Moab is full of amazing things to do. But, if you are planning a trip, make sure to add hiking in Moab to the top of your list. Moab is surrounded by some of Utah’s best national parks and some of the best hikes in the USA. You can easily explore Zion or Arches National Park from Moab. Bryce Canyon is also a short distance away and Dead Horse Point State Park stands proud over the Colorado River.
The Moab area is a geologist’s and photographer’s paradise, with plenty of rock formations, desert landscapes, and sweeping views to reach. Moab is a fantastic place to base yourself if you want a hiking holiday. Going hiking in Moab is like going to a theme park in Orlando; it has to be done.
Best Hikes in Moab
So, what are the best hikes in Moab? We’ll cover the top twelve hikes in Moab that you should complete when visiting.
1. Fisher Towers Trail
Fisher Towers is a moderate hike of 2.6 miles (4.2 km) out and back. It is one of the best hikes in Moab if you want to spend a leisurely morning hiking to unique sandstone formations. Since it isn’t technical, it is also suitable for most hikers. There is a ladder to negotiate, but otherwise, Fisher Towers Trail is one of the easiest hikes in Moab.
The best part about this hike is that it is scenic for the entire route – not just the endpoint. You’ll pass through the canyon and desert scenery, with the Fisher Towers along the way. These rock formations are extremely photo-worthy and have been impressively cut into strange formations by wind and rain over time. You pass all the towers up close and then sweep left to reach the end viewpoint, which overlooks them all.
Once you return to the trailhead, you can picnic at the benches and enjoy the shade. It can get hot so hike this trail early in the morning and bring plenty of water.
Distance: 2.6 miles (4.2km)Difficulty: ModerateElevation Gain: 448 mTrailhead: Fisher Towers Picnic Area
2. Hidden Valley Trail
Up for a challenge? The Hidden Valley Trail will give you one. This trail begins on the Indian Trail before branching off into a steep ascent.
The trail is reasonably well maintained and marked. However, you’ll have to remain eagle-eyed to spot the turn-off sign from the Indian Trail and watch your footing for ice and mud in winter. The most challenging part of this route is the steepness of the final stretch, which will require an excellent fitness level (or an average fitness level and a lot of determination). While the route isn’t technically challenging, you should arrive prepared to reach the summit.
So, why should you hike the Hidden Valley Trail? Hidden Valley is a mountain bowl that was used for centuries by Native Americans for hunting. Today, you’ll still spot lots of deer, elk, and sheep. If you are an animal lover, Hidden Valley is one of the most rewarding hikes in Moab.
To see the petroglyphs, follow the trail to the right as near the end of the Hiidden Valley trail during the final uphill walk.
Distance: 2.6 miles (4.2km)Difficulty: ModerateElevation Gain: 1469 feet (448 m) Trailhead: Fisher Towers Picnic Area
3. Delicate Arch Trail
Chances are you’ve heard of the Delicate Arch. Located in Arches National Park, the 52-foot sandstone arch is somewhat of an icon in Utah.
If you are visiting Moab, you should definitely visit Arches National Park. And when you do, this short and moderately challenging route is a must do hike. Delicate Arch is the largest freestanding arch in Arches National Park and is stunning at sunrise and sunset. Be prepared to share the trail with many other hikers at these times, but remember that you’ll be rewarded with one of the best views in Utah.
Start your hike in the Delicate Arch parking area and walk the short distance to the trailhead. The trail starts as a well-maintained and clear path, although the final section leads you over slick rock. There is minimal shade on the entirety of the track, so water, a hat, and sun cream are items you must bring.
4. Windows Loop Trail
Whether you are traveling with kids or elderly hikers, are exhausted from a hike the day before, or just fancy an easy trail, Windows Loop Trail is a great option. The epitome of short but sweet, this 0.7 mile loop is our most leisurely Moab hike.
Also located in Arches National Park, Windows Loop Trail incorporates several arch rock formations – perfect if you want a taster of the classic Arches National Park landscape with minimal walking.
Windows Loop is a gravel trail, so it is possible to access it by wheelchair. Since the elevation gain is so little, it is also suitable for those who would struggle on the longer and steeper hikes in Moab.
5. Devils Garden Primitive Trail
Another of the not-so-hidden gems in Arches National Park, the Devils Garden Primitive Trail is one of the best hikes in Moab. Just be warned, it is not for the fainthearted or unfit. The trail isn’t technical but is over 7 miles in total – so you’ll need to time the walk carefully to avoid the midday heat.
Those that complete the trail will be motivated by natural attractions as they walk. You’ll spot Double Arch, Landscape Arch, Pine Tree Arch, and Partition Arch. The final arch is Private Arch, which is a short half-mile walk away from the others.
Out of all our Moab hikes, the Primitive Trail is one of the most rewarding. It is a great hike for first-timers or seasoned hikers in Arches National Park, as the rock formations are beautiful. It is easily one of the best Moab hikes.
6. Grand View Point Trail
Do you prefer a short climb? Another short hike nearby Moab is Grand View Point Trail. The trail is located on the Island in the Sky district and is popular amongst those wanting a sunset viewpoint.
At less than two miles out and back, difficulty is not something hikers on this trail experience. The trail to the first viewpoint is a gravel path suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs. After the first viewpoint, the trail continues on a short climb up a series of stairs to the final lookout. The last lookout provides sweeping views over Canyonlands National Park – one of Utah’s most famous national parks.
The entire trail should take around forty minutes to hike, with extra time for enjoying the views. The best time to visit Grand View Point is for sunset to enjoy the red landscape.
For an even better view of this area, you might want to jump on this super popular Helicopter flight which gives you a great look at this landscape from the sky.
7. Morning Glory Bridge Trail
Adventure lovers, this Moab hike is for you. You’ll navigate Grandstaff Canyon (previously Negro Bill Canyon) – which gets so narrow in parts that it could be classed as a slot canyon. A stream runs through the canyon, sustaining the desert ecosystem and feeding lots of wildlife. Of course, this does mean that you’ll get wet feet, so be prepared and bring some water shoes.
After an hour or so of trekking, you’ll reach Morning Glory Bridge. As a natural landscape arch, this bridge is a total feat of nature, and it stretches 243 feet in length. Morning Glory is the sixth largest natural bridge in the United States, making this one of the best (and most popular) hiking trails near Moab.
8. Dead Horse Point Rim Loop Trail
You could walk to a Dead Horse Point overlook and call it a day. But what would be the fun in that?
This Dead Horse Point loop trail takes only two hours and twenty minutes to complete, yet you’ll be richly rewarded with canyon and river views. The trail follows the long ridge and rim of Colorado River Canyon, giving you beautiful vantage points over the scenes below. Like most trails we’ve listed, the loop difficulty is moderate and just requires a basic fitness level, adequate preparation, and some determination.
Dead Horse Point State Park is also ideally combined with a visit to Canyonlands National Park. Canyonlands National Park is less than an hour’s drive from the Dead Horse Trailhead, so consider stopping by on your way back to Moab.
9. Double Arch Trail
Remember the challenging Devil’s Garden trail? If you don’t want to walk a 7-mile hike, you can take an alternative loop and still see the best rock formations. This loop includes the Double Arch, which is only 0.6 miles long. This alternative hiking trail is called Double Arch Trail. It is one of the best hikes in Moab if you want a short stroll rather than an intense, all-day outing.
Double Arch is one of the most renowned arches in Arches National Park. It is also the tallest at 34 meters tall, so is worth prioritizing a visit. The arch is surrounded by a dramatic desert environment and is easily one of the most scenic Moab hikes.
The level of this loop difficulty is zero. You can view Double Arch from the car park or follow the gentle 0.6 mile loop. Any budding rock climbers can scramble the last section and stand right under the arch.
10. Mesa Arch Trail
Short and well-marked, the Mesa Arch trail is a twenty-minute loop to the famous landscape arch. The route is considered one of the best hikes for sunrise at Canyonlands National Park and provides hikers with dramatic scenery to enjoy.
A special treat when hiking the Mesa Arch trail is the view of the distant La Sal Mountains. The La Sal Mountains are a striking mountain range located above Spanish Valley, Castle Valley, and La Sal. The mountains are over sixty miles away from Mesa Arch, so we aren’t exaggerating when we say you can see stunning views for miles; we aren’t exaggerating.
Since Mesa Arch is a sunrise hike, you’ll benefit from having the whole day free in Canyonlands National Park. Once you’ve finished the hike, we’d suggest visiting Fiery Furnace, Wolfe Ranch, and Delicate Arch. You could also venture down to the Needles district. The Needles district is known for its sandstone spires – which could be a good sunset spot and a perfect way to finish your day of hiking.
11. Mill Creek Trail
Forget steep switchbacks, slot canyons, and the Colorado River; canyon hikes don’t need to be challenging near Moab. This gentle trail follows a dirt road and passes multiple swimming spots and waterfalls. Taking an average of thirty minutes to complete, we think the hike length is a fair trade for some scenic canyon swimming locations.
In terms of proximity to the city, Mill Creek is also one of our best hikes in Moab. The trailhead starts between Moab and Spanish Valley, and you could even walk there from the city center if you wanted an extra challenge.
This creek is a trail that you don’t have to venture to any national parks to reach. In fact, it is almost on your doorstep. If you want a rewarding Moab hike that isn’t technical and allows you to swim, it is our top recommendation.
Since this trail is so short, you should be able to squeeze in a visit to some other nearby attractions. We particularly recommend visiting Mill Creek’s dinosaur tracks.
12. Fiery Furnace Trail
Fiery Furnace Trail can appear deceivingly straightforward. As a short 2-mile hike, it certainly is one of the shortest hikes in Moab. However, Fiery Furnace gets challenging when you actually try to follow the trail.
In short, there is no trail. Hikers zig-zag under arches and through slot canyons, creating a freestyle hiking experience. Finding a route is so confusing that many people refer to it as Utah’s natural maze. Whether you are an experienced hiker or not, you should be hesitant about hiking Fiery Furnace without a guide. Hikers getting lost is hugely commonplace.
We’d suggest booking a guided hike to get the most out of the experience. You don’t want to spend your whole walk trying to remember your footsteps – especially when there is so much natural beauty to admire. The hike takes you through narrow sandstone canyons that requires agility to explore.
You’ll want to bring a camera, as the sandstone rock features are some of the most varied in Arches National Park. The Fiery Furnace trail is ideal for experiencing a range of rock features in a small area. If you do decide to hike this on your own, you must obtain a day permit.
Frequently Asked Questions on Moab Hiking Trails
So, now you’ve got some hiking trail inspiration, what else should you know? We’ve prepared some important answers to common questions about Moab hikes.
What’s it like to hike in Moab?
In short, incredible – hikes in Moab are famous for good reason. The desert landscape around Moab is full of canyons, arches, rivers, and unusual sandstone rock formations. Hiking the trails around Moab is always engaging, with plenty to see.
You do have to pay attention to weather and trail conditions when hiking the trails around Moab. In the rain, slick rock trails can become slippery, and flash floods are common in many canyons. In the sun, you’ll find little shade and hardly any facilities – so bring all the water, food, sun cream, and equipment you need.
Hiking around Moab doesn’t mean staying in Utah either. Moab is close to the state borders, so you can easily head to the Southern end of Utah and cross into Arizona to visit the Grand Canyon. Of course, Grand Junction is just across the Colorado border as well.
As there are so many national parks around Moab, you might want to purchase a National Parks Pass. Most national parks charge you an entry fee, which could quickly become an expensive part of your trip. Figure out how many parks you will visit, then decide whether or not you need a pass.
What to pack for hiking in Moab?
The first thing to remember when packing for a hike in Moab is that you will be carrying everything that you bring. It is worth checking how comfortable you are carrying your hiking bag before you set off, and don’t be afraid to be strict with what you plan to carry. A reliable backpack is a must when hiking in Moab. One with a bladder for water is a great idea.
Once you’ve got your hiking backpack picked out, there are some necessary items that you need to pack. Always prioritize sun cream, sunglasses, and a sun hat. A refillable water bottle is also a necessity.
Insect repellant spray is always helpful, so we’d recommend you bring a tried-and-tested brand that you know to be effective. A flashlight is a useful emergency tool if you get lost and finish the trail later than planned. Flashlights are also good for sunrise and sunset hikes, which inevitably start or end in low lighting. If you want to be really prepared, anti-histamine tablets and a basic first aid kit won’t go amiss.
In terms of clothes, layers are essential. Many hikers often overlook warm layers and waterproofs, so don’t be that hiker shivering on the trail. You can limit what layers you carry on the day by researching the weather forecast before setting off.
Finally, make sure that you have fantastic footwear. Bring water shoes if the trail crosses water, like the Morning Glory Bridge trail. But, usually, sturdy hiking boots with good ankle support should do the trick.
What’s the easiest hike in Moab?
Double Arch trail is the easiest hike in Moab. At just 1.1km long, the loop only gains an elevation of 29 meters – plus, you are rewarded with views of one of Utah’s most popular natural arches.
Minimal effort and high reward, this is the easiest of our hikes in Moab, Utah.
If you are constantly craving the next challenge, the good news is that Moab is full of them. You’ll be able to find some brilliantly difficult hikes near Moab.
Where to Stay in Moab
The best budget accommodation in Moab is at campgrounds and hostels, although we recommend RV camping if you have a suitable vehicle. If you are renting a vehicle anyway, it might be worth renting an RV.
Red Cliffs Lodge is a fantastic mid-range hotel, with the bonus of many tours departing from its lobby.
Thanks to the sandstone cliffs backing the property, the pool views are incredible. Guests can also visit the winery, film museum, tennis courts, and restaurants on-site.
Hoodoo Moab is a four-star luxury property and part of the Hilton’s Curio Collection. You can bathe in the outdoor pool, break a sweat in the fully-equipped fitness suite, relax in the spa, or enjoy a meal at the on-property steakhouse.
When’s the best time to visit Moab?
In general, fall and spring are the best months to visit Moab.
These seasons avoid the intense summer heat and also the frost and slippery footing in winter. If you want to prioritize hiking when visiting Moab, seriously consider choosing fall or spring. You’ll have fewer hazards and weather conditions to worry about, so you can (almost) solely focus on hiking.
Got a budget in mind? Or would you just prefer to avoid the crowds? You should also choose term periods when visiting Moab in fall and spring. You’ll avoid all the teenagers on holidays with friends and families with young children. Plus, prices tend to drop during off, and shoulder seasons. Your trip will be cheaper and quieter – a perfect scenario if you ask us.
For hiking enthusiasts, Moab is an addictive destination.
Between the views, the trail features, and the sheer number of trail options to choose from, you are bound to have a fantastic time. Just remember your camera.