Since moving to Denver, Co we have been able to take a few fun long weekend trips to Moab, Utah, and explore the beautiful parks and area. The drive is phenomenal and it is not too long of a drive from where we are currently living. For those not familiar with Moab, it is a city in Grand County, in eastern Utah, and is the county seat and largest city in Grand County. Moab attracts a large number of tourists every year, mostly visitors to the nearby Arches and Canyonlands National Parks.
South of the Colorado River, Moab is 18 miles west of the Utah/Colorado state line, 31 miles south of Interstate 70 at Crescent Junction, 54 miles north of Monticello, and 46 miles southwest of Cisco. The town is at an elevation of 4,025 feet and is a popular base for mountain bikers who ride the extensive network of trails including Slickrock Trail, and off-roaders who come for the annual Moab Jeep Safari.
There are A LOT of red rocks and sand, which I love, and makes it feel like you are in a different world, lol. It is truly amazing to drive to Moab and stop along the way to look at the breathtaking Colorado River as it winds its way through Utah to Colorado. We always stop to take a few minutes to enjoy the views on our way into the city. It is always so peaceful.
While there is A LOT to do in Moab, here are a few of the top things we like to do while in the beautiful city. Here is a link to their website with more information if you are planning your own trip in the future.
Arches National Park
The park is located on the Colorado River 4 miles (6 km) north of Moab, Utah. It is known for containing over 2,000 natural sandstone arches, including the world-famous Delicate Arch, in addition to a variety of unique geological resources and formations. Located just outside Moab, Utah, this park is 76,679 acres in area. Its highest elevation is 5,653 feet at Elephant Butte, and its lowest elevation is 4,085 feet at the visitor center. Forty-three arches are known to have collapsed since 1977. The park receives 10 inches of rain a year on average. Administered by the National Park Service, the area was originally named a National Monument on April 12, 1929. It was re-designated as a National Park on November 12, 1971.
Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands Park is located in southeastern Utah near the town of Moab. It preserves a colorful landscape eroded into countless canyons, mesas, and buttes by the Colorado River, the Green River, and their respective tributaries. Legislation creating the park was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson on September 12, 1964. It is divided into four districts: the Island in the Sky, the Needles, the Maze, and the combined rivers—the Green and Colorado—which carved two large canyons into the Colorado Plateau. While these areas share a primitive desert atmosphere, each retains its own character. Author Edward Abbey, a frequent visitor, described the Canyonlands as “the most weird, wonderful, magical place on earth—there is nothing else like it anywhere
Dead Horse Point
Featuring a dramatic overlook of the Colorado River and Canyonlands National Park, the park covers 5,362 acres of high desert at an altitude of 5,900 feet. The park has several overlooks, a visitor center, a 21-site campground, a group campsite, one picnic area, and a 9-mile loop hiking trail with two cutovers to allow shorter trips. Bikes in the park are allowed on paved roads, and there is a mountain bike trail called Intrepid Trail near the State Park Visitor’s Center with loops of varying levels of difficulty. Hunting is not allowed in the park. The park is so named because of its use as a natural corral by cowboys in the 19th century, where horses often died of exposure. Dead Horse Point has frequently been noted on lists of unusual place names. The area was also used in the final ‘Grand Canyon’ scene of the 1991 film Thelma & Louise
If you are not into the parks (or just tired from the heat, lol) there are a few wonderful museums to check out.
Moab Giants Dinosaur Park
At this museum, you will journey back through time, via 3D cinema into the prehistoric world. During your visit you will get to roam the extraordinary landscape they called home, as evidenced by the huge concentration of fossilized tracks found all around the area. The trail is a half-mile-long with more than 130, state-of-the-art, full-size reconstructions of dinosaurs and the tracks they made in the area. Looks pretty cool to me 🙂
Through exhibits and programs, guests will learn about the first inhabitants of the Moab Valley as well as its geology and uranium mining. These cultural and historical museum exhibits span many facets of Moab’s past, present, and future. Looks like a great place to visit if you are into history or just want to know more about the area.
Film Museum at Red Cliffs Ranch
As the area is so beautiful, it is not surprising that it has been in many movies, films, etc. The museum houses memorabilia from the early films to the present and is ever-changing. Movie and western ranching themes are present throughout the resort. The museum is self-guided and open to the public daily at no charge. Here is a list of some of those movies filmed in and around Moab:
- 2014 – Need for Speed – Location: Fossil Point
- 2014 – Transformers: Age of Extinction – Locations: Hole in the Rock
- 2013 – The Lone Ranger – Locations: Fossil Point and surrounding area, Hwy 279, Goldbar Campground, Professor Valley
- 2013 – After Earth – Locations: Fossil Point and surrounding area
- 2010 – John Carter – Locations: Lake Powell, Hanksville, Fossil Point and surrounding area, Hwy 279, Dead Horse Point, Fisher Towers
- 2010 – Guns, Girls, and Gambling – Locations: Seven Mile Canyon and surrounding area
- 2010 – 127 Hours – Locations: Blue John Canyon, Horseshoe Canyon, Sand Flats Recreation Area, Green River, Moab Regional Hospital
- 2008 – Star Trek – Locations: San Rafael Swell
- 2007 – All the Days Before Tomorrow – Locations: Highway 128, Arches National Park, Moab
- 2007 – The Canyon – Locations: Seven Mile Canyon
- 2002 – Austin Powers 3 – Hwy 128 near Hittle Bottom, Hwy. 279 Wall Street, Hwy 313
- 2001 – Touched by an Angel – Locations: Dead Horse Point State Park, SR-313
- 2000 – Nurse Betty – Locations: Highways 128 and 279, Arches National Park
- 1999 – Vertical Limit – Location: Monument Valley
- 1999 – The Adventures of Joe Dirt – Location: Dead Horse Point State Park
- 1999 – Mission Impossible II – Location: Dead Horse Point State Park
- 1998 – Galaxy Quest – Locations: Goblin Valley State Park, Little Wild Horse Canyon
- 1998 – Chill Factor – Locations: Monument Valley, Castle Valley, SR-279
- 1997 – Lost Treasure of Dos Santos – Locations: Onion Creek, Flat Pass, Bates Ranch
- 1996 – Con-Air – Locations: Air shots over Dead Horse Point State Park, Canyonlands National Park, Monument Valley, and Lake Powell
- 1996 – Breakdown – Locations: Professor Valley, SR 313, Texaco Station off Highway 191
- 1995 – Riders of the Purple Sage – Locations: Dugout Ranch (main set), Flat Pass, Mill Creek Canyon, Kane Springs Road, Ten Mile area, and Pucker Pass
- 1995 – Larger Than Life – Locations: Harley Bates (Dole) Ranch (Mexican village set), Shafer Trail, Professor Valley, off Highways 191 and 313, Green River City, Floy Wash, Dunes
- 1994 – The Great American West – Locations: Monument Valley, Ida Gulch, Hauer Ranch, Fossil Point, Pucker Pass, Hook ‘n Ladder area
- 1993 – Lightning Jack – Locations: Fisher Towers, San Juan County
- 1993 – Geronimo: An American Legend – Locations: Professor Valley, Potash Trail, Potash Plant, Needles Overlook area, Sand Dunes off Ruby Ranch Road, Bates Ranch, Lawson Ranch, Onion Creek
- 1993 – City Slickers II: The Search for Curly’s Gold – Locations: Dugout Ranch, Fisher Towers, Onion Creek
- 1992 – Slaughter of the Innocents – Locations: Castle Rock, Onion Creek, Marie Ogden Settlement
- 1992 – Knights – Locations: Pucker Pass, Long Canyon, Professor Valley, La Sal Mountains, Needles Overlook
- 1990 – Thelma and Louise – Locations: Shafer Overlook, Arches National Park, La Sal, Cisco, Thompson Springs, Valley City Fossil Point
- 1988 – Sundown: Vampires in Retreat – Locations: Thompson Springs, Moab (Spanish Valley), Hittle Bottom, Arches National Park
- 1988 – Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade – Locations: Arches National Park, Sevenmile Canyon
- 1987 – Nightmare at Noon – Locations: Moab City, Ken’s Lake, Arches National Park, Colorado River
- 1985 – MacGyver – Locations: Dead Horse Point State Park, Shafer Overlook
- 1984 – Choke Canyon – Locations: Moab, Onion Creek, Professor Valley, Sand Flats, Dead Horse Point State Park, Byrd’s Ranch, Squaw Park
- 1982 – Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone – Locations: Kane Creek, Bull Canyon, Colorado River, Potash, lower Shafer Trail, Grey Hills
- 1975 – Against a Crooked Sky – Locations: Professor Valley, Colorado River, Castle Valley, Arches National Park, Dead Horse Point State Park
- 1967 – Blue – Locations: Professor Valley, Colorado River, Sevenmile Canyon, La Sal, Sand Flats, Redd’s Ranch, Woods’ Ranch
- 1966 – Wild Rovers – Locations: Arches National Park, Monument Valley
- 1964 – Rio Conchos – Locations: White’s Ranch, Castle Valley, Professor Valley, Arches National Park, Dead Horse Point State Park
- 1963 – The Greatest Story Ever Told – Locations: Island in the Sky, Green River Overlook
- 1963 – Cheyenne Autumn – Locations: White’s Ranch, Castle Valley, Professor Valley, Colorado River, Fisher Canyon, Arches National Park, Monument Valley, Mexican Hat
- 1961 – Comancheros – Locations: Professor Valley, Dead Horse Point State Park, Kings Bottom, La Sal Mountains, Fisher Valley, Onion Creek
- 1959 – Ten Who Dared – Locations: Big Bend of the Colorado River, White’s Ranch, Arches National Park, Dead Horse Point State Park
- 1958 – Warlock – Locations: Professor Valley, Dead Horse Point State Park, King’s Bottom, White’s Ranch, Arches, Sand Flats
- 1953 – Taza, Son of Cochise – Locations: White’s Ranch, Castle Valley, Professor Valley.
- 1950 – Rio Grande – Locations: White’s Ranch, Ida Gulch, Professor Valley, Colorado River, Onion Creek Narrows.
- 1949 – Wagon Master – Locations: Professor Valley, Colorado River, Spanish Valley.
We always enjoy a visit to Moab and look forward to future trips learning more about the area and exploring more of its natural beauty and wonders. If you have been, please share a comment below and let me know what you enjoyed most on your visit.
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