Friday, September 21, 2012

Moab, Utah

With a population of approximately 5,000 people, Moab, Utah,  is the gateway to two national parks, Canyonlands and Arches. It is the center of a wide area that teems with various outdoor adventures, from mountain bike riding to hiking to river adventures. It is the base for numerous outfitters, and it provides a center for lodging and supplies. It is an active town where you encounter people from around the globe attracted to the many outdoor opportunities available in the region.

Tree-lined streets of downtown Moab, with their many shops and restaurants
Moab lies just south of the Colorado River, the same Colorado River which travels downstream to carve the Grand Canyon of northern Arizona. Moab lies in a canyon, with steep walls on the west and the La Sal Mountains to the east. The La Sals have a dozen peaks rising to above 12,000 feet, making it a destination for winter sports.

Canyon walls lining Moab on the west
Up and down the city streets of Moab, you see pedestrians going to and fro, and bicyclists pedaling about. Various RVs share the road with motorcyclists and tour buses. The tourist industry dominates the town.

A paved hike and bike path begins in the north part of town and extends along US 191 past the entrance to Arches National Park and all the way to the cutoff to the north section of Canyonlands National Park. The path is heavily used. Many mountain bikers enjoy riding the famed Slickrock Trail just east of town. Others enjoy riding the paved roads of the national parks. Other dirt trails abound in every direction.

But Moab is isolated, and it is a tourist town. As a result, prices are steep. Gasoline during our stay was at $3.92 for a gallon of regular, with some stations pushing $4.00. Burgers in moderate local restaurants approached $10, though you could go to chains (McDonald's, Wendy's, etc.) and find better prices. We paid the highest price for camping we paid for the entire trip, but the accommodations were not the best by any means, but I'll discuss this further in my review of our RV park.

During our stay, the weather was almost ideal. Nightly lows dipped to around 50 or 55 each night, while daily highs reached the mid to upper 80s. Skies were clear every day, and there was little breeze in the park where we stayed. The area averages about 10 inches of rain each year.

If you enjoy outdoor activities, bring your bike and hiking boots, and you can be entertained for a week or longer. Be ready to spend some money, though, because life in Moab isn't cheap.

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