The gateway to Canyonlands National Park and Arches National Park, Moab is located in a desolate (and breathtakingly beautiful) corner of southeast Utah. Given the distances involved, most visitors get to, from, and around the region by car. 

The compact and charming town center of Moab features shops and restaurants along Main St (Hwy 191) that are easy to explore by bike or on foot as well as by car. An afternoon stroll down Main Street with a stop for ice cream offers up the perfect end a long day of hiking or mountain biking. Many visitors opt for two-wheeled transport around town and to nearby attractions – they don't call Moab Mountain Bike City USA for nothing. Both Arches and Canyonlands National Parks are just a short trip from Moab, and are accessible via shuttles, car, or bike. 

The regional Canyonlands Field airport offers a few regional flights, but most visitors rent cars after flying into the airports in Grand Junction, Colorado (100 minutes away), or Salt Lake City, Utah (four hours away).

Shuttles to Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, and beyond 

Though there's no public bus in Moab, private shuttles can transport you to nearby places of interest should you want to leave your own car keys at your hotel. Porcupine Shuttle Company specializes in transport to and from the best mountain biking areas in the region. The company also offers private shuttles to regional airports, as well as the Kokopelli Trail and San Juan Hut Systems across the border in Colorado. Moab Express offers service to the town of Green River, as well as to the Salt Lake City and Grand Junction airports. Coyote Shuttle offers shuttle services for boaters, bikers, and hikers, with specialized trips to Salt Creek and The Needles district in Canyonlands. Moab in a Day offers an easy shuttle to Delicate Arch in Arches National Park, along with other nearby trailheads.

Getting to Moab by car

Most people will get to and around Moab by car, since your own ride offers the easiest way into and out of the national parks and other regional wilderness areas. When possible, carpooling helps both parking hassles and your carbon footprint. 

A car also opens up numerous possible side trips – to Bears Ears National Monument; the Upper Colorado River Scenic Byway, which takes you past the Fisher Towers and Castle Valley; and the alpine La Sal Mountain Loop Scenic Backway. A two-hour drive lands you in remove Monument Valley, whose towering monoliths and stark desert backdrop you’ll probably recognize from countless Hollywood Westerns. 

sunrise light at Delicate Arch in Arches National Park, Moab, Utah
Consider taking a shuttle or leaving very, very early to avoid parking headaches at Arches National Park ©f11photo/Shutterstock

Getting to Arches National Park by car

Parking in Arches National Park is in extremely high demand, a situation that only gets worse each season. The line of cars waiting to enter the park can stretch for miles, and sometimes rangers cut off access altogether. To avoid this issue, consider biking it from Moab (the main entrance is just over 5 miles from Main St) or taking a shuttle. If you choose to drive, you might want to plan your visit during off-peak hours. The park is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week; according to the National Park Service, late afternoon and evening hours are less crowded. During the peak summer months, get up and out as soon as possible, as many trailhead parking lots are completely full as early as 7:30am.

Getting around Moab by bike

There’s a mantra in Moab: two wheels good, four wheels bad. Both road bikes and mountain bikes provide an exciting way to discover the beautiful wastelands surrounding Moab. Some mountain bike trails are accessible right from town, while others require you bring in your bike by car or shuttle. 

It’s also easy to access nearby Arches National Park and the Island in the Sky district of Canyonlands National Park on two wheels. A paved trail takes you right to the entrance to Arches, where you can peddle up the long windy road to the park center (around 30 miles total). Island in the Sky is a full-day endeavor, traveling mostly by road. 

There is a fairly short paved bike trail on Hwy 128 along the Colorado River, which offers a perfect family biking excursion. The trip starts from the Lion’s Park Trail Hub at the junction of Hwys 191 and 128. 

Getting to Moab by plane

Located 18 miles north of town, Canyonlands Field airport offers regional service to Denver and Salt Lake City. Most visitors touch down in the larger airports Salt Lake City or Grand Junction.

To experience the landscape from a different perspective, Redtail Air offers aerial "flightseeing" tours of the national parks outside Moab. 

Getting around Moab by 4x4

Many of the hikes in The Maze and Needles districts of Canyonlands are only accessible with a high-clearance vehicle. For day trips, you can rent your own 4X4 or take a guided trip for rough rides on trails like Hell’s Revenge, Shafer Trail, Klondike Bluffs, Geyser Pass, Poison Spider, and the Moab Rim Trail with such operators as Epic 4X4 Adventures

the Colorado River at Moab, Utah, USA
Get new views of a spectacular region from a jetboat down the Colorado River ©Tibu/Getty Images

Getting around Moab by boat

Tex’s Riverways is the best river shuttle service in town – maybe even all of Utah. The company's jetboats can take you via Meander Canyon to the confluence of the Green and Colorado Rivers, pick you up after a long paddle on Stillwater Canyon on the Green River, or drop you off at the beginning of your paddling adventure. 

Accessible transportation in Moab

This region is a challenging one for accessible travel. Still, both Arches and Canyonlands offer accessible trails, campgrounds, and services. Many of the overlooks can be accessed via paved trails. In town, many restaurants offer access for people with mobility challenges, and while the sidewalks can get crowded, Main St is easily navigable via wheelchair or mobility scooter.

You may also like:
17 top adventures in and around mighty Moab
Introducing Utah's national parks
The best time to go to Utah

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