Moab, Utah: An Epic Destination in Any Season
Moab, Utah, usually conjures images of warm, sunny days spent among awe-inspiring landscapes of unique red rock. While summer is the most popular time to visit, the city and surrounding desert are brimming with exciting activities year-round. New adventures ebb and flow with the area’s hot summer days and mild winter months. Read on to explore the best aspects of visiting during each season and discover the ideal time for your trip.
Spring | March–May
As days get longer and the red rock starts to warm, travelers from around the world visit Moab to shake off a cold winter. Midday temperatures generally reach 70ºF, making spring perfect for getting outside.
The trails come alive with wildflowers, so be sure to pack your hiking boots. Trails like Delicate Arch, Grandstaff Canyon, and Corona Arch should be on every hiker’s to-do list. Mountain bikers can’t miss the famed Slickrock Trail or the Moab Brand trail network, both of which are usually in great condition come springtime. To add a little more adrenaline to your trip, schedule a four-wheeling tour with one of the guides in town. Downtown Moab is full of locally owned outfitters, art galleries, and restaurants–spend an evening wandering through town for a taste of the local lifestyle.
Summer | June–August
During the hotter summer months, temperatures can climb over 100ºF, so it’s best to plan activities for the early morning or evening. Long summer days lend themselves well to packed itineraries; just make sure you have plenty of water and sun protection. Then, stay up late to stargaze; Moab’s night skies are some of the darkest in the world.
Escape the heat by camping at Warner Lake Campground in the La Sal Mountains, where you’ll have easy access to less-traveled trails. Or, head to the Colorado River to cool down with kayaking, whitewater rafting, or a relaxing moonlight cruise.
Fall | September–November
Once fall comes around, Moab is in full bloom. The river has warmed, higher elevation trails are thawed, and temperatures drop to a comfortable 70ºF. It’s a great time to hit the trails, visit the national parks, and camp along the Colorado River under Moab Canyon’s commanding red cliffs. Mountain bikers can generally access all of the popular Whole Enchilada Trail, along with other higher elevation trails.
In the Manti-La Sal National Forest, the trees start to take on their vivid fall colors. For an experience you can’t find any other time of year, take a scenic drive on the La Sal Mountain Loop Road. It’s 63 miles in length and takes nearly two hours to drive. Pack a picnic and take your time, the forest is incredible during the fall months.
Winter | December–February
Winter in Moab may be one of the city’s best kept secrets. The crowds dissipate and the red rock looks spectacular under snow. You’ll likely also find great rates on accommodations during off-peak season. With temperatures between 40ºF and 50ºF, the crisp air will be invigorating as you hike trails you’ll practically have all to yourself.
Fisher Towers Trail in particular is a beautiful and accessible winter hiking option. Plus, the drive upHighway 128 provides unbeatable views of snowcapped red rock. Afterwards, spend some time exploring Arches and Canyon lands National Parks to see the most popular landmarks without the crowds.
Moab is an oasis for outdoor recreation any time of year. No matter when you choose to visit, you’re sure to create an adventure you’ll always remember. Visit DiscoverMoab.com to start planning your trip and to learn how to recreate responsibly.
The author of 5 books, 3 of which are New York Times bestsellers. I’ve been published in more than 100 newspapers and magazines and am a frequent commentator on NPR.