The high-desert, red-rock playground that is Moab, Utah, is a vast wilderness with many a secret to reveal to the curious. But this territory can also prompt frustrations when it comes to such logistics as where to go, park and sleep. Even venturing onto the trails can be tricky for greenhorns. A landscape that may appear as familiar as a Hollywood set is anything but.
Moab Adventure Center (https://www.moabadventurecenter.com/) is the go-to resource when it comes to questions about how to get the most out of a visit here. And the resident experts present will often suggest securing the services of a seasoned guide as the best way to maximize time and opportunities spent enjoying the Moab region.
Avoid parking hassles. The trailhead parking lots at Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park and at many other forest service and state park trailheads are often full by 10 a.m. A guide offers and utilizes drop-off/pick-up shuttle services to avoid the disappointment of being turned away due to a full lot.
Pack in more adventure. A guided experience eliminates back-tracking by always moving forward. More complex hikes may have different start and end points that require vehicle shuttles. Moab Adventure Center staff can arrange transfers and guide assistance for such hikes. One example is a six-mile trek from the Moab Rim to Hidden Valley that overlooks the Colorado River and town of Moab. The path drops to a canyon where the magic of prehistory is revealed in rock carvings known as petroglyphs. Different start and end points are solved with assistance of a guide or pre-arranged shuttle.
Fly instead of drive. Visitors can save time and hassle by flying to Canyonlands Field Airport (CNY) in Moab from Salt Lake City or Denver (daily air service) where Moab Adventure Center will arrange transfers to in-town accommodations and to all activity sites. Guests don’t need a car as they can walk to shops, restaurants and to the Moab Adventure Center, all centrally located.
Secure sometimes-scarce lodging in Moab. Especially for peak spring and summer weekends, visitors should secure advance lodging reservations in Moab. Moab Adventure Center helps by holding blocks of rooms (Moab lodging options) for clients who book a trip with them a minimum of 30 days out.
Embellish adventures. A guide is a wellspring of information and loves to share interesting factoids and lore that embellish adventures, be it a hike among the red rocks or a full or half-day rafting trip on the Colorado River. A guide can also pick up on client interests and suggest other activities and what to do in Moab, Utah. The free Pocket Guide Moab: Last Minute Itineraries for the Undecided Traveler is also a good resource to the area.
Collect insider tips. Who has the best Happy Hour? Who has free Wi-Fi service in town? What’s the best way to view a red rock sunset? Again, guides dispense insights and suggestions at no extra cost. An Arches Sunset Tour, for example, includes a 50+ mile, four-hour guided, interpretive tour in a comfortable sightseeing vehicle that stops at five sites where easy hikes await.
Safety factors weigh in. A guide is aware of which trails may be closed and of pending weather extremes such as icy conditions or flash floods. A guide also brings along extra water, first aid supplies and a cell/sat phone. Moab Adventure Center guides are trained in how to administer advanced wilderness first aid.
Arrange meet-ups with new friends. Part of the fun of travel and adventure is sharing experiences with people who soon shift from strangers to friends. A professionally trained guide helps break the ice and set the tone for a mutually good time.
Moab Adventure Center is a division of Western River Expeditions (http://www.westernriver.com/) an adventure travel company headquartered in Salt Lake City, with operations and offices in Moab and Fredonia, AZ. The company is the largest single tour provider in Moab, Utah. The Moab Adventure Center is located at 225 South Main St., Moab, UT 84532. For information and reservations please call (435) 259-7019 or (866) 904-1163. The center also has a 2,000-square-foot retail space selling adventure related gear, clothing, maps and souvenirs.