In our pursuit of warmer temperatures and sunny skies, we said goodbye to Colorado in mid-October and headed west to Moab, Utah.
We had visited Moab only once before in 2021 for a 3-day weekend. We went to Arches, Canyonlands, and Dead Horse State Park. We remembered noticing a lot of vans and RVs parked on BLM land off Highway 191.
After spending a week working (and playing) in Moab, we compiled a list of our recommendations for fellow van lifers! We hope you can use these to help you plan your next trip here.
1. Arches National Park
This park is in Kate’s top 5 national parks. We particularly enjoyed the 3.2-mile hike to see Delicate Arch, and we loved watching the sunset at The Windows and Double Arch (each of these is just a short walk from the parking lot).
As with other national parks, Arches requires a timed entry permit (in addition to the daily entrance fee) to enter the park between 7 a.m.-4 p.m. from April 1-October 31. Since we were unable to obtain timed entry permits, we arrived at the entrance of the park before 7 a.m. or after 4 p.m. each day we visited. It also helped us avoid crowds at popular pull-offs and hikes.
2. Canyonlands National Park & Dead Horse Point State Park
Although you could explore each of these parks for multiple days, we decided to visit both in one day since they are down Highway 313.
We started the day with an early morning 0.7-mile hike to catch the sunrise at Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park. We brought our headlamps and hiked up the trail in the dark to try to get a good spot for Tom to take some photos. Although we arrived an hour before sunrise, we were shocked to find ten photographers already there with tripods set up. For this reason, we highly recommend arriving here even earlier than we did!
Dead Horse Point State Park is a beautiful state park open daily from 6 a.m.-10 pm. All Utah parks cost $20 for a day pass. Plus, they are dog-friendly! We enjoyed capturing the sunset from the west side of the Dead Horse Rim Loop. Please note that you do not necessarily need to hike the entire 5.2-mile loop to enjoy an epic sunset here; you only need to head west until you find a place to stop!
3. Dog-Friendly Hikes
Since we obviously brought our dog, Willow, with us on this trip, we wanted to make sure she could also get her exercise and not just have to stay in the van.
A dog-friendly hike we recommend in Moab is Fisher Towers Trail, a 4.2-mile out-and-back hike with an elevation gain of 1,469 feet. Although it is rated difficult, we found it to be more of a moderate hike. Be sure to bring lots of water, though!
If you’re looking for something a bit easier, Corona Arch Trail is a 2.3-mile out-and-back hike with an elevation gain of only 462 feet.
Another option closer to town is to take your dog on the trails near Lions Park. We particularly enjoyed walking through the canyon.
For all of these hikes, please remember to keep your dog on a leash and bring bags to pick up after it!
4. Remote Working Spots
During the day, we search for places to work with level parking, access to public restrooms, and grass nearby for Willow. We also prefer areas with sunlight for our solar panels, trash cans, and water bottle fill-ups. Thankfully, we found a couple of different spots in Moab that were perfect!
One option that we mentioned previously is Lions Park. Although the parking lots here were busy, we parked here from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. without a problem.
Another spot where we liked to work is the parking lot near the Moab Food Truck Park. This parking is only available for customers, but this was not a problem for us, as we enjoyed eating some of the best quesadillas we’ve ever tried from Quesadilla Mobilla and cookies and cream gelato from Miss Gelato.
Outside of the Moab Food Truck Park, we also enjoyed grabbing breakfast in town. As someone who loves breakfast burritos, Tom went to Moab Garage Co. twice for their Garage Burrito during our week in town. Kate prefers something sweet for breakfast and enjoyed trying the seasonal pumpkin-flavored doughnuts at DoughBird.
We also stopped at a local favorite called Milt’s Stop & Eat, Moab’s oldest restaurant. We ordered the veggie burgers, cheesy fries, and a peanut butter milkshake. Our favorite item was the milkshake! We are vegetarian but have heard they also have great burgers.
For beers, we recommend checking out Proper Brewing. They are closed on Mondays but open every other day of the week. They have a cute taproom with 20 beers on tap. We bought a couple of packs of beer from their “to-go” section up front. As IPA lovers, we were pleased to discover they made a couple of west coast IPAs!
6. Dispersed Camping
We had assumed it would be easier to find a dispersed camping spot than it was. Unfortunately, many of the spots that were previously free, such as Willow Springs Road, are now paid dispersed camping areas. Many other sites require 4×4, which we have but didn’t necessarily want to use since we knew we’d be leaving our spot frequently to hike and explore Moab.
Thankfully, we found a spot that was perfect for us called Klondike Bluff Road Dispersed Camping. Although we did not have the best views, we enjoyed how we were able to find a spot here each night and were only 20 minutes from Moab. The gravel road in the area is pretty bumpy but does not require 4×4, and you do not need to drive far down the road to find a spot. There is no toilet, so make sure you have one in your rig or are prepared to pack out your waste, as it is illegal to bury waste in Moab.
We hope you can use our recommendations to help you next time you visit Moab, Utah! Anything else that you would add to this list? Let us know in the comments!