It’s adventure season. There’s a buzz in the air, a hint of adventure in every ray of sunshine that breaks through, forcing winter into serious hibernation. We decided to chase the tail end of winter and head into spring with a bang, so we packed up a road warrior worthy 2016 Acura RDX with all the skis, crampons, shorts and hiking boots we could find and set the GPS for Utah. We found ourselves in sunny Moab, nature’s Disney World that is teeming with virtually endless outdoor activity. Follow our lead for an adventure to remember.
FIRST STOP: PICK UP YOUR TOYS
Swing by Twisted Jeeps for an off-road worthy ride. This is not your ordinary car rental at the airport. Twisted Jeeps rents out some serious badassery that are tuned for performance on and off the trail.
If you’re out and about early enough it’s worth the $5 entrance fee at Sand Flats Road to test your Jeep out on Hell’s Revenge. The premier slickrock trail lies northeast of town, and includes steep climbs, descents and edges that are not for the faint of heart. It’s the classic Moab off-roading experience and, even though it’s only a six mile long trail minutes from Main Street Moab, it takes the average Jeeper roughly two hours to finish.
After you pick up your whip, extra gear is in order (because really, can you ever have enough gear?). We grabbed a touring ski set-up from Rim Cyclery for a late Spring backcountry trip up into the La Sal Mountains but while we were there we saw plenty of bike rentals heading out. There’s no shortage of adventures to be found in Moab, and Rim Cyclery can get you setup for all of your ski touring and cycling needs while in town.
NEXT STOP: GRAB COFFEE & HEAD TO THE BACKCOUNTRY
Espresso drive-through. Need I say more? Wicked Brew is a closet sized coffee shop with fantastic coffee and stunning red rock views. Drive through first thing in the morning and beat the lines that form at sunrise.
Then take your caffeinated self and head up to one of the Talking Mountain Yurts that have recently become part of the landscape in the La Sal Mountains. We threw on our skis for one last foray into winter and skied the 2.5 miles to the Gold Basin yurt, nestled among the quaking aspens at 10,000 feet. Available only during the winter (a term we’re using loosely here), this yurt provides unparalleled access to backcountry touring among the largest peaks of the La Sal Mountains.
For a summer excursion, head to the Jimmy Keen Flat Yurt, sitting on a high desert mesa overlooking the prominent towers and buttes of Castle Valley, the winding Colorado River and Arches National Park far below. Situated nearly halfway down the Whole Enchilada Trail and at the intersection of the newly constructed Jimmy Keen Loop and Kokopelli Trail, it provides the perfect location for mountain bikers and hikers alike.
The Yurt comes with a kitchen prepped for all your culinary needs, whether that’s steaming jalapeno tamales or slicing charcuterie. Or, you know, melting snow so you have drinking water. The dining room set up is cozy and intimate, and the bunks accommodate up to eight so a dinner party is not out of the question. Add a wood burning stove and deck of cards and you have yourself a small slice of mountainous heaven. No cell service or electricity makes it the perfect place for a tech unwind and reprieve from the craziness of ‘real life.’ Whatever that is…
NEXT STOP: GET WILD IN THE COLORADO
Once you’ve successfully skied/hiked/biked your way out of the La Sals, explore the Colorado River with Red River Adventures. A day out on the Fisher Towers trip is a 14 mile Class II/III whitewater rapid adventure, a gorgeous way to see the views of Moab in a whole new light.
The ride varies in rapid activity depending on the season, but no matter what it is always a wild and enjoyable float down a beautiful riverside.
Moab Action Shots is the best photographer in town to capture your adventure mid-rapids, and will follow you from the shoreline to showcase each splash.
If you’re lucky, you’ll get Lisa as your guide and be serenaded with some Amy Schumer humor and Patsy Cline tunes.
The guides here all love what they do, and it shows. Pretty much guaranteed to leave with a few more freckles and a grin spread across your face.
FINAL DESTINATIONS: MOAB’S BEST BISTRO & GLAMPING UNDER THE DESERT STARS
After several days of skiing, yurt-ing, rafting, roughing it and off-roading you’ll want a proper bed and a gourmet meal. Unpack your bags and settle in for a night at Moab Under Canvas, a glamping location so lovely you won’t even hate yourself for using the word ‘glamping.’ Moab Under Canvas is located on 40 acres just minutes away from the entrance to both Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park. Experience the desert and sleep among the stars – with a flushing toilet and down pillow top bed. The views are spectacular, the tents luxurious, and the experience surreal. It’s camping as it should be.
End every trip to Moab with dinner at the Desert Bistro. It’s an absolute must. Local Chef Karl Kelley is also the local rock climbing guidebook author, spending his mornings at Indian Creek and his evenings in the kitchen. His wife and co-owner Michelle Kelley, doubles as the restaurant’s hostess and in-house pastry chef. Karl and Michelle bring a sense of unity to the restaurant—their passion for adventure and love for each other shows in the décor, ambiance and with every mojito sip or quail quesadilla bite.