Moab, Utah

    My favorite travel destination is Moab, Utah.  After having been there at least six times, I'm already planning the next excursion to this area, with new locations to explore.

    Moab is a small oasis town in the middle of red rock desert.  The town is only about 5 500  people in this predominantly a tourist based town, with lots of art and gift shops on the main street.  There is a KOA just south of town where I have usually stayed, but last summer it seemed to be quite run down so I decided to try a new place.  Right within the town limits is the Canyonlands Campground, which accommodates both tenting and rvs.  Being right in town it was easy to walk to many conveniences, and take a stroll into town during the evening.  It is a clean, well maintained facility that I would recommend.  On the road past Slick Rock, to the east of Moab, there are many primitive campsites that would be cheaper to use.  They have good pit toilets, but no water and electricity.  Watch out for scorpions.  

    While the atmosphere of the town is great, it is the resources surrounding Moab that make it an exciting destination.  Hiking, rafting and above all, cycling, make this area special:


    Two major National Parks surround Moab.  Arches National Park is just five minutes north of town.  The background that I use for this blog was taken at Delicate Arch in Arches N.P.  You can drive to many spectacular scenes, or do any number of day hikes, ranging from easy to very difficult.  The Devil's Garden is one of my favorite hikes, but needs at least half a day.  In the summer, the first half of the day would be better since the temperature is more likely to be below 100 degrees.
     The other National Park is Canyonlands.  This is an immense park that is divided into several sub regions, including The Needles, Island In The Sky, and the Maze.  All of the entrances are a fair drive from Moab, with hundreds of hiking trails ranging from day hikes to overnight treks.  Resources also include family campgrounds, picnic areas and education centres, along with absolutely surreal scenery.


    As is true with all hiking in this area, being conscious of water and heat is very important.  You have to have a proper respect for and knowledge of hot weather.  I like to play an audio selection read by Edward Abbey, of his experiences as a ranger in these parks, having to search for lost hikers, and carry their dead bodies out after they were overcome by the tremendous heat.  Abbey came to regard these canyon lands as his home and loved them.  The Back Of Beyond, a well known book store in town, celebrates Abbey as a colourful local hero, both sensitive to the land and outrageous in many of his beliefs. 


River rafting in this area is on the Upper Colorado and the Green Rivers.  During the summer rafting is pretty tame, but still majestic.  My favorite experience was rafting in a small inflatable kayak.  Half day or multi-day trips are available.


    Moab has some of the most challenging cycling in the world.  Slickrock Trail and Porcupine Ridge Trail are world famous for their difficulty. Gemini Arches is another trail which is much more tame, and suitable for beginners.  Cycle rental shops will often arrange shuttles so that you can begin your ride away from town and sycle back.  You can even plan it so it is mostly down hill, if you're looking for the easy route.  There are many smaller trails creating a maze all around the town and more up into the surrounding desert mesas and canyons.   The last three times we were biking in Moab, we used Poison Spider Rentals.  They were very good to deal with and very helpful.  There are many other shops as well.   


   My next sojourn to Moab will focus on the area just west of Canyonlands.  On that side of the park, near state highway 24, is a State Park which we briefly visited last summer called Goblin Valley State Park.  It's a very unusual landscape on its own, but also would serve as a base for excursions to Horseshoe Canyon which has a famous display of petroglyphs.  Directly south is the eastern portion of Glen Canyon and Lake Powell, and all surrounding this area is a network of desert roads just waiting to be explored by a Jeep.  That's the plan for next summer...