Campsite Lottery, Red Rock Hiking & Friends – Moab, UT
It’s finally time for us to leave all the past weeks’ frivolity behind and get back to regular blogging. Or, at least become just a tad less frivolous (I try, really I do). This past week we’ve been hanging & hiking in Moab, UT and I’ve got lots to tell.
First up, I should admit that I was in two minds about coming to Moab. It’s not that this isn’t a pretty place…it is. It’s not that it hasn’t got fabulous views, a great little town and awesome hikes…it has. The problem lies in the fact that everyone and his brother thinks so too which means if the weather is anywhere close to good this place is mobbed!
Our first impressions were not exactly good. There’s zero boondocking for our size around Moab, so we arrived mid-week and early in the day looking to get into one of the 26 BLM campgrounds around town (I mean, that should be enough choices right?). I stopped at the first campground on U-128 to chat to Watson’s Wonder who were in town. Not only were there zero open sites, but I counted 10 rigs that drove by looking while we were talking. Agh! We continued down the road to no sites, no sites, no sites until by some magic we landed a huge (enormous) site in Big Bend Campground, possibly the last and only one left in Moab(?). Five minutes later there were people fighting over sites across the way from us and the craziness has not stopped since. The campground has been full every day, has had cars driving through every day and it’s been a test of musical chairs for anyone to get a spot. I’m infinitely happy we landed our huge spot, but the stress is a little too much for me. Yikes!
Having won the campsite lottery we bought a week and decided to enjoy what Moab has to offer. After all there’s a reason people come here, and despite our rocky start I’ll admit we’ve had fun. Here’s just a sampling of the stuff we’ve been doing around town:
1/ Arches National Park
No-one comes to Moab without a stop at Arches National Park, home of over 2,000 sandstone arches including the famous Delicate Arch that adorns all the Utah license plates. Like all National Parks it doesn’t allow dogs on any of the trails (always a bummer for us), so we didn’t spend nearly as much time as we would have liked exploring the trails, but we did take advantage of free pass week to do the drive-through (totally do-able for anyone in a few hours) and the 3-mile roundtrip hike to Delicate Arch. The park offers a huge array of differing landscapes from towers to arches to crazy badlands and many of the views are visible right from the road. Totally worth the visit!
2/ Exploring The “Arms” & Hiking With Doggie
There are 3 main scenic drives that branch off just north of town along BLM (and thus pooch-friendly) land. I call them the “arms” of Moab and each one has tons of interesting sights & doggie-friendly hikes. The drives/hikes are popular so unless you get to the trails by ~8AM (which is what we did), be ready for lots of people! Still, these are ALL worth it, no matter what time you go:
Utah 128 -> Negro Bill & Fisher Towers
This is the closest drive to town and follows a stunning canyon that runs east along the Colorado river and past the most popular BLM campgrounds. A few miles in is one of the best doggie-hikes in Moab = Negro Bill Canyon, that goes through several stream-crossings and ends at a stunning 243 foot long natural Bridge. Fabulous! About 21 miles in is another gem, Fisher Towers where you can stroll below the towers and see crazy people doing crazy climbing up the rocks. I managed to get lost within the first 200 feet of this hike (a new record for me), but I’m sure you’ll do better DO stop at the winery and cowboy museum on your way back to town.
Utah 279 -> Petroglyphs & Corona Arch
This canyon road follows an arm to the west of Moab, passing several large climbing-walls and interesting petroglyphs within the first 5 miles. About 10 miles in you can access another fabulous paw-friendly hike, Corona Arch. It’s a fun scramble with a few uphill ropes, but will finish at a wonderful 140 by 105 feet arch. Sadly, this very arch was the site of a death from a swing stunt just last month and we saw the flowers on the base to commemorate it. Some people are just too crazy to understand.
Utah 313 -> Dead Horse Point State Park
This road is the furthest north from Moab and is around a 28-mile trip. It will take you up onto the top of a Mesa and across sweeping views all the way to Dead Horse Point State Park, where you can walk the easy 4-mile rim trail with doggie. The rim lies 2000 feet above the valley floor and is one of the best places in the entire Moab area to get an “aerial” view of 10 million years of plateau uplift and rock erosion. Be ready for hot sun and no shade, but fabulous views. This is not just a great place to stay, but an awesome spot to gawk too. Simply stunning!
3/ Hanging With Friends
Spring and Fall are the absolute best months to visit Moab so it’s no surprise that other savvy RV bloggers are here too. We knew Watson’s Wonder were hanging in town and had been avidly following the hiking & jeeping adventures of Oh The Places They Go! for weeks before we arrived (seriously check out some of their jeeping posts -> I’m glad they’re doing these nutty roads so I don’t have to!). We all got together for a fabulous happy hour earlier in the week at Amanda&Tim’s lovely waterfront site and enjoyed it so much we gathered again at Pam&John’s very stylish spot later in the week. It never ceases to amaze me how easily we’ve met great folks on the road, and this week was just another example of that. Definitely five bonus point to Moab on this one!
That about rounds up our week in Moab. Despite the campsite craziness I have to admit it’s a cool little town. There’s a good downtown, decent food (check out the top-rated Quesadilla Food Truck), good shopping (Moonflower Market is a fabulous health-food store), great hiking (even with doggie, yeah!), awesome views and good people to boot. I think if we were to come back we’d stay further out by the more relaxed Horsethief BLM Campground, but there’s lots of stuff we didn’t manage to see and we’d certainly stop again.