Where Thrill-Seekers Can Do It & How

Utah is a land of pure adventure, with some of the most spectacular red rock cliffs and towering arches in the United States. Tucked between the Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park, Moab is a popular adventure destination, especially for thrill-seekers looking to get their adrenaline rush. There is so much to explore when it comes to this adventure city, thanks to its dramatic topography and breathtaking landscape composed of gorgeous red rock formations exuding different arrays of red hues contrasting with the scattered green plants. And just five miles north of Moab lies the famous Arches National Park, lauded for its more than 2,000 natural sandstone arches, such as the iconic Delicate Arch that can be found on Utah’s license plate. Many nature enthusiasts visit the Moab area to get up close and personal with the majestic landscape while hiking, mountain biking, or off-roading through the rugged terrain.


What Sets The Arches And Moab Apart?

The unique feature of the region is, of course, its dramatic landscapes filled with the densest concentration of the largest natural arches in the world, not to mention the balanced rocks, ancient canyons, scenic gorges, and the amazing petroglyph (ancient rock art) .

It is interesting to note that Arches National Park lies just above a salt bed, which gave birth to the majestic arches, sandstone fins, and balanced rocks. It is believed that the salt bed was deposited in the Paradox Basin of the Colorado Plateau some 300 million years ago (Mya) when there was a sea that eventually evaporated.

Currently, the park sprawls over about 76,680 acres of high desert, with the highest elevation of about 5,653 feet (1,723 m) at Elephant Butte and the lowest elevation of 4,085 feet (1,245 m) at the visitor center. Weather records suggest that the area receives an average of less than 10 inches (250 mm) of rain annually.

Arches National Park Scenic Byways

It’s easy to see why Arches National Park receives so many visitors annually. In 2018, there were about 1.6 million visitors. The park is normally packed during summer. Many come here to enjoy the spectacular sunrise, and some even come here to see the unpolluted night sky.

Moab equally attracts many tourists and adventure seekers who enjoy mountain biking on the extensive network of trails, such as the Slickrock Trail, while off-roaders come to attend the annual Moab Jeep Safari.

Related: When Is The Best Time Of The Year To Explore Moab, Utah?

Though it is really impossible not to indulge in fun-packed outdoor activities when visiting the park, it is important to remember to preserve the natural setting. The park has some important geological features, such as natural bridges, spires, and, of course, arches, which are of scientific interest. This is why it becomes crucial to always consider the preservation of the environment when indulging in outdoor activities. For instance, it is prohibited to use off-highway vehicles such as ATVs (all-terrain vehicles) or UTVs (utility terrain vehicles) in the park.

Thankfully, there are some of the best scenic byways that visitors can enjoy. Visitors can drive the 36-mile (round-trip) road through Arches National Park, where there are several stops. To cover the entire street, visitors will need at least four to five hours.

These selected by methods are unique for their archeological, cultural, historical, and recreational features. Some scenic ways include:

  • Upper Colorado River Scenic Byway U-128: This is a 44-mile route also known as the River Road. Driving the highway, one will be able to see sublime red-rock walls and formations.

  • Potash Road (Lower Colorado River Scenic Byway U-279): The 17-mile road, also known as Wall Street, follows a towering sandstone cliff. One can expect to see lush canyons, ancient rock art, and arches.

  • Dead Horse Point Scenic Byway U-313: This scenic byway is known for its beautiful sunset experiences. The byway is 22 miles long.


  • It is important to note that a timed entry reservation is required to enter the park. Annual or senior pass holders will only need to pay the $2 reservation fee.
  • A high-clearance, 4-wheel-drive vehicle is required for this adventure. It is important to note that OHVs, ATVs, and UTVs are not permitted in Arches National Park.
  • Best Time To Visit: The park is open 24 hours a day. To avoid crowds, consider visiting in the late afternoon and evening hours. February is usually less crowded, and accommodations are cheaper compared to the peak seasons.

Where Can Thrill Seekers Do Off-Roading?

For an epic off-road adventure, Moab is the place to be if one is looking for backcountry trails leading to the blissful wilderness. Adventurers can bring their own vehicle, take a tour with experienced and permitted guides, or even rent a jeep. There are endless opportunities to try a 2-wheel drive or the challenging terrain of a 4-wheel drive to see the magnificent landscape.

Adventurers can also rely on the Moab Information Center (MIC) for detailed 4-wheel drive maps and trail guides. The MIC is at the corner of Main and Center streets, where visitors will be able to get information about the trail conditions.

There are several trails to choose from depending on one’s level of driving. While there are signs that have been placed to identify the different trails, one needs to consider that weather conditions such as storms can alter roads and remove tracks.

Related: Arches Vs. Moab: Which One Has The Better Desert Landscape?

Some Off-road Trails in Arches And Moab are:

Gemini Bridges

  • Level: Easy
  • Trail Highlight: Gemini Bridges, the majestic twin arch
  • Round trip from Moab: 48 miles
  • 4-Wheel Drive Road: 14 miles
  • Minimum time: 2-1/2 hours

Chicken Corners

  • Level: Moderate
  • Trail Highlights: Colorado River Canyon and Kane Springs Canyon
  • Round trip from Moab: 54 miles
  • 4-Wheel Drive Road: 43 miles
  • Minimum time: 3-1/2 hours

Fins and Things

  • Level: Difficult
  • Trail Highlight: Roller-coaster Terrains
  • Round trip from Moab: 20 miles
  • 4-Wheel Drive Road: 9.4 miles
  • Minimum time: 3 hours
  • Note: This trail is reserved for the expert level. Off-highway vehicles are permitted on Sand Flats Road, but a fee is required to enter this area.