Moab is a world-class mecca for the active and outdoorsy. Boasting an area renowned for its mountain biking, hiking, river rafting, and rock climbing, Moab lures the most active travelers every year with its outstanding natural features that offer vibrant adventure. Even better, with the phenomenal Arches National Park nestled up on Moab's doorstep, the actively-inclined have even more choices at their disposal.
Moab makes a wonderful jumping off point for adventure. If you prefer someone else to show you the best secret spots and help you make the most of your visit, several very knowledgeable guiding services can be found in town. Plan ahead for a whitewater rafting extravaganza on the world-famous Colorado River as it dips and churns and swirls through Cataract Canyon. Want to zip off on some world-class mountain biking? Turn your wheels onto the famed Slickrock Bike Trail and experience the swoops, thrills, and vistas as you pedal your way through ruggedly beautiful country. Rock climbing hardly gets better than on “Wall Street,” a climber's paradise along Potash Road that offers up big wall excitement as well as shorter pitches for the climbing newbie. Quite a few superlative hiking trails ring Moab, such as the Hidden Valley loop with its ancient petroglyph rock art and views of the entire Moab valley. Another area gem just south of town is Behind the Rocks, a locals' secret that boasts advanced mountain biking trails, slickrock hiking, and nearly as many natural arches as neighboring Arches National Park.
Admitted to the National Park System in 1971, Arches protects more than 2,000 natural sandstone arches of every size and shape. Immortalized by the words of passionate naturalist and writer Edward Abbey, Arches is a playground with over 76,000 wild acres for anyone who wants to push their own limits or get off the beaten path. Its most famous attraction, Delicate Arch, draws visitors with its stimulating three-mile hike to the base of the unbelievably huge, beautiful natural formation.
Delicate Arch — Photo courtesy of Pinchof 2.0
More adventuresome hikers might want to check out the innumerable delights of the Fiery Furnace, a section of the park noted for its sandstone fins, slots, pinnacles, ramps, and overall challenge to hikers' skills in navigation. The park suggests taking a ranger-led tour of the area during a first visit, as the possibility of getting somewhat confused in the maze of sandstone is high. But for those with a strong background in hiking and self-reliance, the Fiery Furnace is an unmissable experience that showcases some of the best features in Arches. Overnight camping in the park can provide an opportunity to see a clear night sky unparalleled in its starry display, as well as a glorious morning sunrise.
Fiery Furnace — Photo courtesy of mland329
Plan a trip to Moab with an extension into Arches; the park's entrance lies immediately at the north end of town. Bring your sense of adventure, wonder, and energy as you explore some of the most exceptional landscapes in the American West.