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Moab has several attributes that make it an incredibly popular destination. First, the climate in Moab complements that of Salt Lake City, the Utah mountains, and Colorado front range and mountainous areas in that it's generally dry with mild temperatures when Utah and Colorado locations are too cold, muddy, or snowy.
Moab has focused a ton of effort and resources over the past several years into creating more trails and making the area more friendly for a range of activities. There are now more beginner-friendly trails than ever, and plenty of trails to keep everyone entertained for a long weekend or more.
For those reasons, people come from all over Utah and from Colorado's front range, and many other places, driving 5 or more hours to take advantage of trails. It's worth a trip to experience scenery like you've never seen before.
Other user groups frequent Moab as well - notably offroad Jeep and motorcycle enthusiasts. It's definitely a motorhead town - the wide open landscape and lax restrictions on land use make it a mecca for all types of offroad vehicles. The different user groups seem to play fairly well together though - it's rare to be annoyed when you're out on the trail, and it can be nice to have company in the raw desert conditions that define Moab.
The town itself is not flashy. It started out as a uranium mining town and has stayed very close to its working class mining roots over time. There are plenty of great bike shops, and all the necessities, including several good, but not great options for places to eat.
The sweet spots for Moab are spring and fall, when the temperatures are cooler, and other destinations within driving distance are inaccessible due to mud or snow. Because it's the desert, early spring is very doable here - it's quite cold at night (often below freezing) but easily rises to mid-60's during the day.
The most crowded season seems to be early spring through mid-April. These are times when the mountains of Colorado are no longer skiable. It's also when the offroad crowd emerges from their garages after a winter of tinkering with their machines. It's a great time to come, but can be difficult to find camping on the weekends, unless you can take Friday off and arrive Thursday evening.
Generally, avoid mid-summer unless you're very experienced, or willing to head out in the early mornings or late evenings. It's simply too hot in the summer to be safe in the middle of the day.
Camping and Lodging
There's plenty of camping, and it's probably the most common sleeping arrangement for many people who visit the area. The largest and most common place to camp is up at Sand Flats, a 10-minute drive up above town. Sand Flats road is the home of the Slickrock trail, and Porcupine Rim, two of the most popular trails in Moab. Sand Flats has over 120 campsites up and down the dirt road that runs through the recreation area. Campsites have pit toilets but no water. There's a fee to use the recreation area, and you pay at an entrance gate as you drive into the area.
The town of Moab is camper-friendly, with all the supplies you'd need, including a pharmacy and full grocery store. There are also several places to take showers, including some of the local bike shops.
There are also a number of commercial campgrounds in the area, and RV areas with full facilities. Some are right in the middle of town, making it convenient for families.
There are hotels and motels as well, and many condos available for rent through VRBO or other sources. Nothing is particularly fancy here, so don't come expecting the Four Seasons! That said, it can be a family-friendly town, and there are plenty of nice spots you can find for a weekend that's a bit more civilized than a typical guys' weekend.
Food and Drink
Don't go expecting a culinary experience - expect pubs and pizza places you can wear your camping clothes to. There's a central main street that is packed every evening, and you can simply drive up and down until you find a place you want to stop.
Places like Eddie McStiff's, the Moab Brewery and the Moab Diner are popular. Pasta Jay's offers a basic Italian dinner with huge portions if that's what you're in the mood for.
Moab is nearby to some incredible attractions. Definitely check out Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park on your rest days.
There are also a couple of wineries, museums, climbing destinations, and tons of great hikes in the area.
Winter Camping Basics:
Jan 18 - Grand Junction REI
You like to camp, but have only tried it in the spring, summer & fall? Learn how to plan, stay warm, select winter appropriate gear and what to expect when setting up camp and during your overnight. Details
Intro to Cross Country Skiing:
Jan 25 - Grand Junction REI
Grand Mesa Nordic Council will introduce participants to all aspects of cross country skiing - also known as Nordic skiing. Details