When you first drive onto Main Street, Moab’s commercial, downtown strip, you might not get the town’s appeal right away. The wide thoroughfare is lined with T-shirt shops and touristy restaurants, and is low on charm. But don’t let Moab’s impersonal exterior fool you. All you have to do is take a few walks, enter some storefronts, and talk to some of the residents to realize that this is a town centered on community. Here local theater, local radio, and local art rule, and Moabites are proud of that. At its core, this is a frontier outpost, where people have been forced to create their own livelihoods for more than 100 years. When the area was settled in the late 1880s, it was a farming and ranching community. In the 1950s it became a center for uranium mining after Charlie Steen found a huge deposit of the stuff outside of town. After about a decade of unbelievable monetary success, there was a massive downturn in the mining industry, and Moab plunged into an economic free fall. Then, in the next few decades came the advent of the local tourism industry, and Moab was able to rebuild itself with the dollars of sightseers, four-wheelers, bikers, and boaters. Today the town is going through growing pains as it tries to deal with environmental and development issues while becoming more and more popular with tourists and second-home owners from around the world. No matter how it changes, however, one thing simply doesn’t. This town has a different flavor from any other in the state.
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Things You Can't Miss
Drive the scenic road around Island in the Sky, a vast mesa south of Moab. Marvel at the vista from Grand View Point and walk to awesome Mesa Arch.
Only experts should tackle the legendary, roughly 10-mile Slickrock Trail, but even beginners can rent a bike and ride easier loops such as Bar-M and Agate.
The fine Museum of Moab features exhibits on geology, archeology, paleontology and local history. Massive dinosaur bones will enchant the children.
The Upper Colorado River Scenic Byway winds along the river beside soaring cliffs. An easy side trail leads to impressive Morning Glory Natural Bridge.
Shared Trips to this Destination
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