If you're simply passing through Moab, you might be forgiven for assuming it's just another road trip pit-stop, but you'd be wrong. So very wrong.

Not only is Moab home to some of America's best mountain biking, its backyard is stuffed with arches, natural bridges, towers, mesas, canyons and so much more. Otherworldly landscapes, panoramic vistas and iconic landmarks all invite hikers to hit the trail and take in a stunning view. Here are ten trails to inspire a visit to Moab, Utah. 

Note: many of the hikes on our list are exposed, offering hikers little in the way of shade. Ensure you carry a sufficient supply of water, wear sunscreen and a hat, and dress in layers (this is the desert after all!) Also, cairns - or rock stacks - are widely used as a form of way-finding. If you lose the trail, look for these indicators to point you in the right direction. 

 

Fisher Towers Trail

moabdvs | Flickr cc by 2.0

Length: 5.2 miles round-trip (8.3 km)
Elevation gain: 650 ft (198 m) 
Difficulty: Moderate
Distance from downtown Moab: 26 miles 

Trailhead: Travelling 21 miles east on Utah 128/US 191 junction, make a right and continue for 2.2 miles along a dirt road. Park in the lot. 

Fisher Towers Trail is an out-and-back route that leads hikers through a maze of fins, pinnacles, minarets, gargoyles, spires, and sandstone towers before ending upon a high ridge that overlooks Onion Creek. Hikers will gaze up in awe as the trail wraps direction below Fisher Towers. The Titan, the largest tower, is especially imposing. Look to the horizon to catch views of the Colorado River, Castle Valley, Fisher Mesa and Book Cliffs. The trail is not technical, though it is a mix of single-track dirt and slickrock. Note: Fisher Towers Trail enjoys western exposure and on summer afternoons, the sun can be especially unrelenting. Bikes are not allowed on this trail but leashed dogs are welcome. 

More informationvisitutah.com/fisher-towers 

 

Hidden Valley Trail

moabBureau of Land Management | Photographer Bob Wick | Fickr cc by 2.0

Length: 4 miles round-trip (6.3 km)
Elevation gain: 680 ft (208 m) 
Difficulty: Moderate
Distance from Moab: 5 miles 

Trailhead: From US 191 and turn right (west) on Angel Rock Road. Drive 2 blocks and turn right on Rimrock Road. Park in the lot.

Hidden Valley Trail is an out-and-back trail that will have your calves burning right from the start. This hike shoots up nearly 600 feet in the first half-mile over a series of switchbacks. It's here that hikers enter Hidden Valley, a shelf between the top of the Moab Rim and Spanish Valley. Continuing on, the trail is even single-track with more tempered grades. Hidden Valley Trail connects with the Moab Rim four-wheel drive trail, giving hikers the opportunity to elongate their hike to the Colorado River. Note: this hike offers little shade. Leashed dogs are welcome. 

More informationvisitutah.com/hidden-valley 

Corona Arch Trail 

Corona ArchMitch Nielsen

Length: 3 miles round-trip (4.8 km)
Elevation gain: 250 ft (76 m) 
Difficulty: Easy
Distance from Moab: 14 miles 

Trailhead: On Utah Scenic Byway 279, 10 miles west of the Utah 279/U.S. 191 junction. Trailhead located on the right side of the parking area. 

Corona Arch Trail is an out-and-back hike that leads to a large Navajo sandstone arch measuring 140 ft x 105 ft. The trail also passes Pinto and Bow Tie Arches. The trail is not technical, and hikers will find cairns marking the route as it passes over expanses of slickrock. This hike requires some scrambling, though a ladder and metal cables have been installed for added support. Be sure to venture with care. Note: this trail offers little shade. In summer, hiking in morning will offer reprieve. Dogs are allowed. 

More informationvisitutah.com/corona-arch 

Grandstaff Canyon Trail

moabJohn Buie | Flickr cc by 2.0

Length: 4 miles round-trip (6.4 km)
Elevation gain: 396 ft (121 m) 
Difficulty: Easy
Distance from Moab: 5.5 miles 

Trailhead: Utah Scenic Byway 128; park in the marked lot

Unlike the exposed trails that populate this list, Grandstaff Canyon brings hikers into a scenic canyon. The trail follows a clear stream for 1.5 miles. At the end, hikers will stand in awe of Morning Glory Natural Bridge. This landmark spans 243 feet, making it the sixth-longest in the country. Bask in the shade of the canyon and its cottonwood trees before heading back the way you arrived. Take care to avoid the poison ivy plants. 

More informationalltrails.com/grandstaff-trail 

Hunter Canyon

Length: 3.4 miles round-trip (5.5 km)
Elevation gain: 250 ft (76 m) 
Difficulty: Easy

Trailhead: Kane Creek Road; see link below

In a land of sun-baked stone, hikers venturing up Hunter Canyon Trail will appreciate cottonwoods, willow, scrub oak and tamarisk. This flora is supported by the pretty stream that runs through the twisting canyon. The trail eventually becomes impassable thanks to overgrown bush. At this point, hikers will want to return the way they came. Dogs are welcome on this trail. 

More informationvisitutah.com/hunter-canyon 


Delicate Arch, 

Arches National Park

Delicate ArchCayetano Gil

Length: 3 miles round-trip (4.8 km)
Elevation gain: 480 ft (146 m) 
Difficulty: Moderate
Distance from Moab: 18 miles 

Trailhead: Delicate Arch Trailhead parking lot

Driving through Utah you will have no doubt noticed the arch that decorates the state license plate. This iconic landmark is Delicate Arch, located in Arches National Park. No visit to Moab would be complete without admiring it in-person. 

From the designated parking lot, the trail steadily climbs, passing Wolfe Ranch Cabin and a wall of Ute Indian petroglyphs. Delicate Arch is not visible until the very end, giving hikers a type of breathtaking grand reveal. Return the same way you arrived. 

Note: this trail is the most popular in Arches National Park and hikers can be greeted by hundreds of tourists upon arrival. Go for sunrise to avoid the crowds and the unrelenting sun. 

More informationnps.gov/arch/delicate-arch 

Landscape Arch, 

Arches National Park

Landscape ArchJennifer Hubbert

Length: 1.6 miles round-trip (2.6 km)
Elevation gain: 249 ft (76 m) 
Difficulty: Easy
Distance from Moab: 23 miles 

Trailhead: Devil's Garden trailhead parking lot

There are many spectacular arches in Arches National Park, but Landscape Arch enjoys the distinction of being the largest. Its opening spans an impressive 290 feet. Landscape Arch Trail is a quick 2.6-km out-and-back trail. The route is well-defined, making it easy to follow and family friendly.  

More informationutah.com/landscape-arch-trail 


Mesa Arch, 

Canyonlands National Park

Mesa Arch

Length: 0.5 miles round-trip (0.8 km)
Elevation gain: 62 ft (19 m) 
Difficulty: Easy
Distance from Moab: 38 miles 

Trailhead: Mesa Arch parking lot just off Grand View Point Rd.

The least athletic endeavour on our list (can we even call it a hike?) leads to Canyonlands National Park's most photogenic landmark: Mesa Arch. The arch itself is perched on the edge of a scenic cliff offering stunning views. Go for sunrise to (try to) shirk the crowds that flock to Mesa Arch. This hike is located in Canyonlands NP's Island in the Sky district. 

More informationutah.com/mesa-arch 

 

Grand View Point Trail, 

Canyonlands National Park

canyonlands national parkDominik Schröder

Length: 2 miles round-trip (3.2 km)
Elevation gain: 173 ft (53 m) 
Difficulty: Easy
Distance from Moab: 34 miles 
Trailhead: Grand View Point Road; park in the lot.

This flat, easy trail meanders atop the edge of Island in the Sky Mesa (aptly named as it stands like an island enveloped by a sea of expansive canyonland), offering up no shortage of panoramic views. A short-but-sweet trail, there's no reason to rush this hike; bring a picnic while you eat up the incredible views. Note: if you lose the trail, follow the stone cairns. Take care not to venture close to the cliff edges of the mesa. 

More informationutah.com/grand-view-trail 

 

Syncline Loop Trail, 

Canyonlands National Park

moabKen Lund | Flickr cc by sa 2.0

Length: 8 miles round-trip (12.8 km)
Elevation gain: 1,300 ft (392 m) 
Difficulty: Challenging
Distance from Moab: 44 miles 
Trailhead: Follow Upheaval Dome Road to its terminus. 

Another stunning hike in Island of the Sky district, Syncline Loop Trail is a strenuous hike that leads hikers around Upheaval Dome. The trail is fairly well-marked. Adventurers are advised to travel in a clockwise direction to avoid a punishing ascent at the end of the hike. Syncline Loop Trail can be done as a day trip or overnighter; a designated campsite is located along the trail. A backcountry permit is required for campers but the reward is an incredible starry night sky. Hikers can extend their trip by taking one of two spur trails located on the loop. One leads into the crater and another intersects with White Rim Trail

More informationutah.com/syncline-loop-trail 

 


Are you an avid hiker in the Moab
-area? 
Let us know which trail is your favourite. 
Comment below! 

 

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