got a short time to spend in Utah, this trip packs in some spectacular scenery, all within two hours of Moab. Here are 7 must-see places in and around Moab, Utah.
1. Goblin Valley State Park, UT
Located in Green River, UT, a little under 2 hours from Moab, lies Goblin Valley State Park. This park seems to be generally uncrowded, and is a fun little stop, especially with kids. There are about 6 miles of hiking trails within the Park, averaging about 1.5 miles each. If your time is more limited, drive straight to the Valley of Goblins, which is equipped with a large parking area, bathroom facilities, and a large covered picnic pavilion. From here you take the steps down into the Valley. You can spend as much or little time as you want wandering through the goblin shaped hoodoos. Goblin Valley is a designated night sky park, so if you can camp here overnight, viewing of the Milky Way is supposed to be impressive!
2. Little Wild Horse Canyon (Slot-Canyon)
The good news is that this second stop is located only a few miles from Goblin Valley State Park. In fact, you will find the turn off to this trail inside the State Park. As you approach the pay booth of Goblin Valley, keep an eye for a sign on the right side of the road to turn off for Little Wild Horse Canyon. This slot canyon is located in the San Rafael Swell, and is an 8 mile, moderately strenuous loop. The impressive slot canyon can be seen almost immediately, just follow the Wild Horse sign at the fork. (Be aware that flash flooding does happen, so check the weather updates before entering.) Boulder climbing and scrambling begins almost immediately past the sign.
3. Canyonlands National Park
Moab is the perfect base for a trip to Canyonlands National Park. There are four separate districts to this Park, each quite a distance from each other. The closest to Moab, and most popular, is the Island in the Sky District. I recommend arriving early to avoid entry lines into the Park. Many people go at sunrise and sunset to view the stunning Mesa Arch, only a 0.5 mile hike with a knock-out view. You can spend all day hiking here, but don’t miss Mesa Arch and Grand View Point, both easy hikes. Other short, but easy hikes include Upheaval Dome and Elephant Rock.
4. Dead Horse Point State Park
On the way back to Moab from Canyonlands, is Dead Horse Point State Park. Much smaller by comparison, there are beautiful views here as well, and lots of opportunity for hiking and biking. You can hike most of the rim here, but we found the trail very difficult to follow. Nonetheless, it’s worth a visit.
5. Bike the Colorado River
One of the activities that we enjoyed while in Moab was biking along the Colorado River. There are a plethora of options for mountain biking all over the Moab area. But, if you are looking for a leisurely, paved trail, park at the Lions Club Park, along US 191 and UT128. Here you can take the path over the bridge, and then North towards Arches National Park. We took the path along UT128, adjacent to the river, and rode until the paved area ended and joined with the Highway. This section was beautiful, and relatively flat, which was perfect for us to enjoy the red rocks and cool breeze.
6. Gemini Bridges Off-Roading Trail
If you are looking for a great trail for dirt biking, a jeep ride, or ATVing, Gemini Bridges is extremely popular. We drove our ATV’s along the 13.5 mile trail. We shared the road with lots of other vehicles. We parked and took the short trek out to see the twin bridges, located about 1/2 way along the trial. The trail was quite bumpy, but the views made it all worth it!
7. Arches National Park
The last and most popular, must-see attraction in Moab is Arches National Park. One day will only touch the surface of this gorgeous National Park. My favorite thing about Arches is that there are many short, easy walks and hikes that allow you to view plenty of arches throughout the day. One of the most popular trails is the hike to Delicate Arch, a 3 mile, strenuous, uphill hike. It’s worth the view at the top, but be wary of the wind! On the way down, a quick loop detour takes you to some awesome petroglyphs. Balanced Rock, Landscape Arch, and the Windows are all great, easy hikes as well.
So, there you have it. The 7 Must-See Places In and Near Moab, Utah!