moab, utah

Located in the Red Rock country of southeastern Utah, this famously outdoorsy town is not easy to reach. The closest international airport is in Salt Lake City, a four-hour drive away. But the region, with two incredible national parks, several state parks and an abundance of rugged things to do, is a must-visit for active types.

The town of Moab is a hodge-podge of mass-market chain hotels, mixed in with B&Bs, restaurants, coffee shops and lots of outfitters offering everything from off-road RVs to canyoneering trips. It's not as quaint or charming as Springdale (outside Zion), but it's convenient and congenial – and makes you feel immediately part of the community here.

Moab also has a wonderful high-end hotel option: Sorrel River Ranch located a 30-minute drive up scenic Route 128, which runs along the Colorado River through stunning red rock canyons. Sorrel is a most comfortable base for exploring nearby Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. Other activities here include mountain biking, canyoneering, climbing and exploring off the beaten path, with state parks like Dead Horse also rating high in terms of scenery and hikes.

Indagare Tip: There's lots of great hiking outside the official parks. A stunning hike is Hidden Valley, which begins just south of Moab and traverses gorgeous terrain, culminating on a high plateau with sweeping views and a wall full of striking petroglyphs believed to have been created by the ancient Anasazi people.

Written by Simone Girner

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