15 Insanely Cool Things to Do in Moab Outdoors

Looking for things to do in Moab? You’ve come to the right place! The Moab area has something for everyone, from hiking and biking trails to thrilling river adventures. So, whether you’re a seasoned outdoors person or a beginner just looking to get out and enjoy nature, read on for some of the best outdoor activities Moab has to offer. You won’t be disappointed!

We used to live close to Moab (in Grand Junction) and want to share all the best things to do to help you plan an awesome trip!

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Cave Spring in the Needles District

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Why Plan a Trip to Moab, Utah

People from all over the world come to see Moab’s natural wonders making it the perfect retreat for a vacation or holiday. Seriously epic outdoor adventures of all kinds are available, including sightseeing National Parks, hiking red rock trails, desert camping, stargazing, mountain biking on slick rock, whitewater rafting, skydiving, and exploring off-road 4×4 adventures. The list goes on!

So get pumped. You’re in for a treat!

Sitting in a valley surrounded by the La Sal Mountains, red rock, and canyon country, this intermountain high desert town is packed full of outdoor adventures. Since public lands and National Parks surround Moab, it offers outdoor recreation galore.

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Hiking in Canyonlands Needles District

15 Things to Do in Moab for Epic Outdoor Adventures

1. Arches National Park

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Landscape Arch

Visiting Arches National Park makes for a great day trip. Be sure to stop at all the pull-offs and parking areas to hike and see all of the arches.

If you’d like to hike to Delicate Arch, it takes about 2.5 hours and is 3 miles round-trip. Check out our guide for how to spend the perfect day exploring the park, here.

Read more about hikes in Arches National Park to plan your day trip.

Don’t forget to purchase the annual National Park Pass. It will save you money!

2. Canyonlands National Park

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Canyonlands National Park overlook

Canyonlands National Park is a must-see natural wonder of the world. Spend an afternoon driving the main paved park road through the Island in the Sky District. Below is the map we use to hike all the best trails.

If you have more time in the area and want to see all that Canyonlands offers, spend time camping and hiking in the Needles District or Maze District.

Find more hike, here, on the National Park website.

3. Hiking Near Moab

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Hiking in Canyonlands

Moab is surrounded by public lands and National Parks, making it a paradise for hiking.

Explore the Maze District and Needles District of Canyonlands to surround yourself with red rock, slick rock, canyons, and ancient wall art.

One of our favorite day hikes is hiking to Druid Arch in the Needles.

The maps below will show you all the trailheads and places to camp in the Maze District and Needles District. Below are the maps we use for all the best backcountry hikes!

List of Our Favorite Hikes in the Moab Area

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Hiking in Horseshoe Canyon

Canyonlands National Park:

  • Druid Arch
  • Horseshoe Canyon Hike to the Great Gallery
  • Cave Spring
  • Mesa Arch
  • White Rim Overlook

Arches National Park:

  • Delicate Arch
  • Landscape Arch

☀️ Please practice Leave No Trace and stay on designated trails.

4. Dead Horse Point State Park

Dead Horse Point State Park is an excellent place to camp and explore. Pair Dead Horse Point with a Canyonlands day trip (Island in the Sky).

Since you access Dead Horse Point State Park and the popular tourist area of Canyonlands National Park off UT-313, pairing these two parks makes for a great day trip adventure.

Be sure to get photos of the Colorado River at the famous Dead Horse Point! It is said to be one of the most photographed places in the world.

5. Mountain Biking

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Slick rock in Utah

Are you interested in mountain biking on Moab’s famous slick rock?

Rent mountain bikes and set up a guided tour. Or bring your own bike for some of the best mountain biking in the world. There are trails for every level of rider.

One of my personal favorite trails to mountain bike is the Klondike Bluff’s Trail. There is slick rock, but most important, dinosaur footprints!

Klondike Bluffs Trail is an intermediate mountain biking trail.

6. Camping in the Moab Area

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Camping near Moab

One of the best parts about camping in the high desert is that it cools off at night.

Below are great camping options to check out on while you are exploring the Moab area:

One of our favorite areas to camp is along the Colorado River off UT-128. You’ll find camping and picnic areas along the Colorado River.

You might also enjoy learning how to camp for free on BLM Land!

7. Stargazing

In addition, Moab and the surrounding area have incredible stargazing.

Since Moab is a smaller town, there are no other extensive areas or populations causing light pollution, making this area prime for watching the stars at night. Don’t miss out. How many shooting stars can you count?

8. Stand-up Paddle Boarding the Colorado River

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SUP Colorado River

Another one of our personal favorite things to do along the Colorado River near Moab is stand-up paddle boarding (SUP).

You can float the section along UT-128 and ‘take out’ at the boat launch ramp just after Sorel River Ranch.

Be sure always to wear a personal floatation device. It is required for sections with rapids (whitewater).

Bring your own SUP and gear or rent gear. There are a few guiding outfits to choose from with a Google search.

Check out this article by Hala on safety tips for whitewater SUP.

We have Badfish SUPs along with Werner paddles (gear below).

Shop SUP Gear!

Badfish SUP

Werner SUP Paddle

NRS SUP Leash

9. Whitewater Rafting

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Floating the Colorado River near Moab

Moab has many rafting guiding outfits to take you whitewater rafting down Cataract Canyon. Definitely put whitewater rafting high on your life bucket list!

There is nothing better than rafting through Utah canyon country.

Seriously. You have to do this!

10. Off-Highway Vehicles (OHV) and Jeeping

Moab is famous for off-highway vehicle (OHV) adventures and Jeeping due to the surrounding area’s public lands. Moab hosts world-class 4×4 conventions. You can rent Jeeps and 4×4 rigs or use your own! Just be sure to OHV responsibly.

11. Skydiving

If you feeling super adventurous…

Moab has a small airport and has a reasonably large skydiving scene.

If you’re up for it, check out this extreme sport idea. We have never actually been, but lots of people put skydiving on their adventure bucket lists!

Please tell us if you are going to do this! We want to hear about it.

12. Rock Climbing

To say nothing of Moab’s rock climbing scene would be a sin! Moab has a huge rock climbing scene and is known for its world-class routes.

Take a drive down Potash road to see the canyon walls full of rock climbers enjoying the day soaking up the desert sun. There are also guiding outfits if you’d like to go rock climbing. Definitely, a fun outdoor thing to do in Moab!

13. Base Jumping

Alright… And for the super hardcore adventure sports athletes, there is base jumping!

Base Jump Moab is a guiding outfit offering this activity of hardcore adventure sport things to do in Moab! Coupled with a jump, they offer a video as well as a hoodie.

OK, please write and tell us if you go base jumping! We want to hear about this.

14. La Sal Loop Scenic Drive

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Utah scenic drive

Take a drive through the La Sal National Forest outside of Moab. The scenic drive begins eight miles south of Moab off of US-191. The 60-mile scenic drive will cruise you through the La Sal Mountains and then down the mountains to the majestic Castle Valley towers. The route connects to SR 128, which will take you along the Colorado River. There are places to hike and camp along the Colorado River, so be sure to enjoy!

15. Mill Canyon Dinosaur Tracksite

Have you ever wanted to see Dinosaur fossils in the wilderness? Well, you literally can up Mill Canyon.

Environmental Stewardship Recreating Outdoors

Be sure to read more about environmental stewardship in the backcountry, including protecting precious biological soil crust while adventuring in the desert. Please stay on designated roads and trails to protect the crust.

Summary

  1. Arches National Park
  2. Canyonlands National Park
  3. Hiking Near Moab
  4. Dead Horse Point State Park
  5. Mountain Biking
  6. Camping in the Moab Area
  7. Stargazing
  8. Stand-up Paddle Boarding (SUP) the Colorado River
  9. Whitewater Rafting
  10. Off-Highway Vehicles (OHV) and Jeeping
  11. Skydiving
  12. Rock Climbing
  13. Base Jumping
  14. La Sal Loop Scenic Drive
  15. Mill Canyon Dinosaur Tracksite

Closing Thoughts on Things to Do in Moab

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Floating the Colorado River

Get Travel Insurance. Whenever we do cross country road trips, we also always buy travel insurance. We select coverage that covers us for our outdoor adventures, emergencies, and if we need to cancel any pre-paid accommodations. We have been using Travel Insurance Master because you can select the exact coverage needed.

Book Accommodations and Guided Tours in Advance. Moab can get really busy during peak season. It can actually be hard to find camping during peak season in certain areas or book rafting trips.

Enjoy the Area for a Few Days. There are lots of National Parks and Monuments in the area. You might enjoy heading over to Capitol Reef National Park, Lake Powell, or the Colorado National Monument. Things are spread out, the area is quite rural, and cell phone reception can be limited so it just takes a little planning.

Moab is the perfect destination for desert adventures. With plenty of activities to choose from and stunning scenery, it’s hard not to have a good time in this small town. If visiting during the summer or big festivals, be prepared for crowds during the peak season!

Thanks for reading. We hope you have an amazing time here.

Ashlee & Pablo


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canyonlands national park view of canyons and couple on the river floating with smiles and laughter

We would love to hear from you!

Have you been to this amazing corner of Utah? What was your favorite activity?

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Ashlee Fechino

Ashlee Fechino is an outdoor recreation writer and founder of The Happiness Function based in Oklahoma. Her goal is to help inspire people to build a life they love by sharing how simple and fun it is to travel locally, connect with nature, and explore off-the-beaten-path. You don't have to spend a lot of money or use a ton of vacation time to explore close to home. Ashlee holds a BS degree in Biology and MS in Environmental Policy & Sustainability and has a passion for the outdoors. She is married to an expat Argentine, Pablo! They camp in their Aliner often and love road trips and hiking.

15 Comments

  1. William Randall on January 4, 2021 at 10:34 pm

    This sounds like fun, guys !!



    • Ashlee Fechino on January 5, 2021 at 3:14 pm

      Thanks for reading Uncle Burt 🙂



  2. Olivia on January 9, 2021 at 11:09 am

    Who knew there was so much to do in Moab! This place looks amazing. It would be so fun to stand up paddleboard on the Colorado River!



    • Ashlee Fechino on January 9, 2021 at 1:27 pm

      Hi Olivia – Moab is so wonderful. You will have to visit sometime.



  3. Megan on January 9, 2021 at 12:10 pm

    We Love Moab! We were supposed to go back in October, but changed our plans at the last minute. I’m excited to try all these new things we haven’t done there before, like SUP!



    • Ashlee Fechino on January 9, 2021 at 1:27 pm

      Hey Megan – Hope you can make it in the future. SUP’ing the Colorado River is awesome.



  4. Catherine on January 9, 2021 at 2:07 pm

    I can’t wait til I can go to Moab. I knew about the national parks, hiking and camping but had never considered SUPing the river nearby! Thanks for the tip!



    • Ashlee Fechino on January 9, 2021 at 3:16 pm

      Hi Catherine – right on, you will have a great time on the Colorado river!



  5. Hannah on January 9, 2021 at 3:02 pm

    There are so many amazing things to do in Moab! I’ve always wanted to try white water rafting, it sounds like so much fun! Thanks for the great guide!



    • Ashlee Fechino on January 9, 2021 at 3:17 pm

      Hi Hannah – thanks for reading. You would have a major blast white water rafting. Save it for a summer visit when it is warm.



  6. Josy A on January 9, 2021 at 5:44 pm

    Ooooh very cool! Hiking in Moab looks like a blast (I would looove to see the trails in Canyonlands and Arches National Parks…) But you found even more fun things to do. Paddle boarding, whitewater rafting and stargazing all sound like perfect activities when your legs need to recover from walks!



  7. Taylor on January 9, 2021 at 7:11 pm

    Moab looks so amazing! I totally want to go back to Utah and visit this area. Arches is so high on my National Park bucket list and so is Canyonlands. 🙂 Great article!



    • Ashlee Fechino on January 10, 2021 at 6:35 am

      Hey Taylor – you will love Moab! Hope you can visit soon.



  8. molly on January 10, 2021 at 12:14 am

    Outdoor fun is and night skies are endless in Moab!



    • Ashlee Fechino on January 10, 2021 at 6:35 am

      Indeed Molly! Such a special place in the world. Thanks for reading.