Summer in Utah is all about getting outside and letting the magniﬁcence of the natural world revitalize your gusto for life. There’s no better place than Moab to make your basecamp for outdoor explorations, and it’s just four hours south of Park City.
Centered between Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Dead Horse Point State Park and the La Sal Mountains, Moab promises to offer you once-in-a-lifetime recreational experiences during the day and then send you wining and dining into the night. There’s so much to choose from in Moab, sometimes it’s hard to know where to begin. We’d like to recommend some of our favorites, and hope you’ll write to tell us of new and wonderful things you find too!
Moab is known for its vibrant Main Street that is packed with unique shops and restaurants. One of these is Moab Brewery, which is celebrating its 21st year of serving their signature micro-brews such as Porcupine Pilsner and Squeaky Bike Nut Brown Ale. Their burgers are legendary and the atmosphere relaxed — exactly what you yearn for after a long day of exploring. If you like a side of history with your food, be sure to have at least one dinner at the Sunset Grill. Located in the renovated home of Charlie Steen, Utah’s Uranium King, the views from every table are stunning. The menu is exceptional and reservations are highly recommended. For a special night out, try Jeffrey’s Steakhouse, just a little off Main Street. Jeffrey and Lauren Davis have transformed a historic sandstone building into a desert oasis where Frank Sinatra plays softly, the ambiance is genteel, and the food is beyond delicious. Specializing in American Wagyu beef paired with owner-selected wines, Jeffrey’s will offer you an evening of refined reprieve during your vacation in the the wild west.
Sorrel River Ranch, located on the tranquil banks of the Colorado River, is Moab’s 5-star version of pleasure amid nature. Their maxim of “Where Luxury Meets Adventure” is the truth. Their hotel rooms, gourmet dining and spoil-yourself spa are comparable to any renowned U.S. resort, but the ambiance is Utah family-friendly at its best. Depending on your mood, meditative outdoor yoga can be alternated with high-octane hikes or mountain biking amid the red rocks that surround the Ranch. An authentic western horseback trail ride for the whole family can end with relaxing by the pool. Rafting in the awe-inspiring canyons, heart thumping Jeep off-roading, or bonfires serenaded by live music are all in a day’s vacation at Sorrel River Ranch. If Mom and Dad need some time to themselves, the Ranch staff has a long list of kids’ activities such as lawn games or pony rides. If you’re traveling solo, you’re never far from gracious company. If you’re seeking a couple’s retreat, the peace and majesty of nature that surrounds the Ranch inspire romance like an enchantress’ love potion.
Two new adventures added this year to Sorrel River Ranch’s long list o° er to take you to new heights — literally. Sunrise hot air balloon ridesfl y you high above unimaginably beautiful landscapes as you ˇ oat on the breeze. This change in perspective reminds you that life is meant to be lived boldly, yet at peace with all that surrounds you. To make your spirit soar even higher, the Sorrel Adventure Concierge can arrange a private plane tour for you. Flying over breathtaking views of Dead Horse Point State Park, Canyonlands National Park, the confluence of the Colorado & Green Rivers, Lake Powell and the Eastern Rim of the Grand Canyon lets you see numerous wonders of nature in just one day. Lunch at the historic El Tovar Hotel that overlooks the Grand Canyon gives you time to reflect on the life-changing journey you’ve just experienced before returning to Moab.
Moab Under Canvas has made the glamorous camping experience known as “glamping” their specialty. Located on 40 acres of sweeping natural landscapes and surrounded by high canyon walls, all you need to do is wake up and walk outside of your tent or teepee to find yourself in the great outdoors. Moab Under Canvas supplies all the tranquility and seclusion of regular camping, but with comfortable beds, gourmet meals and hot showers.
Once you’ve found food and lodging, the fun really begins as you consider all the goings-on in Moab. The Moab Adventure Center is a one-stop-shop for Moab outdoor activities. With a large team of experts in everything from canyoneering and National Park tours to zip-lines and mountain biking, Moab Adventure Center makes it easy to put together all the details of a fun-filled vacation. You just tell them what you want to do or see, and they’ll make it happen.
Canyonlands by Night & Day is a locally owned adventure company that has become well known for their lavish Dutch Oven dinners. Although you’re welcome to attend only the dinner, most people combine it with one of the excursions Canyonlands by Night & Day has been offering visitors to Moab since 1963. Boat rides on the Colorado as the natural sounds and lights change from minute to minute and ATV tours are among the most popular excursions.
The Moab area is traversed by trails used by hikers, mountain bikers and off-roaders; but one of the most fun ways to experience these is on horseback. Hauer Ranch, owned by a Moab family, puts their local expertise at your service by designing custom trail rides for one to twenty people. Located on the banks of the Colorado with panoramic views of Fisher Towers and Castle Rock, you may recognize features of Hauer Ranch from the movies that have been ÿ lmed there such as John Wayne’s Rio Grande and Billy Crystal’s City Slickers II.
2017 marks the 25th anniversary of the Moab Music Festival. For the 12 days between August 31st and September 11th, Moab will once again be transformed into a cornucopia of joy-filled sound. With more than 45 artists filling multiple venues in downtown Moab and along the Colorado River, this year’s celebration is sure to be one of the best in its long history.
“Every year the festival grows and matures,” said Artistic Director and Co-Founder Leslie Tomkins. “When we embarked on making our dream of an internationally renowned music festival a reality, we had no idea it would become this sensationally popular. We owe much of its success to the magnificent natural surroundings of Moab.”
The Grotto Concerts are the ideal representation of everything the Moab Music Festival organizers set out to do. A relaxing 45-minute jet boat ride down the Colorado River delivers you to “nature’s concert hall”, a pristine, acoustically perfect wilderness grotto sculpted by nature in the surrounding red rock walls. The grand piano, strings and vocalists resonate o° the cliffs as brilliantly as they would in any grand cathedral, and the evening concerts vibrate with a magical quality. “The landscape and music meld into a once-in-lifetime experience that moves the mind and heart,” said Music Director and Co-Founder Michael Barrett.
Another wildly popular Moab Music Festival offering is the Westwater Musical Rft Trip. This three-day/two-night excursion through Colorado River’s Ruby, Horsethief and Westwater Canyons combines the excitement of river rafting with sublime classical music. You’ll experience heart-pounding whitewater, a concierge set-up of campsites, gourmet meals and guided hikes through mind-blowing scenery; all this and private concerts performed by professional musicians each day. Returning to Moab on the evening of the third day, you’ll take up right where you left off by strolling Main Street, entertained by world-class musicians every step of the way.
When it comes to experiencing the grandeur of Utah’s natural wonders, there’s no place like the sights near Moab. We encourage you to set aside time this summer for at least one trip south to see it for yourself. We’re confident you’ll agree that there’s more life to grab in Moab.
By Annette Velarde