Favorite small towns for getting outdoors

Bike, hike, raft, climb ― these towns welcome adrenaline junkies

Moab red rock
Photo: Brown Cannon III

MOAB, UT

Bike, raft, climb rocks, think

Population: 4,779 

What a house costs: $265,000

The vibe: How in love with the outdoors is Moab? So in love that one of the community’s main activities is trail maintenance. What do you expect from a town surrounded by millions of acres of public lands ― Canyonlands and Arches National Parks among them ― where mountain biking and river running can be daily activities? Moab has drawn world-class athletes like rock climber Steph Davis, author of High Infatuation: A Climber’s Guide to Love and Gravity. Says Davis, “I think Moab is the most beautiful place in the world, and it is just the right size. The landscape is open yet creates a sense of intimacy and safety because there are always cliffs and canyons keeping it from feeling too vast and open. Somehow, it’s very easy to think here.” –Lisa Taggart

Meet your neighbors over: Tofu satay and curried rice at Eklectica cafe. Volunteer brush-clearing workdays at Lower Porcupine Singletrack trail. An order of jalapeño beer fries and a pint of Scorpion Pale Ale at Moab Brewery.

On Saturday: Mountain bike the Slickrock Bike Trail or hike in Arches National Park. Have lunch on the trail and do more exploring, but come back in time for tapas at Center Cafe or Rocky Mountain game at the Desert Bistro.

Inside scoop: "A lot of people who live here say the same thing: 'The first minute I saw this desert, I knew it was my home.' " –Steph Davis, rock climber and author

Next: four more outdoorsy burgs

 

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  • Moab map

    Where: 235 miles southeast of Salt Lake City.
    Main drag: Main Street (U.S. 191).
    Cut your teeth on: The Slickrock Bike Trail.
    Home style: Biker’s wood-frame bungalow with an extra bedroom for gear.
    Visit:  discovermoab.com; the Gonzo Inn (from $159)

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