What to say about Moab…  Nestled between Canyonlands and Arches National Parks and seated at the edge of the Colorado River, Moab has whitewater rafting, rock climbing, hiking, mountain biking, and miles of Jeep trails. This is a great outdoor activity mecca with a laid back vibe, just like our favorite mountain towns. One big difference, Moab’s not mountain. It’s desert – and it’s hot!

We’ve been looking forward to visiting Moab for years, really, and were excited to spend nearly a week exploring the area. As usual, we ran out of days long before we could have exhausted all the adventure possibilities. We spent one day paddling Class II and III rapids on the Colorado, another day driving through serious 4×4 terrain in Arches National Park, and even worked in some amazing rock climbing and canyoneering. There are plenty of slot canyons to hike through and boulders to scramble over, but technically, it’s not canyoneering unless you have to use ropes. We started our canyon adventure with two long rappels, the first about 90 feet and the second an incredible 110 feet of mostly free-hanging descent right next to Morning Glory Arch.

The area around Moab is otherworldly, with red rock towers and winding rivers. The formations and exposed rock we saw in Arches were 65 million years in the making! We had to remind ourselves that the same forces that created those amazing arches is still working – eventually they’ll all collapse. It was incredible to be in an ever changing landscape that so clearly shows geological forces at work, both long term erosion and violent upheaval on a grand scale. Along with the Mother Nature, Moab’s inhabitants have left their mark as well. There are dozens of excellent pictograph and petroglyph sites within 30 minutes of town and even a remarkable rock covered with fossilized dinosaur tracks. This place has been occupied for a while now!

One thing that we really had reinforced in Moab? Water is critical! We always had two Camelbaks loaded with water and ice, plus a couple of bottles in a cooler stashed back in the Jeep for post-hike refreshment. Just breathing in the hot, dry air has a dehydrating effect and we learned to really appreciate the shaded streams along the canyon floors. We got a great tip from a local and on our last day and found our way to a secluded swimming hole right on the edge of town. The cool water cascades over small rocky ledges and collects beneath giant boulders in big, sandy-bottomed swimming holes. It was a great way to cool down and wrap up our visit.

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