Moab, Utah, is one of our favorite escapes during the ever-changing weather conditions in Colorado in the spring season. (fondly known as mud season). Moab is a mecca of hiking and biking trails within deep canyons and arches, surrounding you with magical scenic beauty on every turn. 

The bonus of two spectacular National Parks at your fingertips is another reason to add Moab to your adventure list. 

 

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ARCHES NATIONAL PARK

Arches National Park has more than 2,000 natural sandstone arches and spellbinding views. It is gorgeous here, and you will find it unlike anywhere else you’ve been. 

On our last visit to Arches NP, we hiked the Devil’s Canyon and did the Primitive Trail. This hike is an excellent choice if you are looking for an adventure. We loved it. Another area we enjoyed is the Fiery Furnace which required a reservation. Visit the Arches National Park Website for information on both hikes.

> Arches National Park

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Today, we are being tourists and checking out the arches and overlooks. Short trails took us under soaring arches that left us breathless. You can drive through Arches NP, but I highly recommend getting out at all the stops!

SCENIC BYWAY 128

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FISHER TOWERS TRAIL

Fisher Towers Trail was a surprise! It features massive towering pinnacles and rock formations with adventurous paths that lead to the trail’s end. This hike is a must-do if near or in Moab. We loved it and will do it again.  

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One thing we found in Utah is that many of the trails are on rock, and finding your way becomes part of the adventure. This was no exception. However, it was not difficult. You will reach stairs, which might be difficult for your pups and did leave us bewildered at first. We found that if you go down and turn left, it is an easy hike up the other side. The views alone are incredible throughout the entire trail. 

Note: The first photo shows climbers high up the towering pinnacles to reach the top. They are so small you can barely see them. Incredible. As for me, this would cause me heart failure. 

I highly recommend this hike. About 22 minutes from Moab and its crowds, it is a gem!

Rated: Moderate

4.2 Miles – Elevation gain 1,469 ft – Out & back

CANYONLANDS NATIONAL PARK

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ISLAND IN THE SKY DISTRICT

Canyonlands National Park, Island of the Sky District, is just 35 minutes from Moab and packed with a wilderness of countless canyons. This is our first visit to Canyonlands, and we spent the entire day hiking, exploring, and gaping in awe. It was stunning. I listed our favorite stops and short hikes. We saw it all.  

AZTEC BUTTE TRAIL

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Aztec Butte is a short hike into two locations with dwellings from long ago. There are areas of steep rock slopes and confusion about where to go. Follow the cairns! It is a fascinating and beautiful trail.

The website has a better description than I could explain.   >Aztec Butte Hike. 

UPHEAVAL DOME 

First and Second Overlook Trails

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Upheaval Dome was a favorite. We did the overlooks and found ourselves immersed in the wilderness of Canyonlands on both trails. Gorgeous views await, and one shocking mystery that lies ahead. A meteorite or … Signposts let you know.

We thought this was the prettiest spot in the park and plan to do the 8-mile loop on our next visit.

First Overlook

0.6 Miles – Out and back – Moderate

Second Overlook – splits off from the first overlook.

1.2 Miles – Out and back – Moderate

MURPHYS POINT TRAIL & VARIOUS STOPS

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Murphy’s Point Trail is an easy hike across a mesa top that ends with staggering panoramic views featuring Candlestick Tower and the Green River. 

3.4 Miles – Out and back – Rated: Easy

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We ended our day chasing all the pull-in overlooks ending at Grand Viewpoint. All are phenomenal!

CORONA ARCH TRAIL

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Corona Arch and Bowtie Arch are spectacular. Designated as a National Recreation Area and free to the public, they rival Arches National Park in the backcountry of Moab. A spur trail to Pinto Arch is also available. 

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The hike begins on rock stairs, crosses a railroad track, and gets better and better the farther you go. Watch for rock cairns and green paint markings to find your way. A short scramble up a rock face with a chain and stairs makes for adventure. It’s a gorgeous hike. You will love it. 

3 Miles – Out and back – Rated: Moderate

GRANDSTAFF TRAIL

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Grandstaff Trailhead is a hike that is definitely not to be missed! At the end of this trail, you’ll find the famous Morning Glory Natural Bridge, a sight to behold. It spans 243 feet and is the 6th longest natural rock span in the United States.

A family-friendly trail with ample early morning or evening shade, this hike is for anyone. Reaching Morning Glory Bridge, it’s an impressive “wow” moment. Get underneath it, and it’s indescribable how monumental it is.

Rated moderate, it’s actually fairly gentle but adventurous; nonetheless, there are many creek crossings and small areas of minor rock scrambling. I loved it for its sandstone canyons and desert-like terrain. Highly recommend.

5 Miles out & back – Rated: Moderate – Family Friendly

SUMMARY

Moab is a high desert beauty packed with canyons, trails, and National Parks. Not far into Utah from the Colorado State Line on I-70 West is Utah’s Scenic Byway 128, which takes you to Moab. The name Scenic Byway is an understatement; it’s a beautiful drive. 

Notable: Stay hydrated, bring extra water, wear good hiking shoes or boots, and smile. It’s magical here.

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