The iconic Delicate Arch in Arches National Park
Thomas J. Story
Grub goes upscale
Though Moab isn’t a fine-dining destination, those with high standards won’t go hungry. Get your a.m. perk and spicy huevos rancheros or whole-wheat buttermilk pancakes at old favorite EklectiCafé ($; 352 N. Main St.; 435/259-6896), where the best seat in the house is on the cafe’s garden patio.
After a day outdoors, you’ll find townies at the Moab Brewery ($$; 686 S. Main; themoabbrewery.com) for good reason. The Dead Horse Amber Ale and a Brewer’s Reuben taste even better after a romp in red rock country.
The finest dining is downtown at the newly relocated Desert Bistro ($$$$; 36 South 100 West; 423/259-0756), where local, organic ingredients turn into creative dishes like bacon-wrapped smoked elk tenderloin and handmade agnolotti pasta with mushrooms.
Hit the classics
Hike in Arches National Park. This geologic fantasyland has webs of trails with mind-blowing views. But don’t miss the easy 3-mile round-tripper to the park’s most iconic landmark, Delicate Arch. From the trailhead at Wolfe’s Ranch, follow the route past Ute petroglyphs onto waves of swelling sandstone where the freestanding arch rears up to defy gravity. Time your trek during the magical twilight hour—you won’t be alone, but you will see a spectacle some 70,000 years in the making ignited in the crimson colors of sunset. $10/vehicle; nps.gov/arch
Ride the Colorado River. April usually marks the onset of 80° temps along the Colorado River, the perfect kickoff to rafting season. Hop aboard with the granddaddy of outfitters, Adrift Adventures. Rolling through immense canyons, the broad cappuccino-colored river never exceeds much more than grin-inducing Class III riffles in April. Depending on conditions, an overboard river dip may be in order. Tours from $35/person half-day; 378 N. Main; adrift.net