Exploring: Moab Area
from all over the world come to Moab to enjoy the breathtaking
scenery and partake in the endless opportunities to meet nature
one on one. From mountain biking to white water rafting, hiking,
climbing and camping the options for outdoor recreation and
beautiful views are limitless.
Its 9 o’clock here in Salt Lake, we’re packing up the
back of the truck and stuffing myself, wife Julie, son Brett,
and dog Zeke into what’s left of the space the camping gear
doesn’t take up. We head off into the night…
was a sleepy town until the mad craze for uranium in the 50’s.
It was during this time that most of the roads and trails in the
backcountry were made. Most of these were mining exploration
roads. People rose and fell in the uranium rush. When driving in
from the North, as you come into Moab you will notice a house on
the hillside. Now a restaurant called the Sunset Grill, this was
once the home of Charlie Steen. Charlie made his fortune by
discovering the Mi Vida deposit in the Lisbon Valley. Moab grew
from a town of 1200 people to 4600 almost overnight. The uranium
craze brought in all kinds of people hoping to cash in.
We reach Spanish Fork and make the turn onto highway 6. This
road is two lane for most of its length. Twisty mountain roads
on a busy two lane road are very nerve wracking. Our local radio
stations fade in and out along the ride, darn I forgot to bring
The summertime is the only season to avoid Southern Utah. Spring
and Fall are the best time to explore this region. The desert is
a beautiful place to see in the springtime, the green vegetation
contrasts with the red rock. In the summertime the temperatures
can be rather extreme, I still go there but only four wheeling.
Hiking, biking, climbing and anything outdoors is rather
uncomfortable to do in the summer. If you come here this time of
year use the morning and evening time to do your thing.
After making it through the mountains we finally enter and
leave Price and Wellington. These are two towns you don’t want
to speed through. We begin the long drive to I-70. This section
of the drive is rather long and straight. We are all getting
anxious to get down to Moab, I increase my speed a bit…
Moab has been the beneficiary of another population growth in
the last ten years, this growth has been in tourism. Moab is
located in the heart of the Colorado Plateau, there are many
recreational activities available here. This is the mountain
biking capital of the US, be sure and take a look at the
websites featuring this hobby.
I’ve been following a truck driver for the last 20 miles,
he starts to pull away from me, I speed up a bit. We reach the
signs for I-70, just as I notice the flashing lights in my rear
The Colorado river winds it way around the country side
surrounding Moab. White water rafting is a very popular
diversion around here, there are many outfitters willing to take
people out onto the wild Colorado river. I have several friends
who enjoy kayaking the Colorado, Lunch Run is the favorite run
of my kayaking friends. If you are brave enough sign up with an
outfitter and run Cataract Canyon, this is serious white water
and not for the faint of heart.
Great, this is just what I need. I was informed that 81 in a
65 was not permitted, I admitted I was wrong and that I knew
that the speed limit was 65. The officer graciously reduced the
ticket to 74 in a 65. This still will cost me 40 dollars. (Note
to myself: Drive the speed limit)
There are many places to gather supplies in town. I prefer to
cook a meal over a fire or campstove, but for those who like to
have some one else prepare their meal there are some spots here.
Eddie McStiff’s offers great pizza and appetizers in a bar
type atmosphere. The
highlight of this restaurant is the home brewed beers. Eddie
McStiff’s beer is marketed statewide. My wife loves the
raspberry wheat, she makes me go there every time we visit Moab.
There are many other cafés and restaurants along the Main
street of Moab. Some of these seem to change on a year to year
There are many private campgrounds located in and around Moab,
there is a KOA campground located to the South of Moab. The best
camping is on BLM land.
Long Canyon is a great place to camp. To get to Long Canyon,
take Potash Road out to Jug Handle Arch and turn right. You then
enter a somewhat narrow canyon surrounded by red rock cliffs.
The road winds through the canyon offering numerous places to
camp along its length. Camping is not allowed toward the top of
the Canyon as this is a desert big horn sheep watering area. The
road up Long Canyon is very interesting, especially when you
drive under a
huge boulder. A huge chunk of stone fell from the cliff top,
rather than try and move this colossal piece of rock the county
decided to tunnel underneath. This road ends up in Dead Horse State Park. There are camping spots to be found here also.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Camping is no longer permitted in Long Canyon.
Kane Creek is another terrific place to camp. From the McDonalds
in town, head right on Kane Creek Road and follow it inward as
far as you like. This road eventually leads into Lockhart Basin.
Places to camp are available all along the way. One of my
favorite spots is about 11 miles out from the pavement.
Passenger cars can negotiate this road until the river crossing
of Kane Creek. Although those who have no regard for their
vehicle could probably go further. My first trip down this road
was in the middle of the night. Until we awoke the next morning,
we had no idea of the sheer size of the cliffs upon which we
were driving the night before. Along this road, there are many
inlets into the rock walls in which you can set up camp and feel
rather isolated. The evening views are as incredible as the day
scenery. The stars seem brighter and the skies clearer in such
an isolated place.
Moab is one of the off road capitols of the world. The Easter
Jeep Safari brings participants from all over the US. There are
many trails guided on this weekend, from the wild and crazy to
the tame. Personally I avoid Moab during this time, thousands of
people converge on the area, camping sites are near impossible
to find. There are many Yahoo’s prowling the town this time of
year, The Moab police department probably makes its most arrests
during the Easter Jeep Safari.
This is an area where you can have fun with your truck and see
some incredible sights. There are trails ranging from scenic
cruises to ones where you will probably receive body damage.
Poison Spider Mesa and Moab Rim Trail are two of my favorite
trails to attempt to destroy my truck on.. These both offer
challenging obstacles and great views.
Most all the land around this area is BLM land, this area is
criss-crossed with interesting trails. For a day-long diversion
take Kane Creek road all the way to Needles. This route will
give the occupants everything from boulder crawling out of
canyon bottoms to wide open cruises down sandy two tracks.
The area surrounding Moab is a desert climbers dreamland. The
climbing around here is done on Sandstone. Varying hardness’s
of sandstone defines the different places to climb around here.
personal favorite place to climb around here is Wall Street.
Wall Street is located right next to
Potash road. When I say “right next” I mean “right
next”, you can belay from your car at this place. The climbing
here is unbelievable, everything from 5.8 trad or sport routes
to .12’s. Wall Street is about a mile and a half long, climbs
grace it’s entire length.
Castle Valley is not too far from Moab. This area is home to
Castleton Tower, this is a 400 foot free standing tower. First
climbed in 1961 by Layton Kor and Huntley Ingalls this is still
today considered a plum in desert climbing. Just a glimpse of
this tower is impressive, rising above a talus cone this slender
stick of stone is quite a sight.
For the best desert beta be sure and stop by the Moab climbing
Shop. This shop has been around since 1992. The owner Kevin
Chase has pioneered many first ascents in the Moab area. I have
stopped in there several times and found the employee’s and
Kevin to be very helpful. If you are going to Moab and need some
gear wait till you get here and buy it from Kevin!
Moab is a fantastic place to visit, especially if you love the
outdoors. Recreational activities abound in this land of Red
Rock scenery. There are many hotels in town if you don’t want
to rough it, but to truly see the countryside you have to get
Enjoy your time outdoors in Utah!
Arches National Park
Canyonlands National Park
Book Siteseeing Tours & Other Adventures Here
Dead Horse Point Group Area
Dead Horse Point State Park
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