Moab, Utah is the kind of location one doesn’t forget easily, even 45 years after visiting, and living where one is taught to believe that only the coasts are relevant. Bah, humbug.
The Southwest is where it’s at – not only for intrepid adventurers seeing to rappel down cliffs, whitewater raft, horseback or hot balloon ride, but for the poets, the seekers, the be-ers. For this is a soul-enriching slice of the country, a place where Americans can proudly say, “This is ours.”
Tourism spike in Moab
According to Moab Adventure Center’s Brandon Lake – an ideal monicker for a guy who specializes in outdoor trips – tourism in the Southwest has spiked in recent years, “specifically in Moab. We’ve had, continually, new hotels popping up. There are 10 under construction right now, all because of this incredible demand. “
The “influx of people” in the Moab area, which is three and a half hours south of Salt Lake City and not far from the Colorado border, has been recorded by the national parks. Lake says Arches National Park, for example, measures increases year-over-year. In 2000, there were 786,000 park visitors; whereas in 2012, that figure had shot up to 1,070,000.
He sites a few reasons for the increase; firstly, the State of Utah received a big windfall for its marketing budget and they have highlighted southern Utah, says Lake. Secondly, Europeans see the West as a mysterious, romantic locale, straight out of a John Wayne Western. In more modern times, “Mission Impossible 2” shot right at Castle Rock in Moab, and other films have been made here too, such as “City Slickers” and the newest “Lone Ranger” flick.
“[The State’s] done this ‘Mighty Five’ campaign that has helped – [it features our] five national parks here in Utah: Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capital Reef, Arches, and Canyonlands,” which he points out, is unique in all of America. Moab also boasts Dead Horse Point State Park.
Whether you’re going for natural parks or just the ubiquitous natural beauty, Moab and its environs have something to offer you.
Hikes, off-roading and sightseeing
Winter temps fluctuate dramatically here, with average Decembers in the forties. This is fine weather for hiking during the day, but you might want to wait and camp in the spring months.
Hikes through Arches National Park or the other aforementioned parks are a once-in-lifetime experience you’ll want to repeat 10 or 100 more times before you exit this Earth.
And speaking of our world, one walk through Arches reminds one of quite another, surreal planet. This examiner still recalls feeling a connection between the moonwalk she saw on TV in 1969 and the treks in Utah just shortly before.
Make sure to bring great walking shoes/tennis shoes, plenty of water, your camera, and SPF. Even in the winter you need to ensure you won’t get sunburnt. Don’t be fooled by those clouds! Arches recommends taking precautionary measures such as wearing special traction devices and using poles if conditions are expected to be slippery.
Lake’s company leads a range of tours, from camping to off-roading in a Hummer, which may tickle your fancy. The tours are set up for a gradiated level of skill and interests. While the area may get a dusting of snow in the mountain ranges, you wouldn’t consider this for your cross-country skiing desires necessarily; however, that all depends on the year, so call in advance or check with the National Weather Service.
Everyday holiday in Moab
Even if you only want to “chill” and sit by a fire and open presents with your sweetie, Moab’s the place to be. As Lake said, numerous hotels have sprung up lately. He recommends either the economical Big Horn Lodge, or the pricier Red Cliffs Lodge or upscale resort, Sorrel R Lodge. Want a virtual thrill? Check out the Red Cliff’s Lodge webcam of the Colorado River corridor and Fisher Towers, Big Horn is located in the “heart of Canyonlands and just 4 miles from Arches National Park,” according to its website.
The town itself offers charming opportunities to explore, dine, mill around and get your cowboy or girl groove on. And do make sure to catch the Electric Light Parade while you are in Moab, scheduled for Dec. 5 down the main street in town.