What Is The Weather Like In Moab
Moab weather is beautiful for the most part, with almost 250 days of sunshine per year. Its very hot in the summer, surprisingly cold in the winter, and quite dry year-round. The desert climate also means big fluctuations between daytime and nighttime temperatures, especially in the summer, when highs can be around 100 while lows are in the 60s. The biggest things to watch out for that time of year are sun exposure and dehydration youll want to spend time in the shade when possible and drink plenty of water. In the winter, Moab typically gets several inches of snow, but it rarely accumulates in town.
Take A Dip In Mill Creek And See The Petroglyphs
Mill Creek is one of the best ways to beat the heat in the summer. The pristine crystal clear water flows from the nearby La Sal Mountains and offers numerous calm wading pools as well as deeper pools to jump in.
Dont miss the popular Mill Creek waterfall, a decent sized waterfall where people come to cool off and cliff jump when the water is deep enough.
Once youre done cooling off there are some nearby petroglyphs and pictographs that are just a short hike away.
Mill Creek is located just outside of Moab on Powerhouse lane, see map.
Places To Eat In Moab
Here are some restaurants and diners in Moab to try:
- Moab Diner: Small restaurant and classic diner, located in the heart of Moab along the main road. As you can sit comfortably in a typical booth, you can eat rich and tasty dishes, including hamburgers and other meat dishes. Unusually though, the diner does not serve beer .
- Desert Bistro: This restaurant is located in a more secluded green area and has a parking lot. The menu at the Desert Bistro has a selection that includes a few more elaborate dishes than the Moab Diner, including some fusion dishes. If you get tired of grilled meat, come here and try something different .
- The Broken Oar: Compared to the two restaurants I have mentioned, the Broken Oar will also entice you with its meat menu will win you over with its Far West atmosphere. The whole structure, arranged on two floors, is built in a rustic-mountain style entirely of wood. Inside there is a fireplace and outside there is a porch that is similar to what you would find at saloons .
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Tour Arches National Park
You cant make a trip to Moab, Utah, and not see Arches National Park. Many of the parks iconic features are easily explored just off the highway with a morning or evening guided van tour, or a drive on your own. Some advantages to a guided van tour include taking your hands off the wheel, allowing your eyes to scan the odd horizon-line within the park. Your guide will explain what your eyes are seeing, and direct you to some of the very best places for photos like Balanced Rock, Turret Arch, Double-O arch, and more. Exploring a little deeper on your own to the world-famous Delicate Arch is a very rewarding experience but be aware that It requires a little planning and preparation beyond the casual National Park stroll.
Moab To Goblin Valley
If you want to visit the bizarre and mysterious Goblin Valley from Moab, you must take a 1 hour and 4o minutes drive. Its a bit farther than the other places, so in the case of both for the Goblin Valley and Capitol Reef , Moab would be considered more of a stop after the visit.
If you are really interested in seeing the peculiar rock formations of this park, its armies of sandstone gnomes and the mighty rock castles, take a look at the directions to get there from Green River, an important junction on I-70, northwest of Moab. You can find the directions in our article dedicated to the Goblin Valley.
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Thing To Do In Moab: Hike The Corona Arch Trail
Where: BLM Land off SR 279 10 miles west of Hwy 191 clear signage marks the trailhead
When: NOT on a hot and sunny summer afternoon – theres NO shade on this trail
Why: This is an amazing hike and arch, and very few people are on this trail as compared to the trails inside the national parks
Who: Must be in decent shape and have appropriate footwear dogs are permitted
Required Time: under 2 hours
We really enjoyed this one! Its a 3 mile round trip hike with 440 ft elevation gain. With views of various red rock landscape, one short section with a safety cable and rock steps carved into the sandstone, a 4 foot ladder, and cairns leading your way across slickrock, youll have plenty to look at!
We did this hike with our three year old, although she was in a hiking carrier for much of the trail. If you have a child whos experienced at hiking and want to take the time and energy to stay right on top of them, a carrier may not be necessary.
Once you get up the ladder, keep your eyes open for Corona Arch. And once you spot it, look to the left in search of Bowtie Arch – a pothole arch thats also spectacular and fun to explore.
Be sure to hike under Corona Arch and view it from all sides. The opening is 140 by 105 feet, and getting right up to it brings a greater appreciation for its massive size!
Then its back to your vehicle, heading towards Moab on Potash/279 again. Next stop: Dinner! You deserve a delicious meal after that hike.
Bryce Canyon National Park
One of the most popular and picturesque places in Utah, the beautiful Bryce Canyon National Park can be found tucked away in the southwest of the state. Home to some of the most spectacular scenery imaginable, it boasts lots of epic eroded amphitheaters with countless crumbling canyons and sensational sandstone spires also on show.
Founded back in 1928 to protect and preserve the phenomenal peaks and pinnacles that line the precipitous Paunsaugunt Plateau, its lovely landscapes are a treat to explore. While the shapes and shades of its hoodoos are certainly its standout sight, the park is also home to lots of wildlife with elk and black bears to be spotted.
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Quick Tips For Visiting Moab In Winter
Before you visit Moab in winter, there are several things you should know.
First, services in a lot of the parks are limited. Plan on bringing in all of your own water and snacks for the day. There are no food options an any of the parks near Moab and the nearest food is in town and outside of park boundaries .
Pack layers. Youll want to bring plenty of warm layers to bundle up when its cold and quickly shed as you warm up on trails or in the sun.
Youll still need sunscreen. The sun is harsh in the desert no matter what time of year it is. Keep in mind that the suns rays reflect off of snow so cover the bottom of your chin and nose to stay protected.
Cell phone service can be hard to come by outside of town. Load all of your maps, GPS coordinates, and navigation onto your phone before you head out.
Consider getting an America the Beautiful Parks Pass. Good at both Arches and Canyonlands, youll want this pass if you plan on visiting the national parks for more than three days. This pass is good for a 12-month period so if you have a lot of national parks on your bucket list, a pass is worth it.
Be respectful. Rock art, historical artifacts, and a delicate ecosystem make the desert a special place. Do not graffiti rocks, touch any rock art, or take home/destroy any artifacts. Stick to marked trails and tread lightly. Leave the desert better than you found it.
Practice Good Trail Etiquette
On Moabs multi-use trails, its not unlikely that you will encounter other visitors, some on foot, two wheels, or even four. Many of the backcountry dirt roads in and around Moab are open to ATVs, and other kinds of Off-Highway Vehicles including any vehicle with four-wheel-drive so things can get busy. Some areas along the trail systems are also nearby neighborhoods. Be respectful to the locals by staying aware of your surroundings and keep your speed down.
If youre hiking or mountain biking, practice good trail etiquette while sharing the trail: be courteous, know the rules , and be friendly to others. Not only does this create a great experience for everyone, but youll be leading by example as well.
Biking the White Rim Trail in Canyonlands requires sharing the road/trail with a variety of users
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Take A Day Trip To Monument Valley
Monument Valley is about a 2 to 2 ½ hour drive from Moab. Yes, that is a lot of driving in one day. Yes, it is totally, totally worth it! I have been wanting to go see Monument Valley for as long as I can remember. IT IS SO COOL! It feels like a different planet. The massive red rock buttes jutting out from a flat landscape makes me giddy. Guys, it is so so so awesome! There are some really fun hikes you can do. My top suggestion is the Wildcat Trail. It has some of the best views and is one that you can do unguided. One of the best things about the drive is it is full of cool stops and formations on the way!
10. Go Explore the Monument Valley Buttes
My most favorite thing we did was drive the Valley Road within Monument Valley. We chose to self-drive and I am so glad we did! The dirt road winding through the red rocks, viewpoints, and buttes was a blast. Note: Our car was destroyed with red mud after, so a car wash is a must. Also, 4 wheel drive is not in any way required but we were glad we had it since it allowed us to go faster and get muddy. We drove the trail twice and loved it both times. There is a 20 dollar fee to drive the trail. For visiting times, rules, and prices you can find out more on the Navajo National Website here.
11. See the Goosenecks at Gooseneck State Park
12. Stop to See the Mexican Hat
13. Go to Indian Creek and View Newspaper Rock-
A quick note about visiting Newspaper Rock-
Check Out The Petroglyphs At Newspaper Rock
Newspaper Rock is located on the road leading to the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park. It features petroglyphs including shapes, animals, and humans. Its simply fascinating to look at these carved drawings.
Although a detour when going into Canyonlands, its a must-view for any history buff. The images on the side of the rock can give you a taste of prehistoric times.
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Soak In The Views At Wilson Arch
Located about 30 minutes outside of Moab along US 191-S, Wilson Arch is absolutely gorgeous, and we highly recommend adding it to your list of what to do in Moab if you happen to pass by on the way in or out of town.
The small loop trail up to Wilson Arch is just over half a mile in total, making this arch less of a hike than a roadside attraction.
That being said, its a beautiful arch with incredible views and makes an excellent first or last road trip stop when visiting Moab, Utah.
See Dinosaurs In Moab Giants Dinosaur Park
Its quickly becoming a popular tourist destination in the city, with its 3D cinema. The cinema shows documentary films showing the evolution and end of dinosaurs on our planet.
Of course, there are life-size installations of the replicas of different species of dinosaurs. Kids absolutely love this place, so if youre visiting with kids, do check out this park. The kids will enjoy the Tracks Museum and all the games and exhibits it has to offer.
This part of the town is actually known for dinosaur fossils. So you really feel and see what it was like when dinosaurs were around.
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Drive Or Camp On La Sal Mountain Loop Scenic Drive
If you are not feeling up to hiking but want to see the beautiful views, this scenic drive is a good option. The La Sal Mountain Loop Scenic Drive takes you up to impressive views of Moab and the Canyonlands National Park.
This paved 60 mile route starts about 8 miles south of Moab off US-191. Loops up through the mountains and follows the Colorado River back to town. The entire drive will take about 2 to 3 hours.
Along the way, you can stop at scenic walking trails and recreation areas. The elevation change also means a change of scenery from desert to evergreen forest.
Camping areas are available in the Manti-La Sal National Forest if you would like to stay the night.
- Website: Manti-La Sal National Forest
- Location: Spanish Valley, Utah 84532
- Cost: Free
We focused our last trip to Moab on seeing petroglyphs and spend a whole day exploring this area.
The Lower Colorado Scenic Byway, also known as Potash Road, is a road literally less traveled, but worth the trip. It connects Moab and the Canyonlands National Park. Although we have done each half but not driven straight through either side.
The roadsides are full of rock formations, petroglyphs, dinosaur tracks, and many other things to see. Traveling on Potash Road provides especially beautiful views when heading toward Moab.
- Website: Detailed information and a cute dinosaur license for kids
- Location: Potash Road UT-279, just 1.5 miles north of town on 191
- Cost: Free
Backcountry Skiing In The La Sal Mountains
The La Sal Mountains provide a beautiful backdrop to Moabs red towers and cliffs. And in the winter, they come alive as a destination in themselves, offering scenic backcountry skiing that can accommodate every skill level. A good place to start is Corkscrew Glades on Tuk No Mountain. As you climb up through aspen forests, be sure to look back occasionally to take in spectacular views of the red desert dropping away behind you.
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Drive The Potash Road To Thelma & Louise Point
The Potash Road is a rugged, dirt road, but passable for most vehicles. It runs through some dramatic rock scenery with views out over the Colorado.
The road begins about four miles north of Moab, heading west off Highway 191. About five miles from the start of this route, you can see petroglyphs, and a little further on are some dinosaur tracks, but some of the most stunning views are much further on, beyond Intrepid Potash, where the paved road turns to gravel and becomes Highway 142.
This leads to what is commonly referred to as Thelma and Louise Point, the location for the final scene in the American movie Thelma and Louise. In this scene, a convertible is driven off the edge of a cliff, portrayed in the movie as being the Grand Canyon, but the filming actually took place at this location in Utah.
The area is not well sign-posted. A few miles before the point is a very small sign indicating it is a few miles to Thelma and Louise Point, but it’s easy to miss, so you should keep an eye out as you drive along. At the actual location is a flat gravel parking area and no guard rails or security barriers.
The view is incredible, but even if you miss the actual point, there are other pullouts along here that also lookout over the same scenery and they are all equally spectacular.
Thing To Do In Moab: Drive A Section Of The White Rim Road
Where: Island in the Sky Section of Canyonlands National Park, and ending in Moab
Cost: $30 entrance fee into the national park, valid for 7 days free day use permit required to drive below the mesa top
When: Start in the morning and take your time!
Why: This is an easy and unique way to get away from the crowds and get a different breathtaking look at Canyonlands.
Who: 4WD is always recommended, but for this section of the road we saw people driving 2WD vehicles – check at the visitor center.
Required Time: at least 3 hours
We loved this scenic drive in Moab! When on the mesa top looking down at the road, the vehicles look like SO tiny. To get down there and be one of them brought a whole new perspective and appreciation for just how gigantic this place is.
When youre driving on the road you can look up at the mesa top towering above, but youre still able to look WAY down at the Colorado River – it makes you realize just how tiny you are!
First, stop at Canyonlands National Park Visitor Center to check on road conditions and get your free day use permit to drive the road. Or you can reserve it up to 24 hours in advance at .
From what we were told, this section of the road is very accessible and getting that permit in advance is usually unnecessary.
Take your time and enjoy this scenic route! Potash Road is 28 miles long but expect to spend over an hour driving it.
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