Moab is a destination for adventure enthusiasts and a starting point for exploring the beautiful landscape of eastern Utah, including Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, Dead Horse Point State Park, and the Colorado River. Learn about the local geology, culture, and history at the Museum of Moab, and see life-size replicas of dinosaurs at the Moab Giants Dinosaur Park. Here are the best things to do in Moab.


We recommend that you call the attractions and restaurants ahead of your visit to confirm current opening times.

1.Dead Horse Point State Park

Dead Horse Point State Park
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Dead Horse Point State Park is a state park near Moab that covers 5,362 acres (2,170 ha) of breathtaking desert landscapes and dramatic panoramic vistas of Canyonlands National Park and the Colorado River.

Named after a natural corral by cowboys in the 19th century, Dead Horse Point, a place where horses often dies of exposure, rests 2,000 feet above a gooseneck in the Colorado River and features several incredible overlooks, picnic areas, a campground, a visitor’s center and a 9-mile (14 km) loop hiking trail.

The park also features a mountain bike trail called Intrepid Trail with loops of varying levels of difficulty and is famous for having featured in the final 'Grand Canyon' scene of the 1991 film Thelma & Louise. If you are looking for fun things to do in Moab, this park is a must-see.


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2.Corona Arch Trail

Corona Arch Trail
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The Corona Arch Trail is a constructed hiking trail around the famous Corona Arch, a natural sandstone arch situated in a side canyon of the Colorado River.

The hiking trail is 1.5 miles in length and winds through a slick rock landscape, taking visitors about two hours to complete. The trail leads to various attractions, including the Corona Arch, the Bow Tie Arch, beautiful views of the Colorado River, and a vast slick rock canyon. The Corona Arch Trail is suitable for all ages and levels of hiker and is best hiked in the early morning or early evening due to the lack of shade.


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3.Hell's Revenge, Moab, Utah

Hell's Revenge, Moab, Utah
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Hell’s Revenge is a premier slick rock hiking, biking, and 4WD trail that offers views of beautiful scenery, steep climbs and descents, and breathtaking cliff edges.

The trail is clearly visible and boasts sweeping views of the La Sal Mountains, Arches National Park, the Colorado River canyon, and Moab Valley. There are several challenges en route, including the Tip-Over Challenge, a small rock hill with a sandy base that requires tight maneuvering, and Rubble Trouble, which boasts large loose rocks and narrow ledges.



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4.Moab Giants Dinosaur Park

Moab Giants Dinosaur Park
© Moab Giants Dinosaur Park


Moab Giants Dinosaur Park is one of the top Moab attractions. The park includes a 3D cinema where visitors view a film that teaches them about the prehistoric world of dinosaurs. After the film, visitors can walk through the park where they will see state-of-the-art life-size replicas of dinosaurs.

The area around the park and around Moab is well known for its many dinosaur bones, tracks, and fossils. The park also features the Tracks Museum, which focuses on educating visitors through its many interactive hands-on activities such as games, exhibits, and learning touch screens. If you are looking for best things to do in Moab, Utah with kids, don't miss the Moab Giants. More things to do in Utah

112 West, UT-313, Moab, Utah, Phone: 435-355-0288


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5.Museum of Moab

Museum of Moab
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Founded in 1958, the Museum of Moab is dedicated to preserving and presenting the unique geology, culture, and history of Moab. After spending some time operating out of a small four-room adobe house, the museum eventually found a new and larger home at its current location. The museum displays a variety of dinosaur bones, footprints, and a full cast skeleton of a dinosaur.

Other exhibits include rocks, mining, and displays on pioneer history. The museum offers a variety of education outreach activities such as lectures, special events, and workshops, while the Experiential Education Centers provide hands-on activities for children.

118 East Center Street, Moab, Utah, Phone: 435-259-7985


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6.What to Do in Moab: The Needles

What to Do in Moab: The Needles
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The Needles is an area of Canyonlands National Park, famous for its huge red and white pillars that rise vertically from their base. The eroded sandstone pillars extend for many miles and are mingled with other natural rock formations such as canyons, domes, and arches. Visitors can also contemplate the rock-carvings and ruins of ancient Native Americans.

The rocks can first be seen from the Needles Outpost, which is a campsite, restaurant, and grocery store. The National Park Service Visitor Center is just beyond the Outpost, and the scenic four-wheel drive route begins here. If you are wondering what to see in Moab, the Needles are a beautiful place to visit. The rock formations can be seen from the route and also by hiking on several trails.


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7.Red River Adventures

Red River Adventures
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Red River Adventures offers a variety of land and -based adventures, including one and multi-day rafting trips, rock and ice climbing, canyoneering, stand up paddling, and horseback riding.

One-day rafting tours offer fun for the whole family, providing a choice of going by raft or kayak on the Fish Towers River. Tours include a lovely side lunch while multi-day trips explore the Dolores River and Cataract and Desolation Canyons.

Rock climbing and canyoneering trips include hiking, climbing, and rappelling led by professional canyoneering guides, and professional wranglers lead horseback riding trips along Castle Creek and the trails made famous by John Wayne. Learn how to stand up paddle or enjoy a full workout on the Colorado River. (Phone: 435-259-4046) More Utah weekend getaways ideas



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8.RedRock Astronomy, Moab, Utah

RedRock Astronomy, Moab, Utah
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RedRock Astronomy is a tour company that specializes in leading visitors to areas around Moab where they can view the nighttime sky through telescopes. There is a lack of pollution, and therefore the skies overhead are extremely clear. Alex Ludwig, the highly experienced tour guide, uses a high powered telescope to point out galaxies, nebulae, planets, star clusters, and much more.

The telescope and other equipment are the best available. Tour groups range in size from two to forty, and sites are located 20 to 25 minutes away from the city lights of Moab. Some of the sites are close to Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. If you are looking for romantic things to do, this is a great activity in Moab.


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9.Moab Adventure Center

Moab Adventure Center
© Moab Adventure Center

The Moab Adventure Center is an outdoor activities company that offers a wide range of activities and vacation packages. Their Moab National Park Tours include hiking, sightseeing, and scenic flight tours to Arches National Park and rafting and scenic flight tours to Canyonlands National Park. There are several Moab Hummer Safaris such as the Grand Hummer Safari, Slickrock Hummer Safari, and Sunset Hummer Safari.

Stand Up Paddle Board Tours take place on the Colorado River and last about two hours. The Moab Horseback Riding Tour takes riders to Castle Rock. Other activities include canyoneering, climbing, high ropes course, hot air ballooning, zip lining, and much more.

225 South Main Street, Moab, Utah, Phone: 866-904-1163


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10.What to Do in Moab: Potash Road

What to Do in Moab: Potash Road
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Potash Road is a scenic byway that offers spectacular views of the Colorado River as well as dinosaur tracks and ancient rock art called petroglyphs. It begins about four miles north of Moab at the point where Potash Road turns off onto Highway 191. Soon the road goes into a deep gorge of the Colorado River, and at a place called “Wall Street,” visitors can often see rock climbers on the cliffs.

Just beyond this, you can admire the petroglyphs; there are marked pull-offs and interpretive signs in the area. Further along Potash Road is the “Dinosaur Tracks” turnout, where you can see a series of three-toed dinosaur tracks.


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11.La Sal Mountain Loop Road, Moab, UT

La Sal Mountain Loop Road, Moab, UT
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La Sal Mountain Loop Road is a paved scenic byway that starts on US191 about six miles south of Moab. It continues north through the forests of La Sal Mountains and through Castle Valley and Upper Colorado River Scenic Byway; the tour returns to Moab via Utah Highway 128.

The road travels through a variety of spectacular landscapes in the canyon country, and the entire loop is about 60 miles long and takes three hours to complete.

The highlights of the route include the Manti-La Sal National Forest with its views of 12,000 foot-peaks and red rock canyons, Big Bend Recreation Site with its many outdoor activities, and much more.


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12.Paddle Moab

Paddle Moab
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Paddle Moab is an owner-operated stand-up paddle (SUP) boarding company that offers quality SUP tours and lessons. All levels of paddler are welcome, from beginner to advanced, and qualified SUP instructors lead all lessons and tours, covering both flat water paddling and rapid riding.

A variety of tours are offered, ranging from Stand Up Paddle, a half day of paddling on calm, tranquil waters that is ideal for the whole family; Whitewater SUP, a half-day trip that teaches you to take on Class II/III rapids; or a multi-day tour with camping that ventures through the beautiful Labyrinth Canyon on the Green River and the challenging Fisher Tower’s Section of the Colorado River.

Paddle Moab also offers SUP rentals with premier paddleboards that can be deflated for easy transportation. Phone: 435-210-4665


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13.Solfun Mountain Biking

Solfun Mountain Biking
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Solfun Mountain Biking offers a range of mountain biking and hiking trips to visitors of all levels. Established by owners Pat and Allan Poertner more than 30 years ago, Solfun was established to share the beauty of Utah’s canyon country with mountain biking enthusiasts, and today it offers a range of both mountain biking and hiking trips.

Rides and hikes are kept small for safety and maximum enjoyment and cater to all levels of hikers and riders, from beginner to intermediate and advanced. Friendly, professional guides lead the trips, and high-end mountain bikes are provided.

Advanced mountain bikers can enjoy more challenging rides with one of the ‘Gonzo’ Tours, which include Amasa Back, Porcupine Ridge, and Slickrock. Solfun Mountain Biking also offers package mountain bike tours for groups and families and special all-women tours. Phone: 435-259-9861


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14.Dan Mick's Guided Jeep Tours, Moab, Utah

Dan Mick's Guided Jeep Tours, Moab, Utah
© Dan Mick's Guided Jeep Tours

Dan Mick's Guided Jeep Tours offers high-quality 4x4 trips and off-road adventures in the desert surrounding Moab. Experienced and highly skilled guides who are native to the Moab area lead the Jeep tours and maintain the trails to ensure maximum safety and enjoyment.

Tours can be tailor-made from morning and afternoon to sunset, and there are full day tours with over 25 pristine trails to choose from, including Hell’s Revenge, Moab Rim, and Chicken Corners.

Dan Mick's Guided Jeep Tours provides a pick-up service, and bottled water and snacks are provided throughout the tour. Phone: 435-259-4567


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15.Moab Horses at Hauer Ranch

Moab Horses at Hauer Ranch
© Moab Horses at Hauer Ranch


Hauer Ranch offers a range of horseback trails and tours that allow visitors to experience the scenic beauty of the beautiful Moab desert.

Soak up the desert splendor of Professor Valley as you wander along the Colorado River, cross winding creeks, or visit famous cowboy movie sites such as those for the films Rio Grande, Rio Conchos, and Smoke Signals on guided tailor-made trips for all levels of riders. Regular half-day trips take between two and three hours, and, they offer an exclusive daylong horseback ride to Miner’s Basin in the La Sal Mountains. Hauer Ranch also allows guests to bring their own horses and provides basic corrals and guest accommodation in the form of comfortable guesthouses.


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16.Sand Flats Recreation Area

Sand Flats Recreation Area
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Enjoy exciting activities while surrounded by beautiful desert scenery at the Sand Flats Recreation Area. Nestled in the Colorado Plateau, the area is known as a public lands treasure with its stunning mesas and views of the towering La Sal Mountains. The recreation area stands at 9,000 acres and welcomes around 200,000 visitors every year. There are numerous bike trails including the world-renowned Hell’s Revenge trail, as well as numerous camping sites. Campers can settle into one of the 140 individual campsites located throughout the area which are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. The camping grounds tend to fill up rather quickly during peak seasons, so it’s best to arrive before noon!

Sand Flats Road, Moab, UT 84532, Phone: 435-259-2444


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17.What to Do in Moab: Colorado Riverway Recreation Area

What to Do in Moab: Colorado Riverway Recreation Area
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The Colorado Riverway Recreation Area consists of several areas of public lands along the Colorado River and in the Moab area. River activities include whitewater rafting trips through Class 2 rapids at Fisher Towers or the wilder Westwater and Cataract Canyons sections of the area. Canoeing, jet boat tours, kayaking, and paddle boarding are also popular activities.

There are several hiking and mountain biking trails starting at Kane Creek Road, Potash-Lower Colorado River Scenic Byway, and Upper Colorado River Scenic Byway. Picnicking is a popular activity in this area, and there are picnic facilities at several places, including Big Bend Recreation Site, Hittle Bottom, and Lion’s Park.


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18.Utah Scenic Byway 279 Rock Art Sites

Utah Scenic Byway 279 Rock Art Sites
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Utah Scenic Byway 279 Rock Art Sites are a series of ancient drawings carved into rock in the Moab area. The area starts on the scenic byway five miles south of its intersection with Highway 191.

There is a pullout adjacent to the as well as an “Indian Writing” interpretive sign. Here, visitors can see rock art, or petroglyphs, that were created during the Formative Period of Native American art, approximately 1,300 to 2,000 years ago. The 125-foot panel includes depictions of animals as well as abstract objects. The next area of rock carving features a depiction of a bear and hunters. There are several other areas with rock carvings farther along the byway.


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19.Moab Museum of Film and Western Heritage

Moab Museum of Film and Western Heritage
© Moab Museum of Film and Western Heritage


The Moab Museum of Film and Western Heritage and the Red Cliffs Lodge are part of Red Cliffs Ranch, which was settled in the late 1800s. Formerly known as White’s Ranch, Red Cliffs Ranch continues to serve as a working ranch today, raising cattle and horses. The ranch has also been the location for the shooting of many films.

Director John Ford discovered the beauty of the area in the 1940s and subsequently many Hollywood movies were filmed here. The museum is known for its display “100 Years of Cowboy History” with its film and cowboy memorabilia.

Milepost 14, Highway 128, Moab, Utah, Phone: 866-812-2002


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20.Spanish Valley Vineyard and Winery

Spanish Valley Vineyard and Winery
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Wine lovers will surely enjoy a visit to the Spanish Valley Vineyard & Winery. Established in the 70s, the winery produces fresh-tasting wine completely on-site within the estate. Visitors can tour the family-owned vineyard to see the entire production process from growing the grapes to fermenting and bottling. Afterward, sample their selection of wines including cabernet sauvignon, cherry wine, Riesling, and Gewurztraminer. Visitors can make the most of the vineyard and its majestic views of red rock cliffs by checking into their bed and breakfast. Choose between one of their two houses which comfortably sleeps parties of 7 and up.

4710 Zimmerman Lane, Moab, UT 84532, Phone: 435-243-7775


21.Under Canvas Moab

Under Canvas Moab
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One of the most popular and successful glamping providers in America, Under Canvas has locations in some of the most beautiful natural areas in the country and runs some of the finest glamping services you could hope to find. This company thoroughly understands why people are attracted to glamping and aims to provide the best experiences every time. Under Canvas Moab provides seven different glamping accommodation options to suit all groups and visitors. Some examples include Deluxe tents with private bathrooms, Safari tents with four twin beds for families and friends, Suites for luxury and comfort, and the option to add adjacent tipis for the kids to enjoy.

Under Canvas accommodation is fitted with all the luxuries and amenities you need, including highly comfortable beds, sofas, showers, sinks, toilets, wood stoves, chairs, porch areas, and more, and you can find the perfect option for you and your party. As well as providing glamping accommodation in Moab, Under Canvas also runs glamping activities in the local area like rafting, horseback rides, zip line adventures, kayaking, canyon exploration, rock climbing, adventure tours, and more.

13784 US-191 Moab, UT 84532, Phone: 801-895-3213


22.Mill Canyon Dinosaur Trail, Moab, Utah

Mill Canyon Dinosaur Trail, Moab, Utah
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Mill Canyon Dinosaur Trail is a nature trail located just off Highway 191 northwest of Moab. The trail starts at the Dinosaur Trailhead where there is a parking area with interpretive signs that can also be found along the trail. Mill Canyon Dinosaur Trail is a short self-guided trail that is a short walk from the Monitor and Merrimac Mountain bike and jeep trail.

Visitors will find a brochure and guide at the Moab Field Office. The trail leads to an area where you can see dinosaur bones that are still encased in rock. There are no guards or fences so visitors are asked to refrain from damaging the bones.


23.Moab Brewery

Moab Brewery
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Founded in 1996 by John Borkoski and Dave Sabey, the Moab Brewery is the region’s only microbrewery, producing a range of ales on tap as well as a root beer.

Naming their ales after the beautiful surrounding landscapes of the desert, the Moab Brewery produces over 10 brews, including Dead Horse Ale, Red Rye IPA, Derailleur Red Ale, Over the Top Hefeweizen, and Raven Stout, as well as house-made root beer.

Conveniently located on Main Street in Moab, the Moab Brewery also has a popular restaurant that serves lunch and dinner with classic pub-style fare such as steaks, burgers, chicken dishes, pasta, and salads, as well as a vibrant bar that draws a crowd on the weekends to sample the brewery’s products and socialize.

686 S. Main Street, Moab, Utah, Phone: 435-259-6333


24.Moab Rock Shop

Moab Rock Shop
© Moab Rock Shop

The Moab Rock Shop is a retail store and museum that specializes in selling and displaying a wide variety of geological objects including crystals, dinosaur bones, fossils, gemstones, meteorites, mineral specimens, pieces of petrified wood, and much more. The shop also contains antiques, books, maps, and tools such as binoculars, gold pans, and rock hammers.

Some of the fossils include a dinosaur egg nest, dinosaur eggs, fern fossils, mammoth bones, trilobites, and more. The shop is also known as “Lin Ottinger’s Moab Rock Shop.” Mr. Ottinger, who opened the shop and museum in 1960, is well known for having discovered a new species of dinosaur in 1973, which was named after him: iguanadon ottinger.

600 North Main Street, Moab, Utah, Phone: 435-259-7312


25.Bird Watching in the Scott Matheson Wetlands Preserve

Bird Watching in the Scott Matheson Wetlands Preserve
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The Scott Matheson Wetlands Preserve is one of several places in the Moab area known for excellent bird watching. Birds that are unique to the Southwest are found here among the arches, canyons, mountains, s, and wetlands around Moab. The Scott Matheson Wetlands Preserve consists of 875 acres of wetlands, including marsh and open water.

There are more than 225 species of birds that have been seen at the preserve, and, although the bird watching is good anytime of the year, migration season is best. The preserve can easily be visited from downtown Moab.

More vacation ideas: 25 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Utah.



25 Best Things to Do in Moab, Utah



Glamping in Moab, Utah

Glamping, which is a term that originated in the United Kingdom and blends together the words ‘glamor’ and ‘camping’ is becoming increasingly popular all around the world. It offers a lot of benefits, letting people appreciate the thrills of getting out in natural areas and enjoying the freedom of camping while also taking advantage of modern amenities and services like comfortable beds, running water, electricity, Wi-Fi, and more. Glamping is a great alternative to camping, providing the same fun experiences without any of the inconvenient sides like having to set up your own tent or try to get some rest in an uncomfortable sleeping bag.

There are plenty of great locations to enjoy glamping around the United States, and the city of Moab in the state of Utah is definitely one of the best. Highly popular with outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds, especially those interested in hiking, climbing, and mountain biking, Moab is perfectly situated in close proximity to two major national parks: Arches and Canyonlands. The area around Moab is known for its distinctive, beautiful rock formations, and there are countless trails and natural sites to enjoy and discover. In short Moab is a prime spot for glamping and has a couple of great glamping sites to choose from.

Glamping in Moab can be enjoyed at any time of year, as one of the best advantages of glamping is that your accommodation is safe against the elements, with warm beds and electricity at all times of year. The most popular times to visit are from early spring through to late fall, with temperatures during this period ranging from mild to very hot. The area doesn't see much rainfall through these months either, so it’s a great time to get outdoors and take in the beauty of the local parks and natural spaces.

Glamping is growing in popularity and we can expect to see more and more glamping sites in Moab in the future. For now, there are two key locations to choose from if you’re looking to enjoy some glamping in this location. Read on to learn some key details and brief overviews of the best glamping locations in Moab, Utah.

Right near the city of Moab is Dead Horse State Park. It's not quite as big as the nearby Arches and Canyonlands national parks, but it still has a lot to offer and is a beautiful spot to enjoy some Moab glamping. The Moenkopi Yurts offer an exciting, authentic way to enjoy the stunning scenery of this location. With dramatic views of the Canyonlands National Park and Colorado River, Dead Horse Point is a must-visit Moab location.

There are five yurts in total for a truly private, intimate experience for you and your friends or family. These yurts are situated at high elevations that provide excellent views of the sunrise and sunsets in the area, and also come complete with private spurs to the Intrepid Trail System, offering the perfect base camp for your Moab outdoor adventures. Each yurt can house six people and comes with a bunk bed and futon. Outdoor grills allow you to cook up some tasty food and the yurts are also equipped with heating, air con, and electricity, with restrooms just a short walk away.

Dead Horse Point State Park, UT-313, Moab, UT 84532, Phone: 800-322-3770

Attraction Spotlight: Museum of Moab

The Museum of Moab is dedicated to exploring, preserving and displaying artifacts and information about the natural and cultural history of the Moab area. Founded in 1958, the Museum of Moab explores over 250 million years of Moab's natural and cultural history through an array of galleries, exhibits and displays across several fields, including geology, paleontology, archeology, mining and the pioneers of Moab, Utah.

The Geology of Moab

The Geology of Moab reveals the 500-million-year-old multi-layered history of the surrounding desert environment and how it was once a marine environment and dense green swamp that was home to dinosaurs. The exhibit features the Virginia Fossey Room which presents the various stages of the region’s geology and climate with samples of fossils and rocks; an incredible 55-square foot, a three-dimensional topographical map of the area carved by John Urbanek; and displays of the collapsed salt anticlines of the Moab Valley and Castle Valley.

The Paleontology of Moab

The Paleontology of Moab features an exciting collection of items found in the rock formations of the Moab area, including a full cast skeleton of Gastonia, an armored dinosaur that inhabited this area during the Early Cretaceous Period, and the real tail and pelvis of a 40-foot-long plant eater known as a Camarasaurus, that lived in the area during the Late Jurassic Period. Other fascinating displays include cast hind leg of a carnivorous dinosaur referred to as an Utahraptor, imprints of dinosaur tracks, and petrified sections of cycads and conifer trees from the Late Triassic and Late Jurassic Periods.

Other exhibits in the Virginia Fossey room include a display dedicated to the Mesozoic Era, the age of dinosaurs with beautifully illustrated panels and a partial section of vertebrae bones from a sauropod, Camarasaurus.

The Archeology of Moab

The Archeology of Moab features evidence of 12,000 years of continuous human occupation in the Moab region across five human cultures, namely Archaic Hunter/Gatherer, Ancestral Puebloan (Anasazi), Fremont, Ute cultures, and Navajo cultures. Interesting pieces include arrowheads, baskets, clothing, pottery, and other artifacts.

Mining

The Museum of Moab shows how mining has touched and had an influence on all areas of Moab, ranging from the 1950’s uranium boom to the massive salt deposits which are three miles thick and radiate outwards for hundreds of miles from Moab and has a maximum thickness of three miles.

Pioneers

The Pioneers Gallery explores the history of Moab’s first permanent settlers who arrived in the region via the Old Spanish Trail in the mid-1870s and showcases how they lived in the early years of the town. Interesting artifacts and items on display include a 19th-century wood-fired cook stove, an old rocking cradle, a treadle-style sewing machine with old patterns, and beautiful steamer trunk with handmade quilts. Musically-inclined visitors can try their hand on an old Pickering upright piano, which was first piano to be brought into the Moab Valley.

The Museum of Moab offers a variety of educational programs for both adults and students, including workshops, classes, lectures, symposiums and other special events. The Museum also offers Experiential Education Centers (EEC) for grades kindergarten through six grade, which provides an interactive, hands-on approach to local history through fun-filled educational lessons, games, and activities.

The Museum of Moab features a collection of over 15,000 documents, artifacts, photos and other historical items from southeastern Utah, some of which are on display or stored in the library or the collections room.

The Museum is also home to an extensive library of books from fictional to historical relating to the history of the Moab Area and the surrounding South West. These books are for research purposes only and can be viewed by appointment only. The Museum also preserves over 50,000 slides, negatives, and photos in its Photo Archives section, which is also available for research by appointment.

118 E. Center Street Moab, UT 84532 , Phone: 435-259–7985

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Attraction Spotlight: Grand Staircase - Escalante National Monument

The Escalante National Monument, located in southern Utah, is one of the most recently mapped locations in the 48 contiguous states of the U.S., declared protected in 1996 and consisting of the Grand Staircase, the Canyons of Escalante, and the Kaiparowits Plateau. Visitors can view sweeping vistas of unique stepped erosion and ongoing excavations of previously undiscovered civilizations, stay in campgrounds of different levels of ruggedness and convenience, hike or take tours of Hell’s Backbone, Coyote Gulch, and Calf Creek Falls, go off-roading, horseback riding, and fishing.

History

The area of the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument was formed over the span of at least 75 million years from various processes of erosion and tectonic shifts. Plateaus of the Grant Staircase, the ridge of the Kaiparowits and the Escalante Canyons all owe their formation to ancient erosion over millions of years.

Human settlement of the area began in prehistory in 500 AD, when Pueblo and Fremont peoples dwelled there. During this time the Fremont people will have been a hunter gatherer society and evidence was found that they lived approximate to the Escalante Valley. Ancestral Puebloans were a agrarian people and had their farms and homes in among the canyons. Rock art and ruins of brush houses and natural rock shelters are found in the area.

Following this, it was discovered again by Colonial explorers in 1871 and then again in 1879 by the San Juan Expedition, which famously traversed the length through the use of explosives and a pulley system for the transport of their animals and wagon.

Its cartography was not known by civilization until after being declared a national monument in 1996, after which began excavations, the mapping of trails, and tourism. Since then, excavations have uncovered both civilizational artifacts as well as paleontological findings of fossils dating back 75 million years.

Permanent Habitats

The Grand Staircase is a natural museum of ancient geological, paleontological, and civilizational history. Erosion has created a great number of canyons and interesting formations, and enthusiasts will be at no loss for hiking options. Outdoor recreation strenuous and relaxing both are in abundance throughout this 7000+ square kilometers of preserved land. The whole of the national monument area encompasses three distinct areas: Grand Staircase, Kaiparowits Plateau, and Escalante Canyon.

Grand Staircase- A veritable collection of plateaus starting at Bryce Canyon and heading southward in the direction of the Grand Canyon, the Grand Staircase is a geologically progressive land formation including many high vertical drops. Herein is included the Pink Cliffs, White Cliffs, Grey Cliffs, Chocolate Cliffs and Vermillion Cliffs.

Kaiparowits Plateau- Also called the Fifty Mile Mountain, the Kaiparowits Plateau stretches from Escalante all the way to Glen Canyon and its Colorado River. This is the longest, most dominant ridge of the national park and is right in the center. Ascendable from the western and southern sides, the ridge is nine thousand feet off the ground and boasts a collection of fossils from the Late Cretaceous period, still in active excavation.

Canyons of the Escalante- A name for a collection of landforms carved by the Escalante River and its various tributaries, named Escalante River Basin. It is within the Escalante Canyons that the majority of hiking trails are found due to its many high canyon walls, slot canyons, rainwater sandstone depressions known as "waterpockets," domes, natural arches, hoodoos, and bridges. It spans 1,500 miles squared and reaches a height of over 11,000 ft in places, making it a major location for small ecosystems, excavations, and hiking trails for locals and tourists to get lost in.

Hiking Trails- along the GSENM, hikers have many trails of varying difficulty to choose from. Hikers can take tours along many of these trails or rough it on their own, stopping at basecamps and other campgrounds along the way to rest and rejuvenate.

- Golden Cathedral- Located in the aptly named Neon Canyon, the so-named Cathedral consists of three large arches carved by water runoff from a domed area above. The effect produces dramatic lighting and photogenic scenery and a pool below that is deep enough to wade and swim depending on the season.

- Calf Creek Falls- This was used as a calf pen in the end of the 1800s and beginning of the 1900s and is so named. It is a massive waterfall with lush with prehistoric art and beaver ponds leading into a hidden clearing of colorful pools.

- Death Hollow- Known for its drama and flair, this hiking trail stretches all the way from Boulder, Utah to Escalante River, crossing 6.6 miles and requires shuttle pickup to get started. With its striking depiction, it is so named for sharp canyons, narrow gorges, and great length.

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- Coyote Gulch- An extensive hike that snakes along red rocks and reaches the Escalante River in a wending pass of switchbacks. It can be taken in a single day of intense marching or enjoyed leisurely with an overnight hike. There are arches and wetlands along the way for variety and photography.

- Forty-Mile Gulch- Just eastwards from Hole-in-the-Rock Road and southward from Coyote Gulch lies this mazelike trail. Full of smaller gulches and canyons that grow ever narrower, this hike has several different available routes to explore of varying difficulty. Many of the routes give an opportunity to wade and swim through the canyons and will be appealing to those who enjoy a variety of terrain to cross.

- Little Death Hollow- A hike through the 8-mile-long canyon, this trail starts in a Circle Cliffs spot southward from Wolverine Petrified Wood. This takes hikers through the nearby slot canyon and has many options for hiking on both there and back. It ends somewhere in the slot canyon and most travelers turn back once they reach it.

- Round Valley Draw- A slot canyon tucked away southeast from Cannonville and just inside the GSENM, this is a shorter trail that feels like spelunking for visitors, as it's partially enclosed for the bulk of the route. With high canyon walls that soar into the sky, the trail is darker and more relaxed, appropriate for a casual exploration.

- Peek A Boo Slot Canyon- Peek-a-Boo Gulch is in Dry Fork on Hole-in-the-Rock Road. A slot canyon shorter than most, it does not take long to traverse and can be a more casual experience. However, it will ask its visitors to climb across some easier chutes and twists, and this will need some navigation and basic rock-scrambling.

- Spooky Gulch- Not for the claustrophobic, Spooky Gulch is another smaller slot canyon that gets incredibly dark deep into the slots. For visitors who enjoy hiking through dark, short treks, this is a good one to hike along with Peek-a-Boo Gulch to create a cool, isolated loop.

- Escalante River- A tributary from the Colorado River, Escalante River makes for a good wading hiking trail in dryer months as it leads from Lake Powell to Glen Canyon. During the wetter months it is used as a tubing and kayaking destination spot.

Excavations- The Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument is often the site of new excavations and archaeological digs. Its discovery has yielded more ecosystem change information in relation to prehistoric eras than anywhere else on the planet. As a remote location of such immense magnitude and resources, it is an untapped frontier for education, research and exploration. Here paleontologists, geologists, historians, and archeologists continually find new discoveries.

Special Events

The Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument is a wide-open sandbox for celebration and exploration, and local companies celebrate local and national holidays here every year. Local cattle ranches within the wide protected zone offer cattle drive vacations for adventurous visitors to experience the rugged west. In addition, tourists can book horse riding events in advance to create special events for groups upon visiting the GSENM.

Through local tour companies, visitors can book guided tours to help them find their way through the winding paths and complex trails. Tour guides are available for climbing help, navigation, and their survival and supply expertise on longer hiking trails. More informative and educational tours can be taken that take visitors through the local excavation areas where publicly viewable dinosaur fossils during excavation can be seen.

Dining and Shopping

Though the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument itself does not host specific dining options, it is surrounded by the nearby towns of Glendale, Kanab, and Big water to the southwest, and stretches all the way to Boulder and Escalante up northeast. Local towns to the GSENM benefit from hiking and historical tourism to the protected site and offer many restaurants with local cuisine.

At base camps, local tour companies, and within nearby towns, there are supply shops available. Here hikers can stock up on needed supplies, including the most current maps of the mazes of trails, for their long recreational journeys. In addition, fishing enthusiasts will find bait and tackle shops nearby benefitting from the tourism to the local Escalante River Basin, and Jeep rental is available for off-roading.

745 U.S. 89, Kanab, UT 84741, Phone: 800-444-6689

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