Swanky hotels in Moab are elevating the town’s backcountry vibe, but that’s not all that’s new in Utah’s top adventure hub.
Surrounded by the Southwest’s most impressive red rock scenery, Moab has long been a crossroads for gritty climbers, bikers, paddlers and hikers who rank a simple shower among life’s luxuries. So it’s fitting that basic chain hotels and diners have dominated Moab’s downtown. But a smattering of new, high-end hotels have created polished oases within this sandstone outpost. As for the adventures just beyond city limits? They remain as essential as ever, but with new regulations.
A seasonal nonalcoholic cocktail and chilled hand towel welcome wanderers checking in at the Radcliffe Moab, a 38-room boutique hotel that opened in 2022. All rooms include a gear storage wall, meaning you can sleep within sight of your wickedly expensive mountain bike. Baths are fitted with sunflower showerheads and plush Cariloha bamboo towels. Suites feature wraparound outdoor balconies. The outdoor pool is flanked by two hot tubs and garden-covered walls. Even the on-site restaurant aims high. The Mediterranean-inspired menu at 50-seat Il Posto Rosso serves humanely raised beef from the Radcliffe’s Idaho ranch and produce from farms surrounding Moab.
[From $469 a night; radcliffemoab.com]
Opened in late 2019, the Hoodoo Moab, Curio Collection by Hilton offers amenities favored by travelers accustomed to corporate expense accounts. The 117-room hotel includes a fitness center, 4,477 square feet of meeting space, an outdoor pool and hot tub, and a spa with six treatment rooms. Josie Wyatt’s Grille serves the best cocktails in Moab on a patio with views of red-cliffed buttes.
[From $138 a night; hilton.com]
Utahraptor State Park
OK, we’re still in Moab. It’s not like the entire place has become Park Avenue North. But the former boondocks zones around Dalton Wells and Willow Springs roads 20 minutes north of downtown had become so overrun with RVs that in 2021 Utah converted them into the new Utahraptor State Park, where designated, first-come-first-serve campsites cost $15.
[From $15; stateparks.utah.gov]
Arches National Park
One of Moab’s top attractions instituted a pilot timed-entry system in 2022 that regulated traffic entering the park from April until Oct. 3. If the system returns in 2023, visitors to the park must reserve tickets at recreation.gov. Or dodge the requirement by booking a ranger-led hike at Fiery Furnace. Hikers here don’t have to abide by the timed-entry restrictions, but they do get to wriggle through a twisted labyrinth of sandstone fins that ranks as one of Arches’ most gratifying experiences.