There's world-class biking all around Arches National Park, but the park proper is not the best place to explore on two wheels. Bicycles are allowed only on established roads, and because there are no shoulders cyclists share the roadway with drivers and pedestrians gawking at the scenery. If you do want to take a spin in the park, try the dirt-and-gravel Willow Flats Road, the old entrance to the park. The road is about 6½ miles long one-way and starts directly across from the Balanced Rock parking lot. It's a pretty mountain-bike ride on dirt and sand through slickrock, pinyon, and juniper country. You must stay on the road with your bicycle or you chance steep fines.

Tours and Outfitters

Chile Pepper Bikes. For mountain bike rentals, sales, service, and gear, plus espresso, stop here before you hit the trails. 702 S. Main St., Moab, Utah, 84532. 435/259–4688; 888/677–4688;

Poison Spider Bicycles. In a town of great bike shops, this fully loaded shop is considered one of the best. Poison Spider serves the thriving road-cycling community as well as mountain bikers. Rent, buy, or service your bike here. You can also arrange for shuttle and guide services and purchase merchandise. Want to ship your bike to Moab for your adventure? Poison Spider will store it until you arrive and the staff will reassemble it for you and make sure everything is in perfect working order. 497 N. Main St., Moab, Utah, 84532. 435/259–7882; 800/635–1792;

Rim Cyclery. The oldest bike shop in town, Rim Cyclery has offered mountain-bike rentals and sales, trail advice, equipment, and gear since 1983. Their skilled mechanics can help with most any type of bike repair. Cross-country ski rentals are also available in winter. 94 W. 100 N, Moab, Utah, 84532. 435/259–5333; 888/304–8219;

Rim Tours. Reliable, friendly, and professional, Rim Tours has been taking guests on guided one-day or multiday mountain-bike tours, including Klondike Bluffs (which enters Arches) and the White Rim Trail (inside Canyonlands) since 1985. Road-bike tours as well as bike rentals are also available. Bike skills a little rusty? Rim Tours also offers mountain-bike instructional tours and skill clinics. 1233 S. U.S. 191, Moab, Utah, 84532. 435/259–5223; 800/626–7335; Day tours from $140; multiday from $800.

Western Spirit Cycling Adventures. Head here for fully supported, go-at-your-own-pace, multiday mountain-bike and road-bike tours throughout the western states, including trips to Canyonlands, Trail of the Ancients, and the 140-mile Kokopelli Trail, which runs from Grand Junction, Colorado, to Moab. Guides versed in the geologic wonders of the area cook up meals worthy of the scenery each night. Ask about family rides, and road bike trips, too. There's also the option to combine a Green River kayak trip with the three-night White Rim Trail ride. 478 Mill Creek Dr., Moab, Utah, 84532. 435/259–8732; 800/845–2453; From $925.

Boating and River Expeditions

Although the Colorado River runs along the border of the park, there is no boating within the park proper. You can, however, enjoy a splashy ride nearby on the Fisher Towers stretch of the river north of Moab, and there are plenty of fine outfitters in Moab that can set you up for expeditions.

Tours and Outfitters

Canyon Voyages Adventure Co.. This is an excellent choice for rafting or kayaking adventures on the Colorado or Green rivers. Don and Denise Oblak run a friendly, professional company with a retail store and rental shop that's open year-round. Most of their customers take one-day trips, but they also offer multiday itineraries, guided tours, and rentals. It's also the only company that operates a kayak school for those who want to learn how to run the rapids on their own. Ask about stand-up paddleboarding, biking, and horseback riding, too. 211 N. Main St., Moab, Utah, 84532. 435/259–6007; 800/733–6007; From $59.

Holiday River Expeditions. Since 1966, this outfitter has offered one- to eight-day adventures on the San Juan, Green, and Colorado rivers, including inside Canyonlands National Park. They also offer multisport trips, women's retreats, and bike adventures, including the White Rim Trail. 2075 E. Main St., Green River, Utah, 84525. 435/564–3273; 800/624–6323; From $155.

Tex's Riverways. The knowledgeable folks here shuttle hikers and boaters up, down, to, and from the Green and Colorado rivers. You can also rent canoes, kayaks, and gear, from coolers to portable toilets (which are required on Utah rivers) for your backpacking or river adventure. Friendly expert advice based on more than 50 years of experience is included, but Tex's doesn't do guided tours. 691 N. 500 W, Moab, Utah, 84532. 435/259–5101; 877/662–2839;


With thousands of acres of nearby Bureau of Land Management lands to enjoy, it's hardly necessary to use the park's limited trails for four-wheel adventures. You can, however, go backcountry in Arches on the Willow Flats Road and the Salt Valley Road—just don't set out for this expedition without first stopping at the visitor center to learn of current conditions. Salt Valley Road is very sandy and requires special driving skills.

Tours and Outfitters

Coyote Land Tours. Imposing Mercedes Benz Unimog trucks (which dwarf Hummers) take you to parts of the backcountry where you could never wander on your own. Technical tours challenge drivers with imposing rock formations, washes, and assorted obstacles, and there are tamer sunset excursions and camp-style ride-and-dine trips. They stand by their money-back "great time" guarantee. Moab, Utah, 84532. 435/260–6056; From $59.

High Point Hummer & ATV. You can rent vehicles, including ATVs, UTVs, Jeeps, and motorcycles, or get a guided tour of the backcountry in open-air Hummer vehicles, ATVs, dirt bikes, or dune buggy–like "side-by-sides" that seat up to six people. The enthusiastic owners love families and small, intimate groups, and offer hiking and canyoneering as well. 281 N. Main St., Moab, Utah, 84532. 435/259–2972; 877/486–6833; Guided tours from $69.


Getting out on any one of the park trails will surely cause you to fall in love with this Mars-like landscape. But remember, you are hiking in a desert environment and approximately 1 mile above sea level. Many people succumb to heat and dehydration because they do not drink enough water. Park rangers recommend a gallon of water per day per person.


Balanced Rock Trail. You'll want to stop at Balanced Rock for photo opportunities, so you may as well walk the easy, partially paved trail around the famous landmark. This is one of the most accessible trails in the park and is suitable for small children and folks who may have difficulty walking. The trail is only about 530 yards round-trip; you should allow 15 minutes for the walk. Easy. Arches National Park, Utah, 84532.

Broken Arch Trail. An easy walk across open grassland, this loop trail passes Broken Arch, which is also visible from the road. The arch gets its name because it appears to be cracked in the middle, but it's not really broken. The trail is 1¼ miles round-trip, and you should allow about an hour for the walk. Easy. Arches National Park, Utah, 84532.

Double Arch Trail. If it's not too hot, anyone can walk here from Windows Trail. This relatively flat trail leads you to two massive arches that make for great photo opportunities. The ¾-mile round-trip gives you a good taste of desert flora and fauna. Easy. Arches National Park, Utah, 84532.

Landscape Arch. This natural rock opening competes with Kolob Arch at Zion for the title of largest geologic span in the world. Measuring 306 feet from base to base, it appears as a delicate ribbon of rock bending over the horizon. In 1991, a slab of rock about 60 feet long, 11 feet wide, and 4 feet thick fell from the underside, leaving it even thinner. You can reach it by walking a rolling, gravel, 1.6-mile-long trail. Easy. Arches National Park, Utah, 84532.

Park Avenue Trail. The first named trail that park visitors encounter, this is an easy, 2-mile round-trip walk (with only one small hill but a somewhat steep descent into the canyon) amid walls and towers that resemble a New York City skyline. You'll walk under the gaze of Queen Nefertiti, a giant rock formation that some observers think has Egyptian-looking features. If you are traveling with companions, make it a one-way, 1-mile downhill trek by having them pick you up at the Courthouse Towers Viewpoint. Allow about 45 minutes for the one-way journey. Easy. Arches National Park, Utah, 84532.

Sand Dune Arch Trail. Your kids will return to the car with shoes full of bright red sand from this giant sandbox in the desert and will love exploring in and around the rock. Do not climb or jump off the arch, as doing so has frequently resulted in injuries. Set aside five minutes for this shady, 530-yard walk and as much time as your children's imaginations allow for play. The trail intersects with the Broken Arch Trail, so if you visit both arches it's a 1½-mile round-trip. Easy. Arches National Park, Utah, 84532.

Windows Trail. The first stop for many visitors to the park, Windows Trail gives you an opportunity to get out and enjoy the desert air. Here you'll see three giant openings in the rock and walk on a trail that leads you right through the holes. Allow about an hour on this gently inclined, 1-mile round-trip hike. As 90% of visitors won't follow the "primitive" trail around the backside of the two windows, take advantage if you want some desert solitude. The primitive trail adds an extra half hour to the trip. Easy. Arches National Park, Utah, 84532.


Delicate Arch Trail. To see the park's most famous freestanding arch up close takes effort and won't offer you much solitude—but it's worth every step. The 3-mile round-trip trail ascends via steep slickrock, sandy paths, and along one narrow ledge (at the very end) that might give pause to anyone afraid of heights. Plus, there's almost no shade. First-timers should start early to avoid the midday heat in summer. Still, at sunrise, sunset, and every hour in between, it's the park's most popular and busy trail. Heat mixed with lack of shade makes this a strenuous hike in the summer. Bring plenty of water, as heatstroke is a very real possibility. Allow two to three hours for this hike, depending on your fitness level and how long you plan to linger at the arch. If you go at sunset or sunrise, bring a headlamp or flashlight. Don't miss Wolfe Ranch and some ancient rock art near the trailhead. Moderate. Arches National Park, Utah, 84532.

Devils Garden Trail. Landscape Arch is the highlight of this trail but is just one of several arches within reach depending on your ambitions and the heat. It's an easy ¾-mile one-way trip (mostly gravel, relatively flat) to Landscape Arch, one of the longest stone spans in the world at 306 feet and one of the most fragile-looking. In fact, you can see where a 60-foot-long piece fell off the underside in 1991, leading to the closure of the trail that used to go under the span. This serves as a reminder of the impermanence of the features in the park. Beyond Landscape Arch the scenery changes dramatically and the hike becomes more strenuous, as you must climb and straddle slickrock fins and negotiate some short, steep inclines. Finally, the stacked spans that compose Double O Arch come into view around a sharp bend. Allow up to three hours for this round-trip hike of just over 4 miles. For a still longer hike, venture on to see a formation called Dark Angel and then return to the trailhead on the primitive loop. The hike to Dark Angel is a difficult route through fins with a short side trip to Private Arch. If you hike all the way to Dark Angel and return on the primitive loop, the trail is about 6 miles round-trip, not including possible (and worthwhile) detours to Navajo Arch, Partition Arch, Tunnel Arch, and Pine Tree Arch. Allow about five hours for this adventure, take plenty of water, and watch your route carefully. Pick up the park's useful guide to Devils Garden, or download it from the website before you go. Moderate. Arches National Park, Utah, 84532.

Tower Arch Trail. Check with park rangers before attempting the dirt road to Klondike Bluffs parking area. If rains haven't washed out the road, a trip to this seldom-visited area provides a solitude-filled hike climaxed with a giant rock opening. Allow from two to three hours for this 3½-mile round-trip hike, not including the drive. Moderate. Arches National Park, Utah, 84532.


Fiery Furnace. This area of the park has taken on a near-mythical lure for park visitors, who are drawn to the forbidden nature of Fiery Furnace. Rangers strongly discourage inexperienced hikers from entering here—in fact, you can't enter without watching a safety video and getting a permit ($6). As a result, up to one month's advance reservations are now required to get a spot on the 2-mile round-trip ranger-led hikes ($16) through this unique formation. A hike here is a challenging but fascinating trip amid rugged rocks and sandy washes into the heart of Arches. The trek may require the use of hands and feet to scramble up and through narrow cracks and along vertigo-inducing ledges above drop-offs, and there are no trail markings. If you're not familiar with the Furnace you can easily get lost and cause resource damage, so watch your step and use great caution. Call or visit the website ( for reservations, which are a must. The less intrepid should look into Fiery Furnace from the Overlook off the main road. Difficult. Arches National Park, Utah, 84532.

Multisport Outfitters

Adrift Adventures. This outfitter takes pride in well-trained guides who can take you via foot, raft, kayak, 4X4, jet boat, and more, all over the Moab area, including the Colorado and Green rivers. They also offer history, movie, and rock-art tours. They've been in business since 1977 and have a great reputation around town. 378 N. Main St., Moab, Utah, 84532. 435/259–8594; 800/874–4483; From $50.

Dual Sport Utah. If you're into dirt biking, this is the only outfitter in Moab specializing in street-legal, off-road dirt-bike tours and rentals. Follow the Klondike Bluffs trail to Arches, or negotiate the White Rim Trail in Canyonlands in a fraction of the time you would spend on a mountain bike. 197 W. Center. St., Moab, Utah, 84532. 435/260–2724; From $225.

Moab Adventure Center. At the prominent storefront on Main Street you can schedule most any type of local adventure experience you want, including rafting, 4X4 tours, scenic flights, hikes, balloon rides, and much, much more. You can also purchase clothing and outdoor gear for your visit. 225 S. Main St., Moab, Utah, 84532. 435/259–7019; 866/904–1163; From $67.

NAVTEC. Doc Williams was the first doctor in Moab in 1896, and some of his descendants have never left, sharing his love for the area through this rafting, canyoneering, and 4X4 company. Whether you want to explore by boat, boots, or wheels, you'll find a multitude of one-day and multiday options here. 321 N. Main St., Moab, Utah, 84532. 435/259–7983; 800/833–1278;


Coyote Shuttle. 55 W. 300 S, Moab, Utah, 84532. 435/260–2097; 435/259–8656;

Roadrunner Shuttle. Deal Sport Utah, 197 W. Center St., Moab, Utah, 84532. 435/259–9402;

Rock Climbing and Canyoneering

Rock climbers travel from across the country to scale the sheer red rock walls of Arches National Park and surrounding areas. Most climbing routes in the park require advanced techniques. Permits are not required, but climbers are encouraged to register for a free permit, either online or at a kiosk outside the visitor center. Climbers are responsible for knowing park regulations, temporary route closures, and restricted routes. Two popular routes ascend Owl Rock in the Garden of Eden (about 10 miles from the visitor center); the well-worn route has a difficulty of 5.8, while a more challenging option is 5.11 on a scale that goes up to 5.13-plus. Many climbing routes are available in the Park Avenue area, about 2.2 miles from the visitor center. These routes are also extremely difficult climbs. No commercial outfitters are allowed to lead rock-climbing excursions in the park, but guided canyoneering (which involves ropes, rappelling, and some basic climbing) is permitted. Before climbing, it's imperative that you stop at the visitor center and check with a ranger about climbing regulations.

Tours and Outfitters

Desert Highlights. This guide company takes adventurous types on descents and ascents through canyons (with the help of ropes), including those found in the Fiery Furnace at Arches National Park. Full-day and multiday canyoneering treks are available to destinations both inside and outside the national parks. Desert Highlights does not offer guided rock climbing. 50 E. Center St., Moab, Utah, 84532. 435/259–4433; 800/747–1342; From $120.

Moab Cliffs & Canyons. In a town where everyone seems to offer rafting and 4X4 expeditions, Moab Cliffs & Canyons focuses exclusively on canyoneering, climbing, and rappelling—for novice and veteran adventurers. This is the outfitter that provided technical assistance to the crew on the movie 127 Hours. 253 N. Main St., Moab, Utah, 84532. 435/259–3317; 877/641–5271; From $84.


Moab Golf Club. A spectacular red rock sandstone backdrop, wide fairways, and lush well-kept greens make for a breathtaking combination. Moab's 4,000-foot elevation and dry air make this municipal course fun to hit. It is open year-round and a relative bargain. 2705 S. East Bench Rd., Moab, Utah, 84532. 435/259–6488; $48, including cart.


Fisher Towers. On the Colorado River northeast of Arches and very near Moab, you can take one of America's most scenic—yet unintimidating—river-raft rides. This is the perfect place to take the family or to learn to kayak with the help of an outfitter. The river rolls by the red Fisher Towers as they rise into the sky in front of the La Sal Mountains. A day trip on this stretch of the river will take you about 14 miles. Outfitters offer full- or half-day adventures here. Those who don't like water can enjoy some nice hikes in this area as well. 17 miles upriver from Hwy. 128 near Moab, Arches National Park, Utah.

Gray–Desolation Canyon. Desolation is not really a fair name for this beautiful, lush canyon along the Green River. It's a favorite destination of canoe paddlers, kayakers, and novice rafters. There are lots of rapids on this stretch of the Green River; they are on the small side but deliver lots of laughs. Families with children of almost any age can share this adventure and even paddle on their own under the watchful eyes of a guide. The trip requires four or five days to complete. It's one of the favorite destinations for all of the outfitters in the region, but it's possible to do it on your own with a permit from Bureau of Land Management, available up to five months in advance. Price, Utah, 84501. 435/636–0975.

Westwater Canyon. In this narrow, winding canyon near the Utah–Colorado border, about 50 miles northeast of Moab, the Colorado River cuts through the oldest exposed geologic layer on Earth. The result is craggy black granite jutting out of the water with red sandstone walls towering above. This section of the river is rocky and considered highly technical for rafters and kayakers, but it dishes out a great white-water experience in a short period of time. Just 18 outfitters have permits to offer this trip; private permits are also available but recommended only for experienced boaters. Reserve well in advance as this is one of the most popular river routes in Utah. Moab, Utah, 84532.

Tours and Outfitters

Sheri Griffith Expeditions. In addition to trips through the white water of Cataract, Westwater, and Desolation canyons, on the Colorado and Green rivers, this company also offers specialty expeditions for women, writers, and families. One of their more luxurious expeditions features dinners cooked by a professional chef and served at linen-covered tables. Cots and other sleeping amenities also make roughing it a little more comfortable. 2231 S. U.S. 191, Moab, Utah, 84532. 435/259–8229; 800/332–2439; From $82.

Tag-A-Long Expeditions. This outfitter, 50 years in business in 2014, has been taking people into the white water of Cataract Canyon and Canyonlands for longer than any other outfitter in Moab. They also run 4X4 expeditions into the backcountry and calm-water excursions on the Colorado and Green rivers. Trips, for 3 to 11 people, run from a half day to six days. 452 N. Main St., Moab, Utah, 84532. 435/259–8946; 800/453–3292; From $170.