Moab, Utah is an outdoor enthusiast’s playground, with its stunning natural landscapes and endless adventure opportunities. Whether you’re embarking on a road trip or simply passing through, the journey to Moab presents the perfect opportunity for a stopover. Choosing the right place to pause and rest along the way can greatly enhance your road trip experience.
Not only can a well-planned stopover break up the monotony of the drive, but it can also provide you with the chance to explore other attractions and destinations in the vicinity. From vibrant cities to breathtaking national parks, there are several enticing options for stopovers that cater to various interests and preferences.
In this article, we will explore some of the best places to consider for a stopover on the way to Moab. Whether you’re seeking natural beauty, cultural experiences, or simply a good night’s sleep, these destinations will offer something for everyone. So buckle up, pack your sense of adventure, and let’s hit the road!
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Stopover Location
When deciding on a stopover location on your way to Moab, there are a few key factors to keep in mind. These factors will help you choose a stopover that aligns with your preferences, needs, and interests. Here are some things to consider:
- Proximity to Moab: One of the most important factors to consider is the distance between your stopover location and Moab. Ideally, you’ll want to choose a place that is conveniently located along your route, allowing you to minimize travel time and maximize your time exploring Moab.
- Attractions and Activities: Consider what attractions and activities are available in the stopover location. Are there any points of interest or landmarks worth exploring? Are there recreational activities, such as hiking trails, scenic drives, or water activities, that you can engage in during your stopover?
- Amenities and Accommodations: Look into the amenities and accommodations available in the stopover location. Are there good lodging options, such as hotels, motels, or campgrounds? Are there restaurants or stores nearby where you can replenish your supplies or enjoy a good meal?
- Rest and Relaxation: Consider the overall ambiance of the stopover location. Is it a peaceful and tranquil place where you can unwind and rejuvenate after a long drive? Is it a bustling city with vibrant nightlife and entertainment options if you’re looking for some excitement?
- Safety and Security: It’s important to prioritize safety when choosing a stopover location. Research the crime rate and general safety concerns in the area. Check for reviews and recommendations of the location from fellow travelers to ensure you’re selecting a secure place to spend the night.
By taking these factors into account, you can make an informed decision and choose a stopover location that will enhance your journey to Moab. Now, let’s explore some of the top options for stopovers along the way.
Salt Lake City, Utah
Located approximately 230 miles north of Moab, Salt Lake City serves as an excellent stopover option for those looking to experience a vibrant urban environment. As the capital city of Utah, Salt Lake City offers a diverse range of attractions and activities that cater to various interests.
For nature enthusiasts, the nearby Wasatch Mountain Range provides opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, and scenic drives. You can take a leisurely stroll in City Creek Park or explore the picturesque landscapes of Big Cottonwood Canyon and Little Cottonwood Canyon.
If you’re interested in history and culture, be sure to visit Temple Square, the headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This iconic landmark features stunning architecture and beautifully manicured gardens. Take a guided tour of the Tabernacle and learn about the rich history of the Mormon pioneers.
In addition to its natural and cultural attractions, Salt Lake City also boasts excellent dining and shopping options. From trendy foodie spots to traditional Utah cuisine, you’ll find a wide array of culinary delights to satisfy your taste buds. Take a stroll down Main Street and browse the diverse selection of shops, boutiques, and galleries.
When it comes to accommodations, Salt Lake City offers a range of options to suit different budgets and preferences. From luxurious hotels to cozy bed and breakfasts, you’ll find a place to rest and rejuvenate before continuing your journey to Moab.
Overall, Salt Lake City provides a perfect balance of urban amenities and outdoor adventures, making it an ideal stopover location for those looking to add a touch of city life to their road trip to Moab.
Grand Junction, Colorado
Located approximately 120 miles east of Moab, Grand Junction, Colorado, offers a picturesque stopover option with its stunning natural beauty and charming downtown area. Nestled in the heart of the Colorado River Valley, this vibrant city provides a range of attractions and activities to explore.
For outdoor enthusiasts, Grand Junction is a gateway to numerous outdoor adventures. The nearby Colorado National Monument is a must-visit, with its dramatic red rock canyons, towering monoliths, and breathtaking overlooks. Hiking, cycling, and rock climbing are popular activities in this area.
If you’re a wine aficionado, be sure to visit the many vineyards and wineries dotted throughout the Grand Valley. Take a scenic wine tour, indulge in wine tastings, and learn about the winemaking process amidst picturesque vineyards.
The downtown area of Grand Junction is brimming with charm and offers a variety of boutique shops, art galleries, and local eateries. Take a leisurely stroll along Main Street and explore the unique shops and cafes. The city also hosts various events and festivals throughout the year, showcasing local art, music, and cuisine.
Grand Junction offers a range of accommodation options, from cozy bed and breakfasts to modern hotels. Whether you prefer a charming inn or a well-appointed hotel, you’ll find a comfortable place to rest and recharge before continuing your journey to Moab.
With its stunning natural landscapes, cultural attractions, and vibrant downtown area, Grand Junction is an excellent stopover location for those seeking a blend of outdoor adventures and small-town charm on their way to Moab.
Zion National Park, Utah
As one of the most renowned national parks in the United States, Zion National Park offers a captivating stopover option on your way to Moab. Located approximately 330 miles west of Moab, Zion National Park is a paradise for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.
The park’s striking red rock formations, deep canyons, and lush greenery create a breathtaking backdrop for exploration. Hiking is a popular activity in Zion, with trails ranging from easy walks to challenging climbs. The famous Angel’s Landing hike is not for the faint of heart but rewards hikers with incredible panoramic views of the park.
For those seeking a more leisurely experience, take a scenic drive along the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive and enjoy the magnificent views of towering cliffs and cascading waterfalls. You can also embark on a thrilling adventure by participating in canyoneering or rock climbing under the guidance of experienced professionals.
The town of Springdale, located just outside the park’s entrance, offers a variety of accommodation options ranging from cozy lodges to quaint bed and breakfasts. After a day of exploration in the park, you can unwind in one of the charming restaurants or browse the unique shops in town.
Zion is known for its stunning night sky, so take advantage of the opportunity to stargaze and marvel at the celestial wonders above. The park offers ranger-led astronomy programs that allow you to learn about the constellations and witness the beauty of the night sky like never before.
Whether you plan to spend a night or just a few hours in Zion National Park, its unparalleled natural beauty and abundant outdoor activities make it an unforgettable stopover destination on your journey to Moab.
Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
Bryce Canyon National Park, located approximately 280 miles west of Moab, is a captivating stopover destination that offers a unique and otherworldly experience. Known for its distinctive hoodoos, towering rock spires, and stunning natural amphitheaters, Bryce Canyon is a must-visit for nature enthusiasts.
The main attraction in Bryce is the Bryce Amphitheater, which showcases a vast collection of hoodoos in various shapes and sizes. Take a hike along the Rim Trail and marvel at the breathtaking vistas of the canyon and the vibrant hues that change with the light. For a more immersive experience, descend into the canyon on one of the park’s scenic hiking trails, such as the Queen’s Garden Trail or the Navajo Loop Trail.
Bryce Canyon National Park also offers exceptional stargazing opportunities. Its remote location and dark skies make it an ideal destination for witnessing the brilliance of the night sky. Attend a ranger-led astronomy program or simply find a quiet spot to gaze up at the countless stars twinkling above.
When it comes to accommodations, Bryce Canyon has a variety of options, including campsites, rustic cabins, and hotels. Wake up to the awe-inspiring views of the park and enjoy the tranquility of being fully immersed in nature.
While a visit to Bryce Canyon can be done in a day, spending a night in the park allows you to witness the park’s transformation at sunrise and sunset. The colors of the hoodoos intensify during these hours, creating a mesmerizing display that will leave you in awe.
Bryce Canyon National Park’s unique geological formations and captivating landscapes make it a memorable stopover location on your journey to Moab. Soak in the beauty of the hoodoos, breathe in the fresh mountain air, and take in the serenity of this natural wonderland.
Canyonlands National Park, Utah
Canyonlands National Park, located approximately 230 miles southeast of Moab, is a vast and magnificent stopover destination that showcases the raw beauty of the desert landscape. With its dramatic canyons, towering mesas, and panoramic vistas, Canyonlands offers a truly awe-inspiring experience for visitors.
The park is divided into four distinct districts, each with its own unique features. The Island in the Sky district is the most accessible and provides breathtaking views from atop the mesa. Take a walk along the Mesa Arch trail and witness the sunrise casting a vibrant glow over the stunning vistas below.
The Needles district offers a more remote and rugged experience, with its maze of colorful rock formations and picturesque hiking trails. Explore the vibrant sandstone spires and marvel at the intricate geological formations that have been sculpted over millions of years.
The Maze district, known for its rugged and isolated terrain, is favored by experienced adventurers seeking solitude and challenging backcountry exploration. This remote area offers a true sense of wilderness and is only accessible by 4×4 vehicles or on foot.
The fourth district, Horseshoe Canyon, is renowned for its exceptional ancient rock art panels. Take a hike along the canyon floor and discover the awe-inspiring artwork left behind by the native cultures that inhabited the area thousands of years ago.
With its vast expanses and diverse landscapes, Canyonlands National Park offers a range of activities, including hiking, backpacking, mountain biking, and stargazing. Camping is available in designated campsites throughout the park, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the tranquility of the desert night.
As you travel through Canyonlands on your way to Moab, you will be captivated by the rugged beauty of the land and the sense of adventure it evokes. Stop for a day to explore the mesmerizing canyons, or spend a night beneath the starry desert sky to fully appreciate the wonders of this remarkable national park.
Arches National Park, Utah
Located just 5 miles north of Moab, Arches National Park is a must-visit stopover destination that showcases the iconic red rock formations and natural arches that the area is famous for. With over 2,000 natural sandstone arches, this park offers a truly unique and mesmerizing experience for visitors.
Arches National Park is a hiker’s paradise, with a variety of trails that cater to all levels of experience. Delicate Arch, perhaps the park’s most famous feature, is a must-see. Hike the Delicate Arch Trail and witness the majestic arch up close, or capture the perfect photo from the viewpoint below.
Other notable landmarks include the awe-inspiring Landscape Arch, which boasts one of the longest spans of any known arch in the world. The Windows Section, with its iconic North Window and South Window arches, offers stunning views and great picnic spots.
For those seeking a more adventurous experience, consider taking the Fiery Furnace guided tour. This thrilling hike through a maze of narrow canyons and towering sandstone fins requires a permit but offers a unique opportunity to explore a stunning and intricate landscape.
As the day draws to a close, make sure to witness the breathtaking sunset over the Delicate Arch or enjoy the night sky filled with countless stars. Camping is available in the park, allowing you to spend the night amid the beauty of the red rock formations.
Arches National Park is easily accessible from Moab, making it a convenient and unforgettable stopover destination. Whether you have a few hours or a full day to explore, you’ll be amazed by the natural wonders that await you in this extraordinary park.
Choosing the right stopover location on your way to Moab can greatly enhance your road trip experience. From vibrant cities to breathtaking national parks, there are several enticing options that cater to various interests and preferences.
If you prefer a taste of city life and cultural attractions, Salt Lake City, Utah, offers a vibrant urban environment with a range of dining, shopping, and outdoor activities. Grand Junction, Colorado, provides a blend of natural beauty and small-town charm, perfect for outdoor enthusiasts and wine lovers alike.
Nature lovers will be captivated by the awe-inspiring landscapes of Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, and Canyonlands National Park. These parks offer a range of activities, from hiking and scenic drives to stargazing, allowing you to immerse yourself in the beauty of the natural world.
And for those looking for a more immediate taste of Utah’s iconic red rock formations, Arches National Park is a must-visit stopover destination located just a stone’s throw away from Moab itself.
When choosing your stopover location, consider factors such as proximity to Moab, available attractions and activities, amenities and accommodations, rest and relaxation opportunities, and safety and security. By taking these factors into account, you can select a stopover that aligns with your preferences and enhances your road trip experience.
So, as you embark on your journey to Moab, take the time to explore these incredible stopover locations. Each offers its own unique charm and opportunities for adventure, ensuring that your road trip is filled with unforgettable moments and lifelong memories.