Surrounded by two national parks with incredible redrock formations, the quirky and lively town of Moab is a great base for a romantic getaway. Here are our top five things to do while you are there.
1. Pedal Together on an Adventure
With literally hundreds of miles of some of the best mountain biking in the world, Moab is a perfect place to rent a mountain bike and explore the desert. There are trails for every ability, so ask for recommendations at the bike shop.
For strong, advanced riders, the Porcupine Rim Trail, a 14.4-mile one way or 30.8-mile loop, is a Moab classic that takes you from Sand Flats above Moab to a huge mesa offering sweeping views of Castle Valley before you take singletrack down to the Colorado River. To do the 14.4-mile route, you will need to hire a commercial shuttle company in town.
2. Get Devilish in Arches
Just several minutes form downtown Moab is the entrance to Arches National Park. It’s worth a stop into the visitor center to see exhibits and learn more about the park’s geological and cultural history. Then hit the trail away from the crowds. A long but thrilling hiking experience is the Devils Garden Primitive Loop, a seven-plus mile loop. You will encounter some narrow ledges with a rocky surface that requires scrambling on slickrock. But you’ll pass by eight arches along the way, making the trail worth the effort.
3. Watch the Sunrise
Nothing is more romantic, especially if you are a morning person, than watching the sunrise over the desert. Grab a cup of coffee and some pastries at one of Moab’s great coffee shops before heading 40 miles on US-191 and UT-313 to the Island in the Sky District of Canyonlands National Park.
Tucked in the park is the Mesa Arch trail, an easy, half-mile hike roundtrip. When you arrive at the arch, which faces east, watch the sun come up, washing the entire desert floor with shades of pink and orange. (See photo at top)
4. Sleep by the Colorado River
Count the stars above you before you go to sleep in a lodge or tent along the Colorado River, which parallels Hwy. 128, otherwise called “the river road” by locals. Built right along the 1,450-mile river, Red Cliffs Lodge and Sorrel River Ranch offer great dining and lodging options. Otherwise, snuggle together in your tent at one of the many campsites located along the river. Don’t miss seeing the sunset as it casts brilliant reflections in the Colorado River of the rock formations above.
5. Toast Your Partner with Wine or Sip from Matrimony Spring
Take a break from the outdoors and do a wine tasting. Fourteen miles from downtown Moab on Hwy. 128, Red Cliffs Lodge is home to the Castle Creek Winery (www.castlecreekwinery.com), which is the largest winery in Utah. It offers daily wine tastings.
On your way to Red Cliffs, stop on the right side of the road at Matrimony Spring to fill up your water bottles and toast to your relationship. Matrimony Spring is located just out of town right after you take a right on Hwy. 128.