Make the most of Moab
Special to the Daily
If higher temperatures and stunning red rocks aren’t enough to inspire a four-hour drive from Summit County to Moab, leave it to the recreation. The high desert area is a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts, offering terrain for all those who are looking to play hard and enjoy the ride.
As one of the most popular destinations of the Southwest, Moab offers a gateway to world-famous mountain biking, hiking, off-road excursions and whitewater rafting. The area is also home to two national parks and three scenic byways.
Jamie Pearce, manager at Moab Adventure Center, has lived in Moab full time for nine years. She said it’s the area’s uniqueness that draws so many visitors and that there’s a little something for everyone.
“There is so much activity for a broad spectrum of interests,” she said. “Besides the natural beauty, there is just so much to do; it’s just an awe-inspiring piece of the country.”
Rest weary wheels
As much fun in the sun as you will be having during the day, be sure to secure a place to catch some rest. Michele Hill, with the Moab Area Travel Council, said although hotels, motels and camping are options, visitors may be interested in a more hospitable stay.
“Moab has other accommodation sources to consider: condos, guest houses, bed-and-breakfasts and two ranch resorts on the Colorado River,” she said.
Sorrel River Ranch Hotel & Spa is located 17 miles outside of Moab, but the luxurious retreat will make for a revitalizing time amid your hours of rigorous or scenic adventures. Indulge in a spa treatment or yoga class, and visit the onsite fine dining establishments, The River Grill Restaurant and the River Deck, for fantastic views with a pairing of fresh and local cuisine.
For those who find nourishment and vitality in their adventures alone, accommodations may be an afterthought. Many affordable lodging options are available in the heart of town, such as Big Horn Lodge and Red Stone Inn, and campsites can be found close by or in more remote areas.
Hill said Moab’s commercial campgrounds generally provide amenities such as electrical hookups, flushing toilets, Wi-Fi and swimming pools. She said sites at Dead Horse Point State Park and Arches National Park can be reserved online. First-come, first-served camping can be found on Bureau of Land Management sites and Canyonlands National Park and Forest Service lands, costing an average of $15 per night.
The area is revered for its mountain biking, although many experienced riders seem to have taken an air of “already been done” to the trails.
“For all those who may revert to that hackneyed expression, ‘been there, done that,’ for Moab mountain biking, here’s an update: Moab Trail Mix is a volunteer organization that builds dirt trails for Moab; 46 miles were added in 2011, 40.2 miles added in 2012, and this year, we are at 14.2 miles with several trails still in approval stages,” Hill said.
She also pointed out there are networks of trails that can be accessed from a single parking lot, such as the Klondike Buff Area and Moab Brands Focus Area, so bikers of different abilities can enjoy biking together while riding apart.
A place to play
Hikers can also find a wide network of trails for all ability levels. Day hikes around Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park are extremely popular, as well as many other area alternatives such as Hidden Valley and Hunter Canyon.
“The Island in the Sky District in Canyonlands National Park offers trails ranging from 30-minute walks on the mesa top to overnight treks all the way down to the Colorado River,” Hill said. “Great hiking, however, doesn’t end with our national parks.”
Hill said Arches and Canyonlands national parks are open. The visitor centers and campgrounds are open.
Friends and families can enjoy the great outdoors from the seat of a raft or through the window of a Hummer. Guide companies such as Moab Adventure Center, and a multitude of others, will host you in mountain biking, horseback riding, off-road safaris, stand-up paddleboard and raft trips, national park tours, canyoneering, rock climbing, zip-lining, hot air balloon rides and scenic airplane rides.
The area’s warm climate makes it popular for a number of year-round outdoor events and festivals, and the downtown area has several notable galleries, shops and restaurants.
“Moab’s diverse cuisine will please any palate, from regional Southwestern fare to world-class gourmet,” states the Discover Moab website. “Stoll through the downtown shops for a great selection of Southwestern arts and jewelry, souvenirs, t-shirts and much more.”
Hill said to pick up a Moab Menu Guide, a free publication, to take a look at a range of dining options. Check out the Moab Diner, Desert Bistro and the Moab Brewery for a sampling of tempting tastes.
“Live music is available often,” she said. “Find Moab’s newspapers, The Times Independent or Moab Sun News, which regularly include an entertainment section.”
Pearce said to try to experience a wide variety of things in the area. She said families will enjoy Hummer safaris and ropes courses, as well as moderate levels of mountain biking and rock climbing.
“Moab is family friendly — especially with children over 5,” she said. “It’s one of those places that crosses over a lot of different angles of the spectrum, so there’s tons to do.”
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