Moab is a small town that’s big on adventure. Outdoor enthusiasts will find an all-natural playground at their fingertips, with easy access to towering mountains, wide-open spaces, world-class trails and some of the best rafting in America. While this tiny town has enough adventure to fill a lifetime, three days is just enough to taste what makes this Wild West city a destination for daredevils.
Day 1: See the Sights by Car
Ease into Moab with a drive along the iconic Scenic Byway 279. Take in the landscape that lines both sides of this two-lane road and stop off at some of the popular points to explore ancient rock art created by the area’s first inhabitants. Learn more about the traditions of the Paleo-Indians and Anasazi people along the well-marked and easy to navigate trails. Highlights include the Moon Flower Canyon, Dinosaur Tracks, Birthing Scene and Court House Wash—prime examples of local rock art that date back thousands of years.
Day 2: Get “Reckless” at the Sand Flats Recreation Area
This 9,000-acre recreation area stationed on the Colorado Plateau is home to no-frills camping, incredible scenery and some of the state’s most pristine hiking trails. The protected area is easily accessible from Moab, making it the ideal day trip for adventurers looking to still feel miles away from civilization. Free-wheeling mountain bikers will love the Slickrock Bike Trail, with level 4 descents and technical terrain, and nearby Porcupine Rim Trail provides equally breathtaking scenery accessible on two feet.
Day 3: Raft Cataract Canyon
Adrenaline junkies can find their fix on Cataract Canyon’s raging white waters. Several stretches of class five rapids push even the most expert rafters past their limits in what can only be described as one of Utah’s best white water scenes. Intrepid travelers can navigate passes with telling names like Little Niagra, Satan’s Gut and The Claw as they wind through scenic Canyonlands National Park. While rough waters make for a difficult ride, several slow-flow passes allow traveler to recover while taking in the incredible mountain scenery.