Summertime fun in the sun is definitely is easy to find in Moab, Utah! Moab is the number one destination in America for off road vehicle enthusiasts, back country hikers, mountain bikers and Colorado River rafters. The outdoor adventures are literally endless in this majestic region that most people refer to as Moab. The name may refer to the region, but the actual town of Moab is a nice basecamp convenience for travelers seeking comfortable amenities after a long day outdoors.
The town of Moab is the gateway to several National Parks, National Forests and BLM Recreation Areas. Arches and Canyonlands are literally right next door. These National Parks certainly do have overcrowding problems during the summer season, yet there is a tremendous amount of BLM properties surrounding the parks that are managed as recreation areas. The Colorado River runs through Moab on the way south into Canyonlands, so there are endless aquatic adventures that await along this long winding body of water. In fact, one of the most popular spots for an extended stay in Moab happens to be the Colorado River Recreation Area.
Along the river just north of Moab is a large recreation area that caters to rafters, campers and hikers. The Colorado Riverway Recreation Area covers a strip of land on both sides of the river from close to I-70 all the way south to Moab. As the river runs south, it enters the red rock territory, which is one of the most picturesque places on earth. A float trip down the river or even a scenic drive on State Road 128 to Moab through this majestic landscape is guaranteed to be a memorable one!
With so much going on around Moab, it is easy to imagine that there will be some pretty big crowds. Oddly enough, the majority of tourists usually just flock to the nearby National Parks. Arches National Park has set attendance records the last few years and this is like music to the ears of folks that wish to avoid the big crowds, because when the majority of visitors are in Arches, fewer casual tourists will be crowding the lesser known destinations in this region. What this all means is that nearby places like the Colorado Riverway Recreation Area never really seem to be overcrowded, even during a busy holiday weekend.
Touring the Colorado Riverway Recreation Area by automobile is easy to do and this scenic drive certainly is like no other. In a way, the Colorado Riverway is actually like a grand entrance hall, that lets a visitor know that this is one of the most beautiful places on earth! Starting from Interstate Highway 70, the exit ramp to look for is State Road 128, which heads south. This Utah Scenic Byway literally follows a path that runs along the banks of the Colorado River all the way south to Highway 191 in Moab. The Colorado Riverway Scenic Byway only takes an hour to tour if you are in a hurry, but the majestic scenery along the river is so beautiful that it is easy to turn the venture into an all day affair.
All along State Road 128 are scenic overlooks that present great photo opportunities by the Colorado River. The towering red sandstone bluffs and eroded mesas create an awe inspiring visual effect that easily separates visitors from the world they came from. In fact, the Castle Valley section of the Colorado Riverway Recreation Area has such a strange gothic appearance, that it looks like it belongs on a distant planet! As the river runs along the border of Arches National Park near Moab, the landscape gets even weirder, because signs of natural arch formations in early stages can be seen. The strange mind boggling landscape that surrounds the river sure does have a way of captivating all who visit this amazing place!
The Colorado Riverway Recreation Area actually only covers a narrow stretches of land on either side of the river, but venturing out of this zone into BLM territory greatly expands the activity options. Along the river a visitor will find trailer parking areas, hiking trailheads, raft launches, picnic areas, campgrounds and staging areas for organized 4×4 excursions. Canoe, kayak, tube and raft rentals, as well as organized rafting ventures can all be found in the town of Moab. In order to do an organized aquatic craft excursion, it is as easy as parking the car in Moab, then hopping on a bus that hauls passengers and watercraft as far upstream as you wish to go. Spending a day floating down this lazy river section of the mighty Colorado River and ending the venture at your car back in Moab is as easy going as it gets!
One thing that a visitor will not find in the Colorado Riverway Recreation Area is commercialization. There are no roadside junk food stands, tourist traps or unsightly billboards, because this recreation area is surrounded by federal managed lands and National Parks. This is a pristine wilderness area where the river water meets the high desert, so any kind of negative environmental impact is minimized. What this means is that there are no telephone wires or power lines to obstruct the majestic views, so escaping from the modern world is easy to do.
As can be seen in the photos, the Colorado Riverway Recreation Area offers an opportunity to take a relaxing river raft float trip through some of the most majestic scenery on earth! The scenic drive along the river is good option, especially if a visitor needs to scope out a good campsite before renting a raft down in Moab. One thing to keep in mind is Moab does get very busy during the summer season, so it is best to book rental services and accommodations well ahead of time. As far as cool waterfront destinations are concerned, the Colorado Riverway Recreation Area certainly is at the top of the list and this is reason enough to just get up and go!
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