After a recent trip to Utah’s beautiful Moab, I have simply fallen in love. The quaint town and vibrant red rock are enough to draw in even the pickiest of vacationers. If you haven’t been to Moab yet, or even if you have, be sure to check out these incredible landmarks the desert has to offer.
SAND DUNE ARCH
Located in Arches National Park, Sand Dune Arch is an extremely short hike that comes in at about .4 miles. A perfect spot for little ones, or those who aren’t ready to venture too far from the comfort of air conditioning. The hike to the arch itself was intriguing on its own with beach-like sand and slots to climb through. Shade along the way helps with the heat, and at the end you are met with a gorgeous arch right in front of your eyes. You can walk under it, and even let the kids play in the sand while you relax under the sun–working on your Chaco tan of course. A simple yet enjoyable hike that should be on everyone’s itinerary.
An overly simple day hike, or swimming location, Millcreek is great for children (or adults) of all ages. A small stream emerges from the La Sal mountains, and is the perfect spot for cooling down after a long day in the National Parks. To find the trailhead, turn East onto Center Street from Downtown Moab. At 400 East turn right, until you hit MillCreek Drive. Make a left until it junctions with Sand Flats Road, and continue right on MillCreek road to Powerhouse Lane. Turn left and drive to the end where you will find a large gravel parking lot, and a BLM sign. At this point you can start the actual 1.4 mile trail into the small canyon, or just make your way to the easily identifiable river for a relaxing afternoon. Swimming holes, small cliffs, and clear waters are sure to make this a return destination for all who visit.
Murphy Trail via Hogsback
Aimed at the more adventurous (and experienced) hiker, this primitive hike will take you far from the overcrowding and industrial tourism, and deep into the heart of Canyonlands. Starting at the Murphy Point trailhead, begin the one mile warm-up until you reach the fork, and then turn left. After a little ways along a thin, relatively boring trail, you find yourself along the top of a mesa, and see the incredible valleys of Canyonlands. Here is where the fun begins. After reveling in the view, you start the 1000 foot descent out of the Island in the Sky. Be cautious of your footing, and keep an eye out for the well marked cairns. When you reach the bottom, you can either head left to finish the loop via the wash or head right to take the hogsback. From personal experience, the hogsback was pleasant walking with fantastic views of rocks, lizards, and native plants. After about four or five more miles you can turn around, or finish the Lollipop loop. Backcountry passes can be obtained from the visitors center if you choose to stay a night or two. The sunset in the afternoon is absolutely breathtaking, and is arguably what makes the entire trip worth it. Before you head back up to the top, grab a quick bite to eat, and remember to keep a positive mindset. It seems daunting from the bottom, but when you get to the top, you’ll feel so fulfilled and might even go so far as to say it really wasn’t that bad.
Bar M Mountain Bike Trails
Located right off the freeway and only ten minutes from town, these mountain biking trails offer a wide range of difficulty for anyone who hopes to see Moab in a new perspective. Well marked with trail signs and maps at every turn, you’re bound to have fun here. Slickrock, sand, and plenty of downhill set these single tracks apart from anything you’ve encountered before. Make sure to bring plenty of food and water, as well as spare tubes and bike tools.
Pasta Jays & Crystal’s Cakes and Cones
This is not nature related, nor is it a paid advertisement. However with that being said, I feel it is definitely worth including. Pasta Jays on Main Street is quite possibly the most delicious and authentic italian food I have ever eaten. Reasonably priced with a fantastic staff, you should definitely grab a bite to eat here. The menu includes any and all kinds of pasta and pizza, as well as salads, and a sophisticated wine menu. Their renowned stuffed shells and tortellini are to die for. Afterwards, head right across the street to Crystal’s Cakes and Cones for a delicious, old school ice cream cone that will catapult you right back to your high school days.
My name is Ashlyn, I’m eighteen years old, and I’ve worked at Rec Outlet for more than a year now. Some of my favorite things to do are explore, backpack, snowboard, and rock climb with friends.
Written by Ashlyn Morton, Recreation Outlet, American Fork Location