Traveling To Moab, Utah For The First Time

traveling to moab utah
traveling to moab utah

All I’m going to say is that Moab, Utah is nothing short of spectacular. Whether you are going to just a few days or maybe even a few weeks, there is always something fun and exciting to do.

From sightseeing and hiking, racing around in dune buggies, whitewater rafting, mountain biking, horseback riding, even just stopping at one of the many amazing restaurants and breweries, there is always something fun and exciting to do.

This past weekend I ended up traveling down to Moab, Utah with my family. We left from Salt Lake City on Saturday morning, stayed at an RV Park in Moab for two nights, and drove back to Salt Lake City on Monday afternoon.

If you ask me, this trip wasn’t long enough… whatsoever.

I was not ready to leave. I simply wanted to stay and soak up more than the fraction of Moab that I saw during those two days. But if nothing else, not being able to see a lot simply gives me an excuse to go back – and yes, I will definitely be going back.

Here are some of the things that we did in Moab, and things that I would definitely recommend you do as well.

Hikes, Sites, and Trails

Soak In The Views At Arches National Park

traveling to Moab Utah
The view from Delicate Arch

This is probably the most iconic hike in Moab, and for very good reason.

Driving up from the city of Moab takes roughly 20-30 minutes. Once you get to the trailhead, the hike to the Delicate Arch is only 1.5 miles. I say only 1.5 miles because it is filled with breathtaking views and the time goes by rather quickly.

The views are even better once you get to the arch itself. Below is a picture that I took from the ledge of the trail. There is an option to walk on the edge of the cliff for a bit, but after watching someone almost nearly slip and fall down the canyon, I can’t say that I would recommend doing that. While there are beautiful views, the hike can also be dangerous if you aren’t careful.

Tip: I would recommend going at sunrise. It was quite an amazing experience to watch the sun come up over the horizon and start to cast light on the arch. That, and it gets rather hot during the day.

Visit Canyonlands National Park

traveling to Moab Utah
Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park

Canyonlands may not be as well known as Arches National Park, but there are still plenty of amazing trails to hike and stunning views.

Just past the Sky Visitor Centre is Mesa Arch. While it is a smaller arch than Delicate Arch, it is definitely worth it to take a visit. Plus, it’s only a one-mile hike round trip from the trailhead and back.

Hike Dead Horse Point State Park

If you are feeling rather lazy and don’t want to do too much hiking but want to see some amazing views, then Dead Horse Point State Park is the spot for you. From the visitor center to Dead Horse Point, you do not have to hike for more than five minutes before being able to look over the horizon or down towards the Colorado River.

There is also a good amount of history to be taught as well. Word has it that cowboys used to round up Mustangs, herd them to the point, choose the mustang that they wanted, and left the rest to die. Not really the most friendly thing to do, but that’s where the name comes from.

Food

Miguel's Baja Grill
Miguel’s Baja Grill In Moab, Utah

We didn’t really go out to eat during our stay in Moab, but we did go to Miguel’s Baja Grill. Don’t let the outside of the building fool you. It may not look too good, but the food is some of the best Mexican food that I have ever had.

Out of more than 450 reviews on Google, Miguel’s has been given an average rating of 4.4 stars out of 5. I personally think that may be a bit low. The only thing that wasn’t amazing there was the time it took to be seated. No fault to the restaurant employees themselves, they were just that busy.

Bonus

Spanish Fork Hot Springs

The Spanish Fork Hot Springs are located about two hours outside of Moab, but if you are traveling back to Salt Lake City from Moab, you definitely need to plan some time to hike up to the hot springs.

The trailhead is only about 10 minutes just off the freeway. It’s easy to get there, but the hike up, yeah, that wasn’t as easy. It took just over two hours to hike up, and just under an hour to get back down. But the two and a half-mile hike each way is well worth it.

Spanish Fork Hot Springs
Spanish Fork Hot Springs

With great scenery and wildlife along the way, the hike up didn’t feel like two hours long. Once we got to the top, the dip into the hot springs felt amazing – even if the temperature of the springs were close to 140 degrees.

At the head of the springs was a small beautiful waterfall. The strange part is that while the hot springs are obviously hot, the waterfall was incredibly cold. It makes it so that when you are sitting in the hot springs, every so often you will catch a little draft of cold water. If you really need to cool off, you can always sit in the water right next to the waterfall, and you will feel refreshed within a matter of seconds.

What Our Days Looked Like

Saturday

We left Salt Lake City on Saturday, and after choosing to take a different Interstate 15 to Interstate 70, we managed to turn the four-hour trip into an eight-hour trip. To be honest, though, I wouldn’t change it. We stopped of on many of the various lookout points along the way and soaked up the scenery.

When we got to the campground at around eight o’clock, got set up, made some sandwiches in our camper, and went to bed.

Sunday

After waking up and getting a good breakfast in, we drove up to Canyonlands National Park, hiked, and on the way down, we stopped off at Dead Horse Point as it was only about ten minutes off the route back to Moab.

Once we got back down to Moab, we ate at Miguel’s Baja Grill and called it a night.

Monday

Monday was probably the most eventful day. We woke up early, went to capture the sunrise at the Delicate Arch, and then drove back down to Moab and started loading up our camper.

Traveling To Moab Utah
A view from Delicate Arch at Sunrise

On the way home, we took the quick route on Highway 191 and stopped off in Spanish Fork at the hot springs. Again, the hike was long, but it was well worth it.

Afterwards, we drove back into Salt Lake City at around 9 pm and hit up probably the best Mexican restaurant in Salt Lake City, Red Iguana. If you haven’t tried it, you definitely need to.

An Eventful Trip

As you can tell, we crammed as much as we possibly could into those three days. The trip itself was nothing short of amazing and it has definitely given me the urge to travel back as soon as possible. There is simply too much to see in one visit.

By the end of the trip, I was completely exhausted. Let’s just say that I slept like a rock on Monday night.

If you are thinking about going to Moab, I would definitely recommend doing some of the things highlighted here. You can also go 4-Wheeling, rafting on the Colorado River, or rip around the little dune buggies that everybody seemed to be into. Literally, the possibilities are endless, but one thing is for sure, you won’t regret your time in Moab.

Michael Bonnell

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