Moab is a year-round adventure paradise. Some seasons of the year, those adventures are more evident than others. Rafting in the spring and summer is a no brainer. Climbing in the fall brings thousands of people from around the world. Most of the year, you can hear the sound of side by sides, jeeps, and other 4×4 vehicles cruising down Main Street. Winter in Moab is a little less obvious as far as recreation opportunities are concerned; however, there’s still plenty to keep you busy. Here are five ideas for winter activities to keep you outside during the colder months.
Cross Country Skiing and snow play in the La Sal and Abajo Mountains.
With winter conditions comes snow, with snow comes skiing. Cross Country Skiing offers the ability to learn a new sport, travel relatively quickly, and get a great cardio workout while enjoying the unique snowy surroundings. With snow down in town so frequently this season, you can essentially take the cross country ski’s anywhere you see fit. The opportunities are everywhere. Consider traveling higher in elevation to find deeper snow and more opportunities. The La Sal Mountains have a groomed Nordic Track at the Geyser Pass Winter Trailhead; it’s certainly worth a visit if equipped with four-wheel drive. There are also great sledding and snow play areas up high. If you need a new ski setup or a sled, the Moab Gear Trader has you covered.
Ice Skating and recreating at Ken’s Lake.
When lakes and other bodies of water in the area have frozen well enough, they prove to be pretty awesome for ice skating. The key phrase here is that they need to be frozen well enough. Some years the skating is excellent and stable, some years it doesn’t freeze well enough. Ken’s Lake is a pretty accessible place to get on the ice, and given its size; there’s plenty of room to skate around. If the lake is not frozen enough, it’s still a beautiful place to spend the day as it’s the most prominent and most accessible body of water in Moab. The Gear Trader also has a selection of used ice skates if you want to give it a go.
Hiking in Grandstaff Canyon.
You may have hiked Grandstaff Canyon in the summer, but walking it in the winter feels like a whole different experience. Most of the trail is relatively flat, making it reasonably comfortable and safe in icy conditions. There are several spots where large icicles form along the path, which adds another element to the stunning white and red landscape. There is a section near the end towards the Morning Glory arch that could be dicey in very slick conditions. If you are planning on traveling to the Arch, I would recommend trekking poles and traction devices. Come on into the Gear Trader, and we can get you set up with those if you don’t already have them.
Take a stroll into Moonflower Canyon.
Moonflower Canyon can hardly be considered a hike. It’s more of a short stroll. However, it is terrific, and a stream runs through it, which makes for a very accessible and beautiful winter hangout. Moonflower is a perfect place to have lunch, chat for a bit, and take in the beauty in a low commitment setting. There are plenty of picnic tables and pit toilets nearby. At the end of the walk, there is a small pond below a towering red rock amphitheater. If you are looking for a family-friendly, low commitment, and pleasant place to spend an afternoon, Moonflower Canyon is a perfect choice.
Check out the rock art at Courthouse Wash.
The Moab area is famous for the ancient ancestral Puebloan rock art that is found at various locations around the area. One of the most impressive and easiest to access panels is in Courthouse Wash. Park at the Moab sign north of town and take the short stroll over to the panel. This particular rock art is representative of the Barrier Canyon style and is believed to be between 1500 and 4000 years old. There are both pictographs and petroglyphs in this area, and they are all spectacular.
No matter how you choose to spend your time in Moab, there’s really no way to go wrong. The winter is also very quiet and serene, which makes it a great time to visit the unique scenery without the crowds and hassle. All of these options are also outside of the National Parks in case of a closure due to snow. Get out there and enjoy Snowy Moab!