Filled with gorgeous red rock formations, awe-inspiring scenery, and adrenaline-pumping activities, Moab is a true desert paradise. But when is the best time to visit Moab?
Well, first, you can visit Moab year-round. There’s certainly ample opportunity for beauty and adventure no matter what time of year it is.
However, if you want to make the most of your time in Moab, then you’ll want to know the best time to visit Moab, Utah. This highly depends on what you’d like to get out of your trip.
A good rule of thumb is to visit Moab in either the spring or the fall. The weather is wonderful and warm, camping is excellent, and most activities are open.
However, it gets crowded. Like MEGA crowded.
Funny enough, that’s not even the most crowded time to visit Moab – you’ll find the biggest crowds (and unbearable heat) to be during the summer.
So if beating the crowds is your thing, guess what, you’re in luck. I specialize in beating the crowds in all of the most beautiful places throughout the world.
Moab is no exception.
I come here at least 6 times a year for the past 5 years. It’s like I’m an honorary local of sorts. Having scoured the desert for the most beautiful places, I can make your dreams of desert solitude come true.
About this Guide to the Best Time to Visit Lake Tahoe
In this quick guide, we’ll dive right into when to visit Moab, including tips for when you can make the most out of each of its national parks. We’ll cover:
- The best time to visit Arches National Park
- The best time to visit Canyonlands National Park
- The best time to go camping in Moab
- When you should visit to beat the crowds
- When NOT to visit Moab
- Additional planning resources for visiting Moab
When is the Best Time to Visit Arches National Park?
The best time to visit Arches National Park is either in spring from April through May or fall from September through October.
For one, the park won’t be as bloated with visitors as it is in the summer, and you’ll also get to avoid extreme temperatures (which sometimes exceed 100 degrees up until August!).
Pro Tip: Arches National Park sees tourists year-round. It’s RARE to find this place not crowded. Start early (like before the sun early) and hit the busiest trails first. We were four of only 8 people when we visited Delicate Arch for sunrise on Christmas Day. It was MAGIC.
Another lovely time to visit Arches National Park is during the winter if you don’t mind the cold. What’s so great about visiting at this time of the year is that you’ll get the park practically all to yourself.
However, some trails might be inaccessible during the winter and the ice can cause some of them to be slippery. If you come prepared with the correct gear for winter hiking (don’t worry, no snowshoes required), you’ll have a blast!
Best Time To Visit Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands is one of the best national parks to visit in the fall. Not only is the weather perfect for hiking and other outdoor activities, but you’ll also get to enjoy them without the crowds that summer brings in.
If you want almost non-existent crowds, you can visit Canyonlands in winter instead. The visitor center is closed during the winter months, but the temperatures are generally warm enough for hiking in Canyonlands or visiting Mesa Arch for sunrise in the Island in the Sky District.
I advise packing warm clothes as temperatures during the night can get below freezing levels.
For backpacking in Canyonlands, aim to head out for spring or fall. Check the weather and if you can, leave the rainfly at home. You’ll get to stargaze at night in the middle of the wilderness. Thank me later.
Best Time To Visit Moab For Camping
Fall is the best time to visit Moab on a camping adventure. The temperatures drop to a lovely 70 degrees which is the perfect temperature for camping in Moab and the fall foliage up on the La Sal Mountains make for a grandiose view.
Another reason why fall is better for camping than the spring months is the weather. Spring often sees surprise rain showers (making many desert activities impossible). And it’s also windier.
Fall is dryer and less windy, so you can enjoy a camping getaway without much fuss.
Best Time To Beat The Crowds
If you don’t mind the cold and want to get some of the best hikes in Moab practically all to yourself, then the best time to visit Moab is during the winter months.
Temperatures can drop below freezing at night, but if you come prepared, you’ll get to experience a different side of Moab (think views of red rocks draped in the snow!).
It’s truly a magical time to visit Moab. I particularly love December. I’ve spent plenty of Christmas holidays here and it’s just a lovely scene.
The only real downside (aside from the cold) is that the town of Moab is shut for the season. However, you can still shop, get groceries, and find restaurants around town.
Pro Tip: Although you can camp in winter, the temps are regularly quite cold (like below 20 degrees at night). Either bundle up or snag a sweet Airbnb at a discounted rate.
When Not To Go To Moab
If possible, avoid visiting Moab during the summer months. Not only will you need to come with a lot of patience to make your way through the crowds, but you’ll also be dealing with scorching temperatures that can reach over 100°F.
Hiking in Moab during the summer is only advised during the early hours of the morning and the late afternoon, which can be quite limiting to your itinerary considering how many things to do in Moab there are.
Additional Moab Planning Resources
Planning a trip to Moab? You’ve come to the right place. Check out this list of expert-level resources so you can visit Moab like a pro, not a tourist.
- Moab’s Most Amazingly Scenic Drives That Don’t Require a Lifted Vehicle
- 11 Stunning and Easy Hikes in Arches National Park
- Arches vs Canyonlands National Park: What’s Right for Me?