6 BEST Hikes in Moab Add to Your Bucket List

This crazy desert town is an adventure lover’s paradise with plenty of beautiful Moab hikes to enjoy. It’s one of the best small towns in the USA, with two nearby national parks, a state park, and plenty of surrounding Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land to explore.

While you can explore the area via raft through the river, by Overlanding on off-road trails, or on foot, some of the best hikes in Utah are actually located right near Moab. So if you are ready to explore the red rocks of the desert southwest, choose one (or several) of these best hikes in Moab to get the true Utah experience.

How to Get to Moab

Best Hikes in Moab

There are a few options to get yourself to Moab before setting out on the best Moab hikes. The first is to fly directly into Moab (Airport Code: CNY) and rent a vehicle. This airport is located approximately 20 miles north of the town of Moab. There are direct flights to Moab from Denver, Colorado, on Skywest Airlines, doing business as United Airlines.

Once you land in Moab, you can arrange a taxi or shuttle service to Moab and rent a vehicle in Moab or rent one at the airport.

While Moab is one of the cheaper destinations in the US, flying to Moab can prove costly or time-consuming. Another option is to fly into Salt Lake City (SLC), rent a vehicle, and drive approximately four hours to Moab.

Good to Know for Hiking in Moab

If you are new to hiking in Moab or hiking in the desert in general, remember that Moab is located in the desert, so this is important when planning for your hikes. It is best to start early on your hikes in the spring, summer, and fall to avoid the sun’s intensity. If you miss your early morning alarm, an alternative would be hiking in the evening.

Extra water, electrolytes, sunscreen, clothing layers, and snacks are incredibly important to pack for your hikes in Moab, even if you are planning that they will be short. Here’s our entire guide of what to wear hiking for both women and men.

On the contrary, winter in Moab can be very snowy and cold. Instead of early morning or late day hikes, consider hiking midday to avoid getting caught in the dark. Bring a headlamp with extra batteries, clothing layers, microspikes, and an emergency bivy in addition to your usual items.

The Best Hikes in Moab

Delicate Arch

Delicate Arch at Sunset / One of the best hikes in Moab
  • Miles: 3.4 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 626 ft
  • Difficulty (1 is easiest – 5 is hardest): 2
  • Permit Required: No
  • Fees: $30/ vehicle to enter Arches National Park, covered on the “America the Beautiful” Annual Pass
  • Dogs Allowed: No

No trip to Moab would be complete without hiking to the Delicate Arch. This classic arch is featured on the Utah license plate, so you know it is a good one. However, this hike in Moab is in no way a hidden gem. It is important to complete this hike early in the morning on a weekday if you want any chance of having some solitude, although even then, it is not likely.

In the summertime, bring extra water as there is minimal shade along the trail, and the sun’s heat will reflect off the red rocks, making it feel warmer than you might expect. The trail can get icy in the winter, so microspikes are an essential hiking item.

If you are adventuring with children, those needing accessible options, or want to see the Delicate Arch but are short on time, consider the Delicate Arch Viewpoint Trail. This is not the recommended option but a shorter alternative. Bring a DSLR camera or binoculars, as the arch looks pretty small from the viewpoint. Delicate Arch is a fantastic thing to do in Moab with kids.

Devil’s Garden Loop Trail

best hikes in moab
Landscape Arch in Arches National Park. The first of several arches you will see on this trail.
  • Miles: 7.8 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1131 ft
  • Difficulty: 4
  • Permit Required: No
  • Fees: $30/ vehicle to enter Arches National Park, covered on the “America the Beautiful” Annual Pass
  • Dogs Allowed: No

This is one of the absolute best Moab hikes. Hiking the Devil’s Garden Loop is one of the more adventurous trails in Arches National Park. This trail allows you to see six different arches. The first arch along the trail is Landscape Arch. Many people turn around at this point, shortening the trail to 1.9 miles and making it an easier trek.

However, if you continue after Landscape Arch, you will be rewarded with more arches and fewer people. The trail does get fairly sandy at points, and there is a bit of light scrambling required, but it is worth it. As this trail is longer and there is limited shade, it is especially important to start early.

Fisher Towers

best hikes in moab
The ladder portion of the Fisher Towers hike. The featured image for this post is also of Fisher Towers.
  • Miles: 4.5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1653 ft
  • Difficulty: 3
  • Permit Required: No
  • Fees: None
  • Dogs Allowed: Yes

Fisher Towers is an excellent hike located outside of the parks. This location is stunning, and you will find it hard to believe that you aren’t in a national park. If you are a movie or television show buff, you may also recognize this area from many popular shows, including the HBO series Westworld.

The Fisher Towers area is popular with climbers and hikers, so be on the lookout for people daring to adventure straight up the red walls. If you are bringing your furry friend, know that dogs must be kept on a leash for this hike. There is also a ladder section, and your dog will require some assistance as it is vertical.

False Kiva

best hikes in Moab
False Kiva Trail in Canyonlands National Park. If you look closely, you can see the small rope that keeps you from going any further toward the Kiva. Please respect the historical site.
  • Miles: 1.9 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 426 ft
  • Difficulty: 3
  • Permit Required: No
  • Fees: $30/vehicle to enter Canyonlands National Park, also covered under the “America the Beautiful” Annual Pass
  • Dogs Allowed: No

The False Kiva Trail is not one you will find on the Canyonlands National Park Map or in the informational guide that they hand out. And because of its location within the park, you are not likely to stumble upon this trail without looking it up in advance, but that doesn’t mean it’s not one of the best hikes in Moab.

Parking for this trail is at the Alcove Springs Trailhead on the opposite side of the road, about 200 yards away from the trailhead. This trail, especially the last 0.3 miles, is not well-maintained, but the reward is spectacular.

The national park service has closed the alcove at the end of this trail due to vandalism. However, the roped-off area is right beside the Kiva, and you get a great view from the “legal” spot. Please be respectful of this ancient site and do not attempt to enter.

Mesa Arch

best hikes in moab
Mesa Arch Trail at sunset / best hikes in Moab
  • Miles: 0.7 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 85 ft
  • Difficulty: 1
  • Permit Required: No
  • Fees: $30/vehicle to enter Canyonlands National Park, also covered under the “America the Beautiful” Annual Pass
  • Dogs Allowed: No

Hiking to Mesa Arch is more of a walk than a hike. However, if you have already visited False Kiva, it is worth it to make a stop at this iconic spot. Mesa Arch may be one of the most photographed spots in all of Utah, and it is especially popular at sunrise.

At sunrise, the sun lights up the underside of the arch, making it a beautiful orange color. If you plan to join the photographers, plan to arrive at least an hour before sunrise to set up your tripod in a good spot, and do not plan to have any photos of you in them during this time either.

However, if you are less of a morning person, this trail is incredible around golden hour sunset as well. Here you get the perfect lighting and reverse sunset colors and fewer crowds.

Corona Arch

best hikes in moab
You will pass over these *active* train tracks on the hike to the Corona Arch. Please be careful.
  • Miles: 2.3 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 469 ft
  • Difficulty: 2
  • Permit Required: No
  • Fees: None
  • Dogs Allowed: Yes

Corona Arch is one of the most fantastic dog-friendly hikes in Moab. The hike to the Corona Arch is another one of the best hikes in Moab. Not only will you get up close and personal with the Corona Arch, you will also see Bowtie Arch and some really cool (but active) train tracks along the way.

This Moab hike is not within the boundaries of any national parks; therefore, it is dog friendly, although dogs must be on a leash. Similar to Fisher Towers, a ladder can be difficult to navigate with large dogs.

Where to Stay in Moab

best hikes in moab
Car camping at the Grandstaff Campground in Moab along UT-128.

You’ll need somewhere to stay while completing all these amazing Moab hikes. Fortunately, there are a lot of places to choose from. Each of the major hotel chains has hotels there as well as boutique hotel options as well. There are KOA and other more commercialized campgrounds on Moab’s main street.

If being in the middle of town is not your idea of the perfect adventure getaway, many BLM campgrounds along the Colorado River along UT-128 are stunning. These have designated sites with picnic tables, fire rings, and pit toilets. The sites are first-come-first-served, so keep this in mind for planning purposes.

Camping at these designated sites is $20/night, paid in cash or check only. A map of these sites along UT-128 and the Colorado River can be found here. If you plan to complete that hike, there is even a campground right at the Fisher Towers Trail Head.

In addition to paid campsites, dispersed camping is allowed on BLM land, but this must be done at least 20 miles from Moab. Here, you can find additional information on camping in BLM campgrounds, including conditions, closures, and guidelines.


Plan For Your Trip

About the Author

Andrea Cannon is a traveler, pharmacist, and triathlete. She has lived in Utah for 6 years and has spent her time camping, hiking, and exploring all over the southwest. You can connect with Andrea directly on her Instagram or on her blog beaUTAHfulworld.

About Guest Contributor

Occasionally The World Pursuit brings on fantastic guest writers to share their expertise about areas Natasha and Cameron know little about. We're so happy to share their experiences with the world here.