SPONSORED — Picture the summer sun glistening over red rock arches along miles of hiking and mountain bike trails — the most spectacular geography you’ve ever seen. Now imagine you’re in Utah. Moab, Utah might just be America’s hidden gem of outdoor activity — and it’s swiftly gaining popularity. In fact, in 2013, the town was named one of TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice Top 10 Destinations on the Rise in the U.S. Here are a few reasons this town holds a bigger punch than you thought.
You might recognize it
Seattle residents may not see a whole lot of desert scape and red rock arches on a regular basis, but they still might experience a little deja vu when arriving in Moab. Nothing supernatural here. According to discovermoab.com, Moab was actually the backdrop to many blockbuster movies, including “Star Trek,” “The Lone Ranger,” “127 Hours” and “Mission Impossible: II.”
It features a two-for-one punch
According to archesandcanyonlands.com, Moab is one of the most isolated communities in the United States. And with only around 9,000 inhabitants and not a shopping mall in sight, you’ll probably quickly realize why. That said, the little town is central to both Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, so visitors can explore both regions from one central town with the warmth and hospitality of a small resort town.
It’s gaining international acclaim
Moab may have once been Utah’s hidden gem, but more and more people are discovering the area — and they’re not all domestic. In fact, according to the Moab Sun News, the town saw more than 1 million visitors in 2011, an estimated 30 percent of which were international. Europeans top the list of foreign travelers, although the number of Asian visitors is rising.
It’s a haven for adrenaline junkies
Adrenaline is as abundant as sunshine in Moab. Outside of the nearby “playgrounds” of Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park, opportunities for outdoor activities are endless. From mountain biking and hiking to climbing, four-wheeling, river rafting, skydiving and ATV exploring, there are several ways to make your mother worry in Moab.
It’s not just about extreme sports
While hiking, mountain biking, rafting, climbing and canyoneering are certainly big draws for visitors, Moab also attracts visitors just looking for a leisurely outdoor vacation. With the region’s diverse landscape and abundant wildlife, bird watchers and photographers love Moab. Fishing, golfing, ballooning and site-seeing tours are also popular.
It’s easy to get there
When you’re building a campfire in the silence of Canyonlands National Park, you may feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere. But getting there won’t take a Sherpa — or any special arrangements. In fact, Moab is just a few hours’ drive from Salt Lake City International Airport and less than two hours from Grand Junction Regional Airport in Colorado — both short flights from Sea-Tac Airport.
Summer isn’t the only season
While the red rock and desert landscape evoke a sense of endless summer, winter isn’t so bad in Moab. In fact, it may be the ultimate cup of tea for a winter sport enthusiast (especially if a cup of tea is involved). The nearby La Sal Mountains and Manti La Sal National Forest host the perfect terrain for snowshoeing, snowmobiling and cross-country skiing. Not to mention you might save a few bucks, too. Outside Adventure Guide advises visiting Moab in winter in order to find the best deals.
Plan your trip today!