MOAB FAMILY ITINERARY
Oct 3, 2016
By: Jen Springer
There’s an argument to be made that Moab doesn’t actually have an off season, that the colder months are differently attractive instead of less attractive. But in terms of traffic, October through March are relatively quiet in Moab.
ARCHES NATIONAL PARK
DEAD HORSE POINT STATE PARK
CANYONLANDS NATIONAL PARK
Here are a few reasons that’s rad news:
- Less sweaty
- More parking
- Less money
- More visual stimulation (fall leaves and/or a dusting of snow)
- Shorter lines at the biffy
Convinced? Perfect. Here’s what you do next:
DAY 1: DRIVING & HIKING THROUGH ARCHES NATIONAL PARK 101
Not only is Arches incredible, it’s jaw-dropping moments are also densely packed. You can hit most of the hot spots in a day, with the amount of walking required tolerable for just about the whole family. Even the very old, very young or those otherwise disinclined to hike on slick rock can still see a mad decent show at the viewpoints.
(Click through the photos for a sample.)
STOP your vehicle here: Park Avenue Viewpoint
And here: LaSal Mountain Viewpoint. Yellow + red + green + blue + white
And here: Courthouse Towers Viewpoint. See Park Avenue from the other end...
Over here: Petrified Dunes Viewpoint. Permanent sand castles.
Yoohoo: Balanced Rock. Because one day it may be called "Fallen Rock."
Peek-a-boo! The Windows Section. Bask in the parking lot. Get out and do a slow 360. Use the john.
Looky here: Lower and Upper Delicate Arch Viewpoint. Or skip it and see it on passing license plates.
Do you see what I see? Wolfe Ranch. Stretch your legs a little bit and look inside the old ranch cabins.
Someone sees you: Salt Valley Overlook. Overlook Salt Valley and underlook at all the birds who live there.
Let's have a look-see: Fiery Furnace. Whoa! The Devil's down there!
Are we there yet? Devil's Garden Trailhead. (Speak of the...) Have a tailgate party. But don't bother the bunnies.
Drive-through views are nice, but it’s even prettier when you hike a bit to earn it. Here are some family-friendly treks:
- From the Devil’s Garden Trailhead, hike to Landscape Arch and back. There are bits of sand piles along the way for weary toddlers to play in.
- From the Windows Trailhead, hike the loop trail that takes you to not one but THREE arches, in not too many footsteps.
- If you have a willing shuttle driver, hike from the Courthouse Tower trailhead to the Park Avenue trailhead. Say your goodbyes first in case the voyage goes sideways. (Just kidding. It’s only a mile.)
Day 2: Mountain Biking, Hiking & Canyonlands National Park
Mountain Biking or Hiking Dead Horse Point State Park
Brought your bikes did you? But some of them have training wheels? Take the Dead Horse Point State Park biking trail, average grade of 2%. Only 14 miles long, you’ll feel refreshed without much whining. Rated a 4.3 on a 5-star scale. Bike tires all exploded? Nothing to fear, your feet are near. Choose from 6 short overlook hikes (or, dang it, do them all) from 0.25 to 1.25 miles long. Take in the view as you ponder the fate of that sad horse.
Eat a picnic lunch somewhere between Dead Horse and Canyonlands National Park’s Island in the Sky district, just up the road. Take your time consuming both lunch and the views. Here are a handful and a half of delicious perspectives in order of appearance:
- Mesa Arch. On a cliff edge. Don’t get cute.
- Holeman Spring Canyon Overlook. Nothing better than this.
- Whale Rock. From the top of the rock you can see Upheaval Dome.
- Upheaval Dome. A captivating rock formation!
- Green River Overlook. Do you see the oxbow? Do you even know what an oxbow is?
- Buck Canyon Overlook. Looks like life on Mars.
- Orange Cliffs Overlook. I mean, sort of reddish-orange, but whatever.
- Grand View Point Overlook. Grab your second picnic basket for the grand finale, then drag your clan to the bathroom one last time before the 40-minute drive back to Moab.
Day 3: Hikes & Souvenirs
Get up, brush your teeth and shake both your own booty and the booties of your family members toward a place you’ll recognize from TV and movies: Fisher Towers. Located 40 minutes northeast of Moab along Route 128, this place also hosts one of North America’s top 50 rock climbing routes, Titan Tower. However, with all your little buddies in tow, you’re just gonna wanna stick to the very theatrical three-mile hike that leads you around, through and next to the world’s most amazing natural red rock towers before ending on a nice flat rock perfect for snacks.
Moab’s Main Street
One kid wants pizza, another demands a burger and the third one needs a geode. No problem. Head back to Moab Proper, home of Zax’s Pizza, Eddie McStiff’s and Pinyon Tree Gift Shop. After getting your fill of soda and gourmet buffet-style pizza, walk off some of that glorious food as you enjoy some of Moab’s shops and galleries. Be sure to buy that prized bag of smooth, colorful rocks for each and every kid you own. You’ll see a lot of original local and native art as well as lots of new gadgets for all your mountain biking needs. Also a great place to start planning your return trip next year.