The Moab region of Utah is an outdoor adventurist’s paradise! Hiking, mountain biking and camping are just part of the venue in this majestic red rock landscape. What Moab truly is most famous for is off-highway 4×4 vehicle adventures. Some of the toughest 4×4 trails in the world can be found here and Moab is the number one destination for modified rock climber Jeeps. Moab is also a primary destination for Colorado River rafting during the summer season. As can be imagined, endless fun outdoor activities can be experienced in this region!
For people who are familiar with this region of Utah, the word Moab does not just refer to the town itself. When spoken locally, the word Moab refers to the entire region of BLM territory that is next to Arches National Park, and Canyonlands National Park. The town of Moab is a gateway community that definitely caters to outdoor adventurists. Modern amenities, restaurants, outdoor outfitters, RV parks and 4×4 vehicle rentals can all be found in this town, so Moab is the hub for tourism in this region.
The wild, weird and whacky red rock landscape is the main reason why so many people venture to Moab each year. In this region there are snow capped mountains, vast high mesa plains and endless canyons that stretch out to the horizon. There are colorful odd shaped red rock formations everywhere that one looks. The air is so clean and clear that an object in the distance appears to be much closer than it really is and the colorful red, orange and yellow rock formations seem to glow in the bright sunlight. Throw the cobalt blue skies into the mix and you have a surreal majestic landscape that looks as if it belongs on a distant planet. The Moab region certainly is visually stunning and this makes the outdoor activities in this region all the more exciting!
Relatively few scenic destinations in the Moab region can be accessed with a regular passenger car. Most of the unique back country destinations can only be accessed by rafting, four wheeling, hiking, biking or horseback riding. The skill level and comfort level of the trails do vary greatly in the Moab back country, so it does pay to do some careful research before committing to a venture. For example, there are rugged dirt road trails in this region that only modified Jeeps and ATVs can handle. A standard passenger car would be totally destroyed before going a few hundred yards down one of the trails that has a high difficulty rating. Moab actually is where Jeep and ATV manufacturers test their products, so as can be imagined, things can get a bit hairy on the back country 4x4 trails. For these reasons, when driving a regular passenger car it is best to stick to the pavement and the easy smooth dirt roads.
There are a few great Moab landmark destinations that actually can be accessed with a standard passenger car and one of the most famous is a convenient roadside attraction. Wilson Arch is located about halfway between Moab and Monticello on Highway 191. Highway 191 is the solitary main road through the Moab region, so a map is not even needed to find this majestic natural stone arch attraction.
Wilson Arch is one of the biggest natural sandstone arches in the west and it is truly a spectacular sight to see! This massive sandstone arch is only a few hundred yards off of the highway and the hiking trails are well marked. There are several good vantage points on the opposite side of the road, where a photographer can squeeze the entire natural sandstone arch into a picture frame. This important to mention, because Wilson Arch is so big that it is necessary to use a wide angle lens to capture an image of the entire rock formation!
I was running out of daylight when I stopped by Wilson Arch, because I spent the entire day exploring the Canyon Rims Recreation Area, which is located on the west side of the highway. As it turned out, the timing was perfect for photographing Wilson Arch in the blazing bright light of the setting sun, which creates a dramatic visual effect. The gigantic bright orange sandstone arch glows intensely as the sun sets and the views are mesmerizing.
Wilson Arch does look different at certain times of day and the viewing angle can also have an effect. In the morning hours, following the hiking trails to the east side of the arch will provide stunning views, while standing on the roadside provides the best views during sunset hours. In between, standing under the big arch is as thrilling as it gets and the views of the surrounding landscape from up top are spectacular as well.
For a visitor planning a trip to the Moab region, there is no use pretending that every scenic landmark in this area can be experienced in one day. There is so much for an outdoorsman to experience that it would honestly take more than six months to to see it all. This is why Moab is a place that people return to time and time again. Wilson Arch is one of the easiest landmarks to access in Moab and this gigantic natural arch certainly inspires visitors to explore more. Wilson Arch definitely belongs high on the list when venturing to Moab country!
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