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Look up “adventure” in the dictionary and chances are it will have a two-word definition: Moab, Utah. Located just four hours from Salt Lake City, the list of things to do in Moab is seemingly endless.
With options including road and mountain biking, whitewater rafting, jetboat tours, canyoneering, rock climbing, ATV trails, Hummer tours, jeep rentals, hot air balloon rides, skydiving, hiking, horseback riding, kayaking and canoeing, golf, and visiting national or state parks, there is an activity for every age and gender.
“Moab is the adventure center of Southeastern Utah. It’s where adventure begins,” says Marian DeLay, executive director of the Moab Area Travel Council.
The Great Outdoors
The Colorado River, set against a backdrop of stunning red rock scenery, serves as a jumping-off point for all types of water-related activities. Rafting trips can be booked for a half-day or for several days, in calm water or class-4 whitewater rapids. It’s also the location for the Raft for the Cure breast cancer awareness event held every June, where people of all ages spend the day on the river, visiting with friends and eating good food.
For hiking fans, the abundance of trails in the Moab area can keep people entertained for days. Arches National Park boasts the largest concentration of sandstone arches in the world. For beginning hikers, there are 10–15 minutes trails while more advanced hikers can spend several hours, or days, exploring the area. The three-mile round trip hike to Delicate Arch is a must for adventurous hikers.
DeLay says visiting Dead Horse Point State Park is a necessity when vacationing in Moab. The park’s view is one of the most photographed scenic vistas in the world. Towering 2,000 feet over the Colorado River, the overlook offers a breathtaking view of Canyonlands National Park.
“This park is the premier state park in Utah,” she says. “I’ve heard people liken the views at Dead Horse Point and the ambience at the park to the Grand Canyon.”
Before heading off into the great outdoors, DeLay says a stop at the Moab Information Center on the corner of Center Street and Main is essential. The knowledgeable staff can help determine which activities are best suited for each person and their expectations. Brochures, maps, travel guides and a calendar of events are available to help plan the perfect experience.
A Luxurious Oasis
For accommodations in Moab, selections range from a tent pitched along the river to a luxurious, pampering resort—and everything in between. The Sorrel River Ranch Resort and Spa is the ideal place to return and rejuvenate after spending a day exploring the red rock canyons or floating on the Colorado River. Recently added to Benchmark Hospitality International’s exclusive portfolio of luxury resorts, the award-winning Sorrel River Ranch is committed to creating the most memorable experience for each guest.
“The best thing about the ranch is its sense of place,” says Jamie McAnally, Sorrel River Ranch general manager. “The environment where we are located is surrounded by multiple, majestic red mesas. It’s kind of like an oasis amidst this red desert.”
With upscale and luxurious accommodations featuring rustic wood furniture and high-class linens, guests can be assured every need will be met. Resort employees can arrange tours, excursions, spa treatments or suggest “must-see” attractions in the area.
The signature Bourbon Cowboy spa treatment at the resort uses brown sugar and Kentucky Whiskey combined with a gingersnap pecan-scented body scrub to exfoliate and massage, leaving skin pampered and hydrated after a hard day of exploring. Other spa offerings include a full variety of wraps, soaks, manicures and pedicures, facials and massages.
The Sorrel River Grill provides magnificent views of the river and canyons along with its eclectic menu. The resort is also available for business conferences, board meetings and family reunions, offering a nice change from stuffy boardrooms in big-city locations.
“[People] should come to Moab because it’s a very unique part of the country,” McAnally says, “especially if you’re an outdoors enthusiast.”
And Culture, Too
The Moab Music Festival, held the first two weeks in September, consists of 14 concerts featuring world-class musicians. Each concert is held in a different location in the Moab community.
A favorite event during the festival is the unique grotto concert, where attendees float down the Colorado River in jetboats through an astoundingly acoustical red rock venue. Guests take pleasure in listening to beautiful chamber music while enjoying champagne in a natural and beautiful venue.