20 Moab Hikes With Unbelievable Scenery

Last Updated on April 18, 2024 by foxintheforest

Moab is like a second home to me. I visit this fantastic desert oasis at least six times a year, sometimes more. Over the years I’ve amassed a sweet list of the best hikes in Moab, Utah.

The key to enjoying hiking in Moab is to have a plan. Many hiking areas in Moab are located in clusters.

For example, Potash Road has several dog-friendly hiking trails, while Arches and Canyonlands offer clusters of hiking trails that don’t allow pets.

So plan your hiking itinerary for where you want to spend the most of your time.

Over the years, I’ve come to Moab COUNTLESS times. What can I say? The red rock desert is what dreams are made of. This landscape gets watered by my drool every time I visit. It never gets old.

But, Moab isn’t an unknown hiking locale. Lucky for you, you’ve arrived an amazing resource for beating the crowds at the popular hikes here AND I’ll give you a few hidden gems that you won’t find anywhere else.

Want the short list? Here’s a look at my all-time favorite hikes in Moab that I come back to again and again.

The Best Hikes in Moab, Utah NOT in National Parks

These hikes aren’t in national parks which means that they are dog-friendly. Just be curious. Keep your dog on a leash and pick up after your pet!

1. Make a Splash on the Mill Creek Trail

I’ve only been to Moab in the summer a few times – only to learn that you shouldn’t visit Moab in the summer. But if you are here during the summer months, Mill Creek is great.

Summer is also the BUSIEST time to visit, so if you want fewer crowds, consider hiking here for sunrise on a warm fall evening.

Tired of the sweltering heat? Hit up one of the few Moab hikes that feature a waterfall, Mill Creek. This 7.5-mile trail features a waterfall and is an excellent place to stop for a dip.

The easy terrain makes this watering hole both kid and dog-friendly. So go ahead and splash around! Don’t forget your bathing suit!

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 7.5 miles
Elevation: 672 feet
Time: A 3.5 to 4-hour hike, excluding swim time
Red Tape: None
Kid-Friendly: Yes, maybe a little too much for babies.
Dog friendly? Yes

2. Wander the Rim Trail at Dead Horse Point State Park

Don’t let the name discourage you, Dead Horse Park has one of the most beautiful views in Moab (and that’s saying a lot for a place full of amazing views).

What I love about Dead Horse Point State Park is that the hikes here are really accessible. I was visiting Moab once and came down with a really mean cold. That meant all of my burly hiking plans were ruined, so I spent the day wandering all of the rim trails here.

This a great spot to hike with babies, kids, and dogs – our daughter and doggo loved it. HOWEVER, there are no guard rails so if you’re squeamish with your children around steep drops or they can’t be trusted, you may want to skip this spot.

Sunset and sunrise are awesome here. I particularly like a winter visit because you spot ice flows in the river down below.

Pro Tip: Take the scenic Gemini Bridges 4WD road to the park for even more luscious canyon views.

Difficulty: The Dead Horse Rim Loop Trail easy
Distance: 5 miles but you can go for as long or as little as you’d like.
Elevation: negligible gain
Time: 2-4 hours
Red Tape: There is a small fee to enter the park ($20)
Kid-friendly? Yes, however there are no guard rails so if that makes you uncomfortable avoid this hike.
Dog Friendly? yes, on leash

Dead Horse Point state park photo taken to showcase a teal river with ice flows and a red rock caynon dusted in snow.

3. Chase the Sunset at the Hidden Valley Trail

Located in the small town of Spanish Valley, the Hidden Valley Trail is just that – HIDDEN! I sometimes stay nearby and always take this trail when I’m in the area.

The downside to this one is that you hike near a neighborhood and the highway. The access can’t be beat, and the views from the top give you a really unique perspective of Moab.

As one of the quieter Moab hikes, this trail delivers you beautiful views of nearby Moab and Spanish Valley.

At sunset, you’ll catch the La Sal Mountains glowing in the beautiful red hues of the setting sun and slowly fade to a purple landscape.

Pack your headlamp for this dog-friendly hike. The beginning is a bit steep, but it gets much easier once you gain the first mesa.

Difficulty: difficult
Distance: 6 miles
Elevation: 1,171 feet of gain
Time: 3 hours
Red Tape: None
Kid-friendly? Steep for littles, great for school-age and up.
Dog-friendly: Yes

best hikes in moab

4. Fisher Towers Hiking Trail Near Moab, Utah

This moderate hike winds its way up mind-altering muddy rock formations that jut out of nowhere the Colorado River basin. The Fisher Towers Trail is a great option for those who are headed in and out of Moab via Route 128.

Many people climb the weird, muddy rock (as a climber, don’t ask me why seems sketchy to be honest!) and it’s an excellent place to spot climbers and wander around the weird scenery. Bonus points to this hike for being dog-friendly.

Pro Tip: This is also one of the most iconic climbing spots in Moab, so check out the amazing rock climbers as you hike around.

Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 4.7 miles
Elevation: 1,820 feet of gain
Time: 2.5 to 3 hours
Red Tape: None
Dog-friendly? Yes on leash. There is a ladder though which may be challenging to navigate
Kid-friendly? Yes.

best hikes in moab

5. Go for a Sunset Hike to Corona Arch

Corona Arch is the perfect afternoon hike. Located just outside of Moab on Potash Road, you’ll find plenty of adventure.

We usually make a stop here on the way to Thelma and Louise Point or as our own little trip. There’s a lot to see nearby, which makes Corona Arch it’s own little side trip.

Pro Tip: This one gets PACKED. Arrive before 7 am if you want some solitude here.

In fact, this area is home to some of the best things to do in Moab such as finding dinosaur tracks and petroglyphs, climbing, and more arches.

The hike to Corona Arch is three miles over slickrock and moderate difficulty, mostly for the end cable sections. There is one ladder to help you out too.

Use the green lines painted on the ground to find your way. You’ll also find a few cairns (stacked rocks) to mark the trail.

Just before getting to the arch, you’ll pass two cable sections and have to climb a ladder. The first cable section isn’t too tough, but the second was fairly steep, but nothing impossible.

They claim this is a dog-friendly hike, but most larger pups will struggle with the 6-foot ladder – we struggled quite a bit. Be prepared to carry your dog in your pack or use a harness to lift and carry your four-legged friend.

Pro tip: Bringing Fido? Go to nearby Pinto Arch instead. On the same trailhead, you’ll see a marked turnoff for the arch.

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 2.3 miles
Elevation: 469 feet of gain
Time: 1.5 hours
Red Tape: No climbing the arch. Dogs are welcome, but it’s not a dog-friendly trail.
Kid Friendly? Yes for school-age and up
Dog-Friendly? Technically yes on leash, but the ladder makes reaching the arch tough.

Spending a solitary evening watching sunset over Corona Arch castling the last rays of light through this iconic natural rock formation.

Hikes in Arches National Park

Known as the gem of Moab, Arches National Park is a must-see. The park features plenty of accessible, easy hikes with big rewards.

Some of the best views in Moab can be found here. Photographers will love the opportunity for unique landscape shots, so pack your camera.

There are countless amazing hikes in Arches National Park. So be sure to explore all the park has to offer.

6. Check out Delicate Arch for Sunrise

Delicate Arch is certainly one of the best hikes in Moab. In fact, it’s one of the most beautiful hikes in the US.

However, it’s also insanely crowded. I’ll let you in on a little secret: visit for sunrise in the winter to beat the crowds. We enjoyed this spot with literally 4 other people for a gorgeous sunrise on Christmas Day.

The Delicate Arch hike is relatively easy and straightforward. Follow trail signs up a hill and then up a steeper slickrock section.

After that, follow the wash until it leads up some more slickrock and past a small window with steps before it (check out the view of Delicate Arch).

Just around the bend is the view you’ve been waiting for!

Local Tip: Scramble around for different viewpoints of the arch. It’s truly a wonderful landscape!

Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Distance: 3 miles,
Elevation: 610 feet of gain
Time: 2 hours
Red Tape: $30 park entry fee.
Dog Friendly? No dogs
Kid Friendly? Yes, but steep sections may be challenging.

best hikes in arches
No, I didn’t edit out 100s of people, it was really this empty.


Tower Arch is located down a bumpy dirt road that requires an SUV to reach the trailhead. Since the road isn’t maintained, you’ll want to check conditions before you go to ensure it’s possible with your vehicle.

But this little section of 4×4 road keeps people away.

This secluded hike is one of my all-time favorites! The first time I did this hike I was 6.5 months pregnant. Needless to say, it was a little bit of a struggle for me since I was going on my 12th mile of hiking for the day!

But the steep sand and slick rock walking aren’t too noticeable if you’re looking at the surrounding views.

Difficulty: Easy to moderate – steep sand and some slick rock
Distance: 2.4 miles
Elevation: 600 feet of gain
Time: 1.5 hours
Red Tape: $30 entry fee. Need an SUV with some clearance to reach the trailhead.
Dog-friendly? No dogs.
Kid-Friendly? School-age and up

a view looking down a steep red rock canyon with mountains in the background on the Tower Arch trail.

8. See the Largest Arch Span in the World at Landscape Arch

Since I’ve been to the Devil’s Garden area probably 6 times now, I’ve passed by Landscape Arch quite a bit. If you’re planning other hikes in Devil’s Garden, Landscape Arch is an easy add!

This is one of the easiest hikes in Moab and terminates at the impressive Landscape Arch. This delicate rock formation spans 155 feet and is only 11 feet at its widest point.

It’s an inspiring sight and would make an excellent place for astrophotography.

Pro Tip: Add Tunnel Arch and Pine Tree Arch to your trip for an additional easy 0.4 miles.

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 1.9 miles
Elevation: 259 feet of gain
Time: 1 hour
Red Tape: No dogs. $30 entry fee.
Dog-friendly? No dogs.
Kid-Friendly? yes

hikes in moab

9. Devil’s Garden Loop in Arches National Park

I’m a big-time rock climber and mountaineer so when I did this hike 6.5 months pregnant I didn’t find it to be too strenuous. However, if you’re new to scrambling, it might be a bit intimidating.

There are a lot of cool side trips I’d recommend, including heading to Dark Angel along the way.

If you get an early start (be at the trailhead before 7 am) you’ll beat a majority of the crowds – we saw maybe 4 other people. The further back you go, the quieter it gets!

This difficult, yet doable trail makes its way through fun and exciting rock formations. Arch enthusiasts will be on cloud nine with the ability to spot six different arches along the trail.

Devil’s Garden Trail meanders a bit and scrambles over various rock formations, so be prepared to use your hands.

The back end of the loop is “primitive.” However, things are well marked, looked for cairns and signs but carry a GPS just in case.

Difficulty: difficult
Distance: 7.5 miles
Elevation: 1,069 feet of gain
Time: 4 to 6 hours depending on how well you scramble and how many stops you make.
Red Tape: No dogs. $30 park entry fee
Dog-friendly? No dogs.
Kid-Friendly? School-age and up, experienced is a huge plus.

A pregnant woman sits under a sandstone arch on the Devil's Garden trail.

10. Challenge Yourself in the Fiery Furnace

If you love to scramble up and over rock through wild and tight canyons, then you’ve got to check out one of the most challenging Moab hikes – the Fiery Furnace.

This is my second favorite hike at Arches (Tower Arch wins because you don’t need a permit). It’s a bit wander-y and really fun to go out there and get a little “lost.”

Don’t let the low mileage fool you – this hike requires just as much use of your hands as it does your feet. You’ll be crawling through a canyon system that feels more like an obstacle course than a hike. But if you’re into scrambling (light rock climbing that uses your hands), then you can’t miss the Fiery Furnace.

Another hike I did while pregnant and the climbing is totally manageable – even for beginners.

Don’t forget to check out Surprise Arch too!

Inexperienced parties are encouraged to register for a guided permit, while avid desert hikers can go on a solo adventure (permit required).

Pro Tip: Start early in the morning to hear the birds and have a TON of solitude here.

Difficulty: Challenging
Distance: 1.7 miles
Elevation: 387 feet of gain
Time: 2-3 hours
Red Tape: Advanced permits are required, released one week at a time. $30 entry fee for the park.
Dog-friendly? No dogs.
Kid-Friendly? Must be at least 10 years old for permits.

a man walks down the fiery furnace trail in arches national park in a big, deep, sandstone canyon.

Amazing Hikes Near Moab: Canyonlands National Park

Canyonlands National Park is divided into three sections. The Island in the Sky District is the closest to Moab and is home to gorgeous overlooks and easy hikes.

The Needles in Canyonlands is about 1.5 hours south of Moab and features plenty of challenging trails, but the views start early so you can go for as long as you’d like.

The Maze is 4 hours from Moab and offers the best in cross-country, challenging excursions that should only be attempted by experts.

Either way, there are plenty of scenic hikes in Canyonlands National Park to keep you occupied. These are just a few of my favorites

11. Grand View Point Trail in Canyonlands National Park

If you’re looking for sweeping canyon views, then head to the Grand Viewpoint Trail. I personally love this spot. There’s a lot of great vistas around every turn.

Here’s a HUGE secret to visiting this stunning location: If you go for sunrise, there are very few people here. I think this is a great alternative to Mesa Arch in terms of sunrises. Photographers will have plenty to get giddy over and you aren’t fighting for a tripod spot.

This hike is easier – I did it in a sling 2-weeks post-surgery with zero issues. We’ve also taken our toddler here, but there are no guardrails, so keep a close watch on your kids.

This 2-mile trail meanders its way to a panoramic viewpoint where you’ll enjoy the sweeping scenery of the deep canyon systems. Take care of the cliff edges and follow cairns if you get lost.

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 2 miles
Elevation: 32 feet of gain
Time: A half-hour to an hour, depending on how long you marvel at the formations.
Red Tape: $30 entry fee.
Dog-friendly? No dogs.
Kid-Friendly? Yes but there are cliffs with no guardrails so avoid if this makes you nervous

moab utah hiking

12. Soak Up a Sunrise at Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park

This picture-perfect, short hike offers easy viewing of one of the most stunning natural windows in the world. Rise and shine before dawn for this must-do hike near Moab.

Be prepared to share the view, it’s quite a popular short hike for photographers. We were here for sunrise on Christmas Eve and there were about 15 other people sharing the experience with us.

Located in the Island of the Sky district of Canyonlands, the Mesa Arch sunrise hike is easily accessible from Moab.

The sun rises directly underneath Mesa Arch, illuminating the stunning, spanning canyon below, making it one of the best hikes in Moab.

Pro Tip: Visiting Canyonlands National Park in winter lets you experience this magical sunrise hike without the hordes of people.

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 0.6 miles
Elevation: 62 feet of gain
Time: A half-hour of hiking, and endless time to enjoy the views.
Red Tape: $30 fee to enter the park
Dog-friendly? No dogs.
Kid-Friendly? Yes but there are cliffs with no guardrails so avoid if this makes you nervous.

moab hiking trails

13. Discover the Hoodoos Along the Chesler Park Loop in Canyonlands National Park

The Needles District, located in the remote southern region of Canyonlands National Park is a must-see. Photos don’t really do this place justice. You’re essentially emersed in a maze of towering sandstone spires and visit spanning vistas of this unique landscape.

The Chester Park Loop makes an awesome day hike, or you can snag a backpacking permit and spend the night in this fascinating landscape.

We really loved the loop in a day because you get to cover a lot of ground and see how the canyons change as you move through them.

We found a few harder sections of this hike, but it was mostly short-lived. Steep descents and a few sandy sections kept the hike at a moderate difficulty.

Pro Tip: The parking lot here fills up and you cannot park on the road. Plan to arrive by 7:30 am if you want parking! 6 am will likely give you some solitude.

Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 11.6 miles
Elevation: 1,935 feet of gain
Time: 6 hours including time to stop and admire the landscape
Red Tape: Permits are required for overnight use. $30 entry fee
Dog-friendly? No dogs.
Kid-Friendly? Yes, we brought our toddler here without any issues.

best hikes near moab

14. See the Monolith of Druid Arch in the Needles

So this is my favorite hike in Canyonlands. To be honest, when I first decided to come, I wasn’t sure if I would really enjoy it. But Druid Arch has everything!

The hike to Druid Arch is a doozy, but worth it! This 10-plus-mile hike brings you into the heart of the Needles.

When I hiked here I had blisters all over my feet from a climbing incident and did the whole thing in Chacos and socks. OOPH was that tiring!

To get to Druid Arch, you’ll make your way through everything from a small slot, deep sand, scrambly dry-falls, and plenty of insane views of Elephant Canyon before you reach the end.

A ladder and chain help you before you endure one more butt-busting uphill. Keep going! It’s worth it.

Local Tip: Backpacking the Needles is one of the most amazing things to do in Canyonlands National Park, so snag a permit at Elephant Canyon 2 and spend the night. Sunsets at Druid Arch are awesome!

Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 10.4 miles
Elevation: 1,614 feet of gain
Time: 5 hours
Red Tape: Permit required for backpacking. $30 entry fee
Dog-friendly? No dogs.
Kid-Friendly? Must be able to climb steep ladders and loose, rocky hillsides.

druid arch canyonlands

A Map of the Best Hikes Near Moab

Get oriented with this map of the best Moab hikes. Be sure to check out the interactive map too for more info.

map of the best moab hikes

Tips for Hiking in Moab

Hiking in a desert environment requires a few special skills. Some of the best hikes in Moab that aren’t popular don’t really follow much of a trail at all.

Keep in mind that most trails aren’t well-marked. In fact, they often cross through natural drainages that constantly shift and change with water flow.

This can make hiking in Moab a bit of a challenge for the inexperienced. Be sure to have some route-finding skills if you want to venture off the beaten path.

With that being said, popular hiking trails throughout Moab are well-marked, especially within the national parks.

Lastly, always stay on the trail. The desert is a sensitive environment that hangs on to life by a thread, meaning your impact makes a huge difference here.

There’s a saying for hiking in Moab called “Don’t bust the crust.” Be sure to avoid the black blobs of dirt (sometimes they look like tiny towers).

These are cryptobiotic soils – meaning they are alive – that do a lot to control erosion. When you step on them, you undo years of growth and damage the desert ecosystem.

What to Bring on Your Hikes

Over the years, I’ve honed my desert packing list down to a science. Here’s a look at the essentials – and a few creature comforts – so that you can make the most out of your desert hike. Remember: the desert can get just as cold as it does hot, so bring layers just in case.

  • Plenty of water – I like to use a water container for the car. Budget at least 4 liters per person per day, more if you’re out in the summer months.
  • Sunscreen, sunhat with a wide brim, sunglasses
  • Sunshirt
  • First Aid Kit with tweezer (for cacti)
  • Noncotton socks
  • Breathable footwear that you feel comfortable wearing all day
  • Non-cotton shorts for hiking
  • Non-cotton, lightweight pants for hiking. Pants protect you against aggravating foliage.
  • Non-cotton, breathable t-shirt for hiking (the sun can really beat you up if you wear tank tops, so be aware)
  • Electrolyte powder
  • A water bladder capable of carrying at least 2 liters of water.
  • Salty snacks
  • Camera
  • Camera clip to strap to your back
  • Beanie – the desert can get cold at night so warm clothes are great to have
  • Glove liners
  • Fleece layer (fall through spring)
  • Puffy layer (fall through spring)
  • Hiking poles (optional)
  • A hiking pack. I love the REI Flash series for something mutli-use and economical
  • A toilet kit: shovel, WAG Bag (most national parks require this), hand sanitizer, TP/baby wipes, a small plastic baggy to pack out TP and sanitary items
  • Pee funnel – optional
  • Pee rag – optional
  • A plastic baggy for trash (wrappers, fruit peels, etc). I like to use compostable dog waste bags.
  • Headlamp
  • GPS navigation 
  • emergency communication device
  • Wind/rain layer
  • Pocket knife

Additional Moab Travel Resources:

Planning a trip to Moab? You’ve come to the right place. Travel like a local not a tourist:

Your guide to the best hiking trails in Moab, Utah. Amazing bucket-list things to do in Moab. A Moab, Utah travel guide complete with things to do in Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park. #utah #hiking #travel
Your guide to the best hiking trails in Moab, Utah. Amazing bucket-list things to do in Moab. A Moab, Utah travel guide complete with things to do in Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park. #utah #hiking #travel
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Meg Atteberry

Meg is a long-time Colorado local and outdoor industry professional. She's spent the last 15 years hiking, climbing, mountaineering, and canyoneering all over Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and Nevada in search of the best views. She's written for Outside Magazine, REI, Backpacker Magazine, and appeared on the Weather Channel.

Hi There!

Meg Atteberry standing on a mountain sticking her tongue out

Meg aka Fox is a 30-something who's born to explore. Toddler mom, queer, and neuro-spicy her favorite things to do are climb in the alpine and camp in the desert. Her mission is to get you out on your greatest adventure.