Ever since moving to Arizona in January, I’ve been spending tons of time in Utah exploring this great state. Utah is home to 5 National Parks known as Utah’s Mighty 5. I’m lucky enough to say I’ve been to 4 out of the 5 and they are all so unique. These include: Bryce Canyon, Zion, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands, and Arches. Moab, Utah is a small town in southern Utah and is home to Canyonlands and Arches. In this town you can find every adventurous activity you could ever dream of from hiking to rafting, off-roading, canyoneering, climbing, and mountain biking to name a few. Within the city limits you’ll find yummy foods of all types as well as hotels and campsites. Although I highly recommend spending more than a few days in Moab, a weekend trip there is also tons of fun.
Assuming you arrive in the morning, make your first stop be the Moab Diner for breakfast. This diner was originally built in the 1960’s as a burger joint. As time went on the building went through several different names and families until 1993, when Geoff and Teri Thomas purchases the building and turned it into a 60’s style diner. This place offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner serving up a wide variety of foods to please any palette. Find their menu here.
From there you should head into Arches National Park for some hiking. Arches National Park alone has over 2000 natural arches, and there’s tons more hiding around Moab as well. For your first stop, go to the Double Arch for a short .5 mile total hike to the gorgeous arches pictured above. Arches is a crazy busy national park, and this spot is one of their most popular. With that being said arrive as early as you can to fight the crowds. There is restrooms available as well as trash and recycling bins.
From there take another short walk literally across the street to Windows Loop and Turret arch trail for a 1.2 mile hike. I went to this trail for sunrise and it did not disappoint. From the start of the trail at North Window arch you’ll catch a gorgeous view of Turret Arch in the distance. As the trail goes on, you’ll find many arches along the way to admire and photograph. I reccomend doing this hike, and then having a little picnic lunch in front of one of the arches. Remember to always pack out what you bring in!
After you finish your lunch, I would recommend heading out of the park and taking some time to explore the city of Moab before heading back to your accommodation. For dinner, I recommend checking out Moab’s food truck park located at 39 W 100 N, Moab, UT 84532. Here you can find foods from all over the world destined to please even the pickiest eater’s palette.
On your second day begin the day by grabbing a yummy bite to eat from Eklecticafe and Collectables. This tiny little cafe is one of my favorite places in Moab. Their menu has a huge variety with everything from tofu scramble, to pancakes, to homemade quiches (my favorite.) Additionally it also has little knick knacks that are available for purchase so be sure to give them a look while you’re in line.
After that, head again back in Arches to catch one of Utah’s most loved rock formations, Delicate Arch. Delicate Arch (pictured below) is the tallest arch in the park freestanding at 52ft with a width of 32ft. The hike to delicate arch is 3 miles roundtrip and is a steady uphill hike with no shade, so consider that before you decide to hike or not. If you aren’t up for the hike there is an upper and lower observation deck where you can see the arch from a distance, however if you can do the hike I cannot recommend it enough.
After you finish up at Delicate Arch, begin to make your way out of Arches national park. There’s many beautiful turn offs to see all different kinds of rock formations including a great view of the La Sal mountains. A couple of my favorite stops are Balanced Rock and Park Avenue. After you exit arches, head to the Canyonlands National Park for some more exploring.
Once arriving at Canyonlands head to the Schafer Trail Overlook to get a peak at one of Canyonlands most infamous off-road trails. If you’re feeling brave enough to do it, have a vehicle with 4WD, and feel comfortable off-roading there’s a few things you should know before doing the trail. The trail is 20 miles long, and is point-to-point. During the trail you will gain an elevation of over 3,000 feet. This trail does not require significant off-road driving abilities, just be vigilant of your driving and the driving of cars around you. If off-roading isn’t your thing, the Schafer Trail overlook offers a great way to see the trail without actually doing it.
Next, head to the Mesa Arch trail just a little ways down the road to get a view at one of Canyonlands most visited spots. This short .6 mile trail takes you to an arch known as Mesa Arch. This arch is most frequently visited for sunrise since the sun rises practically through the arch itself. It also gives you a chance to take a peak at some of the beautiful canyons that give the park its namesake. This is the perfect trail for those traveling with kids or who don’t prefer to hike but still want to enjoy the views.
Head back into town to crush some taco’s at Giliberto’s for some bomb tacos. This restaurant is open until 3am and serves a wide variety of budget friendly Mexican-style food. The restaurant is located at 396 S Main St, Moab, UT 84532.
On your last day, get up for breakfast and enjoy one last meal at Peace Tree Juice Cafe, located at 20 S Main St, Moab, UT 84532. This place has tons of yummy juices, as well as breakfast, lunch, and dinner options. I loved their veggie scramble and desert nectar juice, but the Thai wrap was also bomb. On your way out of Moab be sure to stop at a few of the sites below for some last minute views.
First on your list should be Wilson arch. This arch is located on highway 191 South on BLM land, and is only a short scramble to stand under the arch. Next, take a quick stop at the Needles overlook. Needles overlook is not the same as the Needles section of Canyonlands National Park. The overlook is off highway 191 and is managed by BLM. This is a great spot to check out some amazing views without having to do much hiking. Let this be your final stop out of Moab, it’s a great one.