The town of Moab and its surrounding vast red rock landscape is Utah’s ultimate adventure playground. What other place can you visit multiple national parks, mountain bike unbelievable singletrack, rock climb slickrock, slide through narrow canyons, and raft down the infamous Colorado river through high red rock walls’ all within a few miles from town? Moab is one of the best adventure destinations in the entire world. Its red rock landscape boasts over 800 miles of biking trails, the mighty Colorado River, a maze of canyons and sandstone towers for climbing, and 2 of Utah’s most infamous National Parks – Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park.
Beyond Moab’s towering rock formations and canyons are the Colorado River and Green River – two major destinations for river activities in the Moab area. Both rivers have sections that cater to calm, relaxing river tours and SUP, kayaking, and packrafting tours, as well as more challenging whitewater adventures for river rafting. Exploring the Colorado and Green rivers is a great way to discover the gems of Moab via the water.
The section of the Colorado nicknamed Moab Daily is a famous section of the river for rafting and inflatable kayaking. The 13-mile stretch alternates between several sets of Class I through III rapids and flat water. Moab Daily meanders through gorgeous red rock scenery with views of the Fisher Towers, Castle Valley, LaSal Mountains, and Arches National Park. The full 13-miles trip makes for a great beginner and family-friendly rafting trip. It requires a shuttle, and starts 23 miles up highway 128 after the junction with 191, and ends 10 miles up at the well signed Take Out beach. For a shorter trip, there are many other put ins and camping areas along the highway. For flatwater kayaks or SUPs, the 8-mile section of water from Big Bend campground to the 191 bridge takeout offers a great, mostly calm water day trip, with a few smaller rapids depending on the time of year.
For a multi-day calmwater paddling and camping adventure, the Green River’s Labyrinth Canyon is a great pick. The calm water is perfect for kayaking, canoeing, or stand up paddleboard. It requires a shuttle and a BLM permit and is very remote, so self sufficency (and lots of water) is required. Within its 44-mile stretch starting from Green River State Park, you’ll get to see desert highlights, deepening red rock canyons, and get a glimpse of Moab’s ancient history. Most paddlers leave a vehicle and take out at Ruby Ranch or Mineral Bottom (68 miles). For experienced paddlers who want to go further into Stillwater Canyon and the Confluence Point in Canyonlands National Park (120 miles from Green River State Park) the only take-out option is hiring a jet boat shuttle to pick you up at the Confluence and bring you back upstream to Moab on the Colorado River. Warning: the Confluence is where the Colorado and Green rivers meet, so rough waters are typically present.
Moab river activities can range from a day trip to mult-day paddling and camping adventures. Day trips call for the usual essentials like sunblock and quick-drying clothes. For multi-day activities, adherence to Leave No Trace policies are a must, including packing out everything you bring in – including human waste.
After experiencing the water, don’t miss Moab’s biking trails. Considered one of the best biking locations in the world, Moab is home to more than 181 miles of unique, flowing singletrack through slickrock and out of this world scenery.
The best time to visit Moab is in spring and fall. The months of February through early May and September to November are best weather in Moab. Early spring and late fall are the best times to avoid Moab’s influx of tourists.
TripOutside features the best local rental shops and guided tour providers for Moab kayaking, SUP, rafting, biking, rock climbing, canyoneering, packrafting and more!