Moab, Utah. A little town with a big reputation. With two of Utah’s national parks located near Moab, the area has become a mecca for outdoorsmen and nature lovers. But while we usually focus on our resorts in Moab, today we’re featuring seven different ways to see Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park.
Check out these ways to explore and then plan your trip to the great town of Moab, Utah!
Explore Two of Utah’s Five National Parks in Moab
What better way to explore Utah’s national parks than with your own two feet? Both Arches and Canyonlands have excellent hiking trails for a variety of difficulty levels.
We previously covered hiking trails at Arches National Park, including Balanced Rock, Landscape Arch, and Park Avenue. Check out the post and choose a trail that suits your skill level.
Canyonlands National Park has many more trails for hiking. Here are a couple options:
- Grand View Point: At two miles roundtrip, this trail follows the edge of a stunning canyon.
- Gooseberry Canyon: This is a strenuous trail stretching 5.4 miles roundtrip. The views are worth it but watch your step on the switchbacks.
2. Horseback Riding
Exploring two of Utah’s national parks by horseback is like something out of a Western movie. With the red rocks around Moab, you can embrace your inner cowboy as you traverse rugged roads.
There’s a lot of important information regarding horseback riding in the parks. See this guidance for Arches National Park and this information about horseback riding in Canyonlands National Park. Especially note when and where you can take livestock and what they must eat before visiting.
If you have an appetite for adventure, you might want to try biking. You’ll need to have some good experience before tackling Arches and Canyonlands, but the experience is unforgettable. All paved and unpaved roads within the parks are fair game, but you can’t take your bike on trails.
For smooth road biking, stick to the paved roads. Alternatively, you can ride the Moab Canyon Pathway, a paved pathway stretching more than 100 miles and connecting the town to both Arches and Canyonlands National Parks.
For mountain-style biking, just hit the unpaved roads. Canyonlands, in particular, has great backcountry roads for riding. We recommend White Rim Road and Elephant Hill Road. Both are challenging, but stunning.
4. Off-road Tours
While the paved roads can be handled by a regular car, you’ll need a 4WD vehicle to tackle the backcountry roads in Utah’s national parks. You can take your own 4WD vehicle, but the roads are very tough. There’s a high risk of damage and towing can be costly. Make sure you’re experienced and equipped before going out.
As an alternative, try taking an off-road tour with one of the local outfitters. These may be on other backcountry roads around Moab but offer similar scenery to the national parks. Here are three potential outfitters to use:
If photography is your niche, you’ll love Utah’s national parks! Red rocks, rugged cliffs, and soaring arches are just a glimpse of what you’ll find. We recommend shooting around sunrise or sunset, as the midday sun is very hot and very bright. Additionally, you can visit at night for astrophotography free from light pollution.
We often talk about spending the night under the stars at our resorts. While you should try that, you can also go stargazing around Moab. In fact, Arches National Park is a certified International Dark Sky Park. You can experience the best for yourself at Balanced Rock, Garden of Eden, and Panorama Point.
As a tip, plan to go as close to a new moon as possible. Additionally, recognize that your eyes will need about 30 minutes to adjust to the dark. Try minimizing your exposure to light by using a red-light headlamp or flashlight when hiking to your spot. This will make stargazing an even better experience.
Boating may not be the first activity you think of in the arid Moab climate. But both the Colorado River and Green River flow through Canyonlands National Park. There are many miles of calm flatwater that can be explored by canoe or kayak. And for the daring, Cataract Canyon has a fourteen-mile stretch of Class III to Class V whitewater.
Check out all the info from the National Park Service about boating at Canyonlands.
With four resorts in Moab, we’re ready to host you during your stay to visit two of Utah’s national parks. Check out our Moab resorts below and find one that suits your trip:
- Moab Valley RV Resort & Campground
- Canyonlands RV Resort & Campground
- Archview RV Resort & Campground
- Slickrock Campground
Love the red rocks at Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park? Give other people the chance to explore them and pass this post along!