Top Moab Day Hikes Outside the National Parks

Moab — there’s a lot of magic in that name. It conjures up bare-bones landscapes of stunning beauty, deep canyons excavated by the Colorado River, distant vistas of peak and plain, long cliff bands of multicolored sandstone, and soaring towers and arches that scrape against the blue sky. The Moab area, with its vast uninhabited tracts of sandstone canyons, cliffs, and mesas, is an outdoor paradise for hikers.

Everybody knows that the famous national parks near Moab, Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park, offer excellent hiking opportunities. But what a lot of people don’t realize is that the Moab area also offers lots of excellent trails that thread through canyons, climb mesas and buttes, and traverse sand dunes and slickrock outside the national parks.

But where to begin? To help you choose a hike outside the parks, we’ve selected a few of the best. On these trails you’ll find a lot of the same spectacular scenery — without the crowds or entrance fees. As always, be prepared for desert hiking conditions with extra water, sunscreen and sun hats, and a good map or GPS unit. Then lace up your boots and enjoy!

The Hikes

1. Hidden Valley Trail: 4 miles. A steep hike leads to a hidden valley high above Moab and Spanish Valley. After climbing quickly to the valley, the trail traverses it below gorgeous, towering cliffs. Great hike for those seeking solitude.

2. Fisher Towers Trail: 5.2 miles. A maze of soaring sandstone towers surrounds you on this moderate hike to a high ridge above Onion Creek. Great hike for those who enjoy awesome views.

3. Dinosaur Tracks Trail: 0.2 mile. Families with dinosaur enthusiasts (of all ages) will enjoy this interesting short hike to a large boulder with dinosaur tracks above the Colorado River. This hike is ideal for small children.

4. Corona Arch: 3 miles. This excellent hike above the Colorado River Canyon leads to three arches, including Corona Arch, one of the largest arches in the Moab area. Excellent hike for those who want to enjoy arches far from the crowds in Arches National Park.

5. Hunter Canyon Trail: 3.4 miles. This excellent out-and-back trail leads up a canyon lined with towering sandstone cliffs. This hike offers awesome scenery and lots of solitude away from the national parks.

6. Grandstaff Trailhead (Formerly Negro Bill Canyon): 4 miles. A journey into this small desert canyon is not terribly difficult, and along the trail you will find a clear stream running year-round, as well as the magnificent Morning Glory Natural Bridge.

Discover the Moab Area

Moab, Utah

The perfect fusion of red rock epicenter, serene wild places, mountain biking mecca and luxury escape.

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Arches National Park

An amazing landscape featuring the largest proliferation of arches in the world, unforgettable hikes and grand adventures for the whole family.

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Dead Horse Point State Park

Dead Horse Point combines magnificent views that rival the Grand Canyon with a splendid network of rolling singletrack trails.

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