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Epic 3-Day Moab Itinerary for Outdoor Lovers

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If you have only three days in Moab, Utah, you need a well-organized itinerary to help you make the most of your time! This 3-day Moab itinerary is based on my and Tim’s cumulative explorations and travels in Moab. We’ve designed it to give you a taste of the best Moab has to offer in just 3 days, making this the ideal long weekend Moab itinerary.

Moab is an adventurer’s paradise, offering breathtaking landscapes, thrilling outdoor activities, and a unique blend of natural wonders. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast or just looking to unwind in nature’s splendor, this 3-day itinerary will help you make the most of your visit to Moab. From the iconic arches to dramatic canyon vistas, get ready for an unforgettable journey.

Dead Horse Point State Park Sunset

Follow the seven Leave No Trace principles: plan your hike in advance, stick to designated trails, carry out all your belongings, dispose of waste properly, leave natural areas untouched, minimize the impact of campfires, show consideration for fellow hikers, and avoid approaching or feeding wildlife.

Moab 3-Day Itinerary At-A-Glance

Day 1: Arches National Park

  • Morning: Sunrise in the Windows Section
  • Mid-Morning: Devil’s Garden
  • Late Morning: Sand Dune Arch & Broken Arch
  • Lunch: Picnic in the Park
  • Afternoon: Hike to Tower Arch
  • Evening: Sunset at the Iconic Delicate Arch

Day 2: Dead Horse Point State Park & Canyonlands National Park

  • Morning: Sunrise at Dead Horse Point State Park
  • Mid-Morning: Grand View Point Overlook
  • Lunch: Picnic at Green River Overlook
  • Afternoon: Hike Whale Rock Trail
  • Mid-Afternoon: Upheaval Dome Trail
  • Evening: Sunset at Mesa Arch

Day 3: Horseback Riding, 4×4 Tour, and Corona Arch

  • Morning: Horseback Riding Adventure
  • Lunch: Downtown Moab
  • Afternoon: 4×4 Off-Road Tour
  • Evening: Hike to Corona Arch

Day 1: Arches National Park

Start your day in Arches National Park, just a short 15 minute drive from downtown Moab.

Arches National Park charges a fee of $30 to enter, or you can enter for free with the National Parks Pass.

It’s also important to know that a timed entry reservation is required to visiting April 1 through October 31 between 7am and 4pm.

Save Money at National Parks

Get a National Parks Pass

Entry to all US national parks at no additional cost for 12 months

America The Beautiful National Parks Pass at REI

Morning: Sunrise in the Windows Section

We recommend starting your day in Arches National Park with a sunrise walk at The Windows section, where you can see the North and South Windows, Turret Arch, and Double Arch. It’s essentially four sunrise spots in one. Plus, there is very minimal hiking required, meaning you can spend a little bit of time at each arch during the sunrise and golden hour period when the light is delectable.

Mid-Morning: Devil’s Garden

The Devil’s Garden trail is like a playground of arches. There are several spur trails to various arches along the main route, so it’s a fun place to wander around and explore. Landscape Arch is a great destination, though with more time you could hike even further to Double O or Dark Angel Arches. With just one day in Arches National Park, however, we recommend making Landscape Arch your turnaround point on the Devil’s Garden Trail.

  • Hike Distance: 1.9 miles
  • Time: Approximately 1.5 hours
Sarah in Devils Garden at Arches National Park

Late Morning: Sand Dune Arch & Broken Arch

Drive to the Sand Dune Arch parking lot. As you head out on the Sand Dune and Broken Arch trail, you’ll first walk to your right to reach Sand Dune Arch, tucked between two rock walls.

After exploring Sand Dune Arch, turn back the way you came and follow the trail about a half mile to Broken Arch. This arch gets its name from the crevice at the top of the arch.

  • Hike Distance: 1.5 miles
  • Time: Approximately 1 hour

Lunch: Picnic in the Park

Pack a picnic lunch and enjoy it at one of the designated areas within the park. The panoramic views and serene surroundings make it a perfect spot to refuel before continuing your adventure.

Afternoon: Hike to Tower Arch

Eat a picnic lunch on the go (pack this with you!) and drive the dirt road to Tower Arch. Although the Tower Arch trail head is accessible by most any vehicle, the dirt road deters many visitors, and so you’ll find fewer crowds on the hike to Tower Arch than the rest of the park.

The hike starts with a steep scramble up a rocky ridge. From there, follow the cairns the rest of the way to Tower Arch. This is our favorite hike in Arches National Park thanks to its diverse desert views and fun, variable hiking terrain.

  • Hike Distance: 3 miles
  • Time: Approximately 2 hours

>>> Click here to read more about the Tower Arch Hike

Tower Arch From Below

Evening: Sunset at the Iconic Delicate Arch

Hiking to Delicate Arch for sunset is an absolute must-do in Arches National Park. You’ll need to arrive at the trailhead at least 1 hour before sunset in order to have enough time to hike the ~1.6 miles to Delicate Arch.

Bring a headlamp or a flashlight, since you’ll be trekking back in the dark after the sun goes down.

  • Hike Distance: 3.2 miles
  • Time: Approximately 2 hours

>>> Click here to read more about hiking to Delicate Arch at sunset

Sarah looks at Delicate Arch across the bowl at sunset
Delicate Arch at sunset

Day 2: Dead Horse Point State Park & Canyonlands National Park

Today you’ll be visiting two more incredible parks in the Moab area: Dead Horse Point State Park and Canyonlands National Park.

Morning: Sunrise at Dead Horse Point State Park

Arrive at Dead Horse Point in time for sunrise. The changing colors of the cliffs and canyons as the sun rises abve the horizon are simply magical. It’s the perfect start to a day filled with some of the most incredible landscapes in Utah.

The viewpoint at Dead Horse Point provides one of the most dramatic vistas in the region, with the Colorado River making a 2,000-foot drop below. Spend some time hiking along the rim trails, soaking in the views and taking photos.

Note that Dead Horse Point State Park charges an entrance fee of $20.

>>> Click here to read more about visiting Dead Horse Point State Park

Mid-Morning: Grand View Point Overlook

From Dead Horse Point State Park, head to Canyonlands National Park – Island in the Sky District. The drive will take you about 20 minutes.

Canyonlands National Park charges $30 per private vehicle to enter, but if you have a National Parks Pass, you can enter for free!

Save Money at National Parks

Get a National Parks Pass

Entry to all US national parks at no additional cost for 12 months

America The Beautiful National Parks Pass at REI

Start your Canyonlands explorations at Grand View Point at the end of Grand View Point Road for a short 1.8-mile round-trip hike to the Grand View Point Overlook.

Imagine standing at the edge of a vast canyon, with panoramic views stretching as far as the eye can see. That’s exactly what you’ll experience at Grand View Point Overlook. It’s like nature’s own IMAX theater, offering jaw-dropping vistas of the rugged canyons and mesas below.

This is one of the best views in Canyonlands National Park!

Lunch: Picnic at Green River Overlook

Stop for a picnic lunch at the Green River Overlook. This spot offers a peaceful setting with expansive views of the Green River winding its way through the canyons.

This viewpoint offers mesmerizing vistas of the Green River as it winds its way through the rugged landscape, carving out deep canyons and valleys along the way. Along with the Colorado River (which also carved out the Grand Canyon), the Green River is responsible for creating the canyons in Canyonlands National Park.

From this vantage point, you can also see Soda Springs Basin and the Maze district.

Afternoon: Hike Whale Rock Trail

Hike the short and fun 1.3 miles round trip Whale Rock Trail for unique views of the park and a fun climb atop the rock.

This unique hike takes you up the side of a massive sandstone dome, offering panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. As you ascend, you’ll be treated to expansive vistas of the Island in the Sky district, with its towering cliffs and rugged terrain.

Whale Rock in Winter in Canyonlands National Park

Mid-Afternoon: Upheaval Dome Trail

This 1.3-mile round-trip trail ascends to Upheaval Dome, a distinctive geological feature known for its circular depression, which has intrigued scientists for generations. The trail leads to two primary viewpoints: the initial Upheaval Dome overlook offers a sweeping vista of the entire formation, while the second provides a closer examination of its inner layers.

There are two theories about its origin: one suggests it was a meteor impact, while the other suggests it’s a salt dome formed by subterranean salt movements.

Upheaval Dome by It Must Be F/8 sourced via Canva

Evening: Sunset at Mesa Arch

Now for the crowned jewel of Canyonlands National Park and the most iconic view in the park: Mesa Arch! This is the perfect spot to cap off your day in the canyon country.

Drive down Grand View Point Road until you get to the parking area for Mesa Arch, a 27-foot long natural arch.

This is a very popular destination for sunset photography in Canyonlands National Park, and it’s only a short walk (0.6 miles) round trip, meaning you will be sharing the view with other people. Be sure to respect other visitors and take turns at the arch or avoid posing in front of the arch when others are trying to photograph!

Sarah and Tim sit under Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park
Mesa Arch

Day 3: Horseback Riding, 4×4 Tour, and Corona Arch

For your last day in Moab, we recommend exploring the natural attractions outside of the national and state parks. So for today, we suggest some unique and off-the-beaten path activities that most visitors don’t even consider doing!

Morning: Horseback Riding Adventure

Start your final day with a horseback riding tour. Several local outfitters offer guided rides through the scenic backcountry surrounding Moab. This is a fantastic way to experience the rugged beauty of the area from a unique perspective. As you ride through the red rock canyons and desert landscapes, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time.

We went on a horseback tour during our stay at Sorrel River Ranch and can attest to how fun it is! It feels like you’ve stepped into a Western film.

The team at Sorrel River Ranch also let us know that they put the safety and care of the horses first, with limits on how much the ride and the temperature conditions (since it obviously gets very hot here).

Horseback riding under red mesas in Moab, Utah

Lunch: Downtown Moab

Get lunch in downtown Moab and stroll the cute streets to visit unique shops and boutiques.

For lunch, here are a few of our recommendations:

Afternoon: 4×4 Off-Road Tour

In the afternoon, embark on a 4×4 off-road tour. Moab is renowned for its off-roading opportunities, and a guided tour will take you to some of the most thrilling and hard-to-reach spots. Explore trails like Hell’s Revenge or Fins and Things, where you’ll tackle challenging terrain and enjoy exhilarating views.

For the best experience, we recommend booking a tour. You can choose between ones where you drive or where your guide drives. Usually on UTV/ATV tours, Tim drives while I ride along as a happy passenger! Driving these things scares me to be honest, so I’m glad there are options where I can just go along for the ride!

Here are some off-road adventure tours in Moab:

Evening: Hike to Corona Arch

Wrap up your trip with a sunset hike to Corona Arch. This 3-mile round-trip hike is moderately easy and offers stunning views along the way. As you reach the arch, you’ll be treated to a magnificent sight as the setting sun casts a warm glow on the rock formations. It’s a peaceful and awe-inspiring way to end your Moab adventure.

How to Get to Moab

Grand Junction Regional Airport (GJT): Situated approximately 110 miles from Moab, this airport offers more frequent flights from major hubs like Denver, Salt Lake City, Dallas, Phoenix, and Las Vegas. From Grand Junction, you can rent a car and drive to Moab, which takes about 2 hours.

Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC): About 230 miles from Moab, SLC is a major airport with numerous flights from around the country. The drive to Moab takes about 4 hours and offers beautiful scenery along the way.

Denver International Airport (DEN): Located approximately 360 miles from Moab, DEN is another major airport with extensive flight options. The drive from Denver to Moab is longer, taking around 6-7 hours, but it’s a scenic route through the Rocky Mountains and western Colorado. If you take this route, here’s a Colorado and Utah road trip itinerary you’ll find helpful!

Once you land, you’ll want to rent a car and drive to Moab. You can use the search form below to find a rental car!

Where to Stay in Moab

Here are our top recommendations on where to stay in Moab. The ** indicate we’ve personally stayed there and can recommend based on our own experience. The others are ones we’ve researched thoroughly to share with you!

>>Read our review from our stay at Sorrel River Ranch Resort and Spa

You can also use the map below to search for your dream Moab hotel or VRBO!

What to Pack for a 3-Day Trip to Moab

When to Visit Moab

Moab is a year-round destination, but the best time to visit depends on your activities and weather preferences.

Spring (March to May)

Spring is one of the best times to visit Moab, with mild temperatures ranging from the mid-60s to low 80s Fahrenheit. This season is perfect for hiking, biking, and other outdoor activities.

Summer (June to August)

We personally do not recommend visiting Moab in the summer due to the extreme heat and larger crowds. Temperatures often exceed 100°F, making outdoor activities challenging and uncomfortable. While the long days and water-based activities on the Colorado River are appealing, the heat and congestion can detract from the experience.

Fall (September to November)

Fall is another excellent time to visit Moab, with temperatures in the 70s to 80s Fahrenheit. The changing foliage adds unique beauty to the landscape, and the comfortable weather is perfect for outdoor activities. Fall is less crowded than spring, providing a more relaxed experience.

Winter (December to February)

Winter offers a peaceful, uncrowded experience in Moab. That’s why it’s our personal favorite time of the year for visiting Moab. Snow-dusted red rocks create stunning contrasts, and daytime temperatures range from the 30s to 50s Fahrenheit. Nights can be quite cold, often dropping below freezing, and some facilities and trails may be less accessible. However, the solitude and unique winter landscapes make it a special time to visit.

Here’s why we think Winter is the Perfect Time to Visit Arches National Park + How to Plan Your Trip

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