A vintage motel sign decorates the yard of the tourist attraction, Hole in the Rock, south of Moab.

Moab is a town in the Utah's Canyon Country and a gateway to the nearby Arches National Park and other attractions in Canyon Country.


Moab is a unique Western community situated in the red rock country of Southeastern Utah on the Colorado River. Arches National Park is only six miles from downtown and Canyonlands National Park is 32 miles from Moab. The city is surrounded by public lands which are used not only for grazing, drilling, and forestry but for recreation such as mountain biking, hiking, rafting, rock climbing, highlining, B.A.S.E. jumping, skydiving, disc golf and cross-country skiing. Because the area is rich in these recreational opportunities, Moab has become the hub of tourist activity and services.

Get in

By car

If you are approaching Moab while driving west along I-70, use Utah Route 128 for the beautiful scenery. About 10 minutes past the Colorado-Utah border is exit 214 on I-70, it is marked as "Cisco". The landscape at this point is extremely dry, slightly hilly. The road is narrow (no shoulder), and somewhat curvy, and it's about 80 km to Moab. About half-way, the road narrows, meets and then crosses the Colorado River, and the remainder of the trip is spent with the river on your right side and spectacular canyon walls surrounding you. This piece of pavement is one of the best drives in North America. Optimal times to take it are the morning (~9AM) or afternoon (after 3PM) for the light -- do not drive it at night (you can't see anything and it is more dangerous -- use US 191 instead). Watch for traffic, particularly bicycles as you approach Moab. The urge to rubber-neck is extreme, and needs to be resisted: be a passenger if you can. Eventually, UT 128 ends at US 191, a few minutes north of Moab.

By plane

Moab's Canyonland Field Airport has commuter service to Denver. Bookings from beyond Denver can be ticketed with United and Frontier Airlines to reach Moab. Moab's airport code is CNY. Ground transportation between Moab and the airport should be reserved in advance.

By train

The AMTRAK train has a whistle stop in Green River, Utah (GRI). Combine the trail with your flights into Salt Lake City (UT), Denver or Grand Junction (CO) then reserve a taxi or shuttle service to travel 52 miles to the town of Moab.

Get around

Moab's Main Street is part of US Route 191. Traveling north on Main will get you to Arches National Park, Canyonland Field Airport, and Interstate 70. To get to Dead Horse Point State Park and Canyonlands National Park, by backcountry dirt road use Utah State Route 279, which intersects US-191 near the entrance to Arches National Park. To access Canyonlands and Dead Horse Point by pavement continue farther north on Hwy 191 to Utah State Route 313.



River rafting

Moab lies along the Colorado River and offers excellent opportunities to get out on the river. The most popular option is a one-day trip on the Fisher Towers section. Also known as the "Moab daily" this 14 mile stretch of river is perfect for families with children or anyone wishing to escape the heat. Slashy and fun this is a wonderful way to take in the beauty of Moab from a different perspective.

Located just west of town, the Birthing Rock petroglyph depicts a rare breach birth (center left).


Moab is home to the Semi-Annual Jeep Safari, which can give you some wild rides with difficult obstacles. Go 4-wheeling on the trails that stretch just outside the city. Many trails are a less than a few miles away, while some may take a short while to find and can be tricky. Trails rank from easy to difficult.

Other things to do


Hunting for prey, an immature bald eagle perches on an electrical pole in the Castle Valley, east of Moab.




Stay safe

In summer time, Moab can get very hot. Drink extra fluids as needed. If you plan to go off-roading or camping out on the trails, take at least one gallon of water per person per day.



A ghost old west rail town which once served as a saloon and water-refilling station for the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad. The town declined with the demise of the steam locomotive. Ruins are visible near the junction of State Route 128 and Interstate 70 but are heavily damaged by vandals.

Go next

Routes through Moab

Vernal Thompson Springs  N  S  Monticello Eagar-Springerville

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Tuesday, January 05, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.