Moab is a thriving community of outdoor enthusiasts. From rock climbers to mountain bikers, to high-liners and skydivers, it seems like everyone here is trying to spend as much time exploring and playing in this beautiful little corner of the wild wild west.
Moab has made its name as a spring and fall destination for outdoor recreation. But is this always the case? What’s an outdoor enthusiast to do come wintertime? Fortunately for all of us, Moab has more than enough adventurous activities to go around even in the dead of winter. While you may not be climbing in short shorts, or hiking with your shirt off, you can still enjoy pristine snowy mornings, and unbeatable desert views all winter long.
If you’re not sure what to do in Moab this winter, check out these rad winter destinations for your next trip.
- See Delicate Arch in the Snow
(Photo credit: Chris Janda)
Delicate Arch is the arch that comes to mind when speaking about Arches National Park. It’s a 52-foot tall free standing arch, and one of the most recognizable geologic features in the world. All year long the hiking trail that leads to Delicate Arch is packed with tourists hoping to get their glimpse (and selfie) of this ethereal crescent rock formation. The five-mile trail that leads from the parking lot to the viewpoint is often filled with hundreds of visitors, particularly at sunset. In the winter, however, tourism has waned in Utah and the trail has freed up. The red sandstone that the Moab area is known for is particularly enchanting in snowy weather, and taking a day hike out to Delicate Arch is a must-do for any desert enthusiast. And remember to bring your camera! The view is stunning.
2. Rock Climbing in the Sun
(Photo Credit: Mary Eden)
The rock climbing in and around Moab is world-class. Seasoned rock climbers and budding beginners alike flock to Moab and Indian Creek to test themselves against the beautiful sandstone splitters. Because of the fragile quality of the rock, after it rains, most climbers turn elsewhere when the winter comes so as not to damage the quality of the climbs, or risk their lives. Shady climbing areas like Reservoir Wall in Indian Creek are off-limits, but sunny walls like Cat Wall or even Wall Street down Potash Road receive enough sun to dry out the climbs and make them safe! Rock climbing in the sun when the weather is cold makes for ideal sending temps. Get after your sunny wall projects this winter!
3. Backcountry Activities in the La Sals
(Photo Credit: Parry Kibler)
Each year when the snows return to cover the La Sals, the backcountry skiers come out of the woodwork to explore Moab’s backyard mountain range. The roads leading up to the La Sals are managed by the United States Forest Service and are plowed by the Grand County Road Department up to the Geyser Pass road turn off. There are plenty of places for beginners to explore, as well as some more technical backcountry terrain that is engaging even for experienced telemark skiers. There are several places in town that do guided backcountry tours in the La Sals, but you can also drive yourself up there and explore freely. Be aware of avalanche dangers in these mountains, however. The La Sals have a greater potential for avalanches than other mountains in the surrounding areas, so visitors are encouraged to use common sense and check conditions before heading out! The Utah Avalanche Center is a great resource for this, as well as our updated Snow Conditions report on the Moab Gear Trader webpage. Finally, make sure to check us out at Moab Gear Trader for all your winter gear needs. We have a wide selection of equipment including gloves, gaiters, skis, traction devices, snowshoes, and more for your next adventure into the La Sals.
4. Canyonlands Hikes
(Photo Credit: Michael DeNicola)
With Canyonlands and Arches so close together, it would be a crime to recommend one without also encouraging folks to visit the other. Canyonlands is the sister park to Arches. Where Arches National Park displays prominent geological features that explode out of the ground in bizarre formations, Canyonlands reveals the hidden mystery of what’s beneath the crust of the earth. True to its name, Canyonlands really is the land of canyons. Explore caverns and caves that appear seemingly out of nowhere, which lead you through a labyrinth of Dr. Seusean rock formations below the white rim rock layer. Canyonlands is always a bit more remote than Arches National Park, and in the winter this is even more true. Make sure you bring a vehicle with chains and 4×4 capabilities! It is recommended that hikers wear traction devices, as snowy sandstone can become slick and treacherous. Don’t let this stop you however, you’ll never have a more beautiful place all to yourself.
5. Mountain Biking (Safely!)
(Photo Credit: Tim Foster)
It snows in Moab, but oftentimes the snow won’t stick around for more than a few hours. Temps in the mid-’40s during the day can be chilly but ideal for adventurous mountain biking! It goes without saying that you will have to take extra precautions when riding on challenging terrain. Snow tires may help keep you from going over your handlebars, and warm gloves can help prevent wind chill, but an adventurous attitude and an eye for safety will do you even more good. The best advice would be to check out the ‘Condition Updates’ on Poison Spider Bicycles website for information on the usability of Mountain Bike trails. The Mountain Biking in Moab is world-class, and winter temperatures don’t change this. So on your next trip, don’t leave the bikes behind!
(Photo Credit: Kaya Lindsay)
Winter in Moab is a treat. While most people are driving south to seek better temperatures (or north for that matter…) the folks who stay behind in Moab get to enjoy this winter wonderland all to themselves. Crowds thin out, the landscape changes, and the sunsets paint the snow-covered cliffs orange and pink. Folks may have to layer up a bit more and bring headlamps for the approach trail, but this beautiful little town is well worth the adventure.
On your next stop through Moab, make sure to visit us at Moab Gear Trader on Main Street. We will get you bundled up for your next winter hike, bike, ski, or climb. At Moab Gear Trader we have the best gear at the best prices for the best adventures.
See you soon!