Driving the American West: Moab to Arches

Wilson Arch outside Moab, Utah


Continued from
Driving the American West: Monument Valley to Canyonlands

From the Needles section of Canyonlands, I stumbled across Hole ‘N the Rock, a ragtag collection of kitsch that forms the ultimate roadside attraction. It’s places like this that make you realize that a road trip is utterly unlike other kinds of travel…and that’s a wonderful thing.

I then eased on into a two-night stay in Moab, Utah, a few friendly blocks’ worth of a river walk, pueblo architecture, and darn fine brewpub or three. At my favorite, the Moab Brewery, I was seated beside two long tables of teens in shiny formal wear, celebrating before their high school’s Sadie Hawkins Dance.

And I treated myself to a glorious half a day at Arches National Park, a relatively small swath of dazzling erosion.


I miss Utah.

In the outer reaches of Moab, Hole N" The Rock is a kooky roadside attraction with art made from junk, a petting zoo, a souvenir shop, a motel, and a tour-able family dwelling built into this here rock

The work of metal sculptor Lyle Nicholls is all over the lot at Hole N" the Rock, including this replica of Mater from the animated movie "Cars'

Moab's shops are full of Western art, souvenirs and clothing

I loved my stay at the cozy, remodeled Ramada; and to think, I chose it at random when the Best Western across the street was full

This was the view of the La Sal Mountains from just outside my second-floor room at the Ramada Inn

Eddie McStiff's is a Moab institution, a lively pizza pub tucked into the back of a Western-style mini mall

At the Moab Brewery, I was really taken with this locally-made Utah wine; nearby, the Castle Creek Winery itself offers tastings of all its wines

A popular stop with park-goers, the Love Muffin Cafe has great espresso drinks and baked goods, including gluten-free pumpkin-chocolate chip muffins

Moab's Mill Creek Parkway at dusk; taking a walk along here is a lovely way to start or end a day here

The entrance to Arches National Park, four miles from Moab

Arches offers more than arches

The La Sal Mountain Range rims the park, creating a stark contrast with the dry, sandstone landscape

The unique sandstone formations here are the product of erosion over approximately eleventy gabillion years

One of the many, um, arches, in Arches

Sometimes the park looks like a mysterious badland, strewn with castle ruins

Striping the terrain are bands of iron-rich, non-oxidized sandstone that have turned green

The non-oxidized rock is one of the most unusual shades of green I've ever seen

The hills around Arches are also full of milky quartz

The small park takes only about two hours to explore by car, but is full of amazing, surprising shapes



City of Moab, Utah
Hole N” the Rock
Ramada Inn Moab 
Eddie McStiff’s
Moab Brewery
Castle Creek Winery
Love Muffin Cafe
National Park Service website for Arches National Park


Soon continued in

Driving the American West: Western Colorado


  1. Moab is one of my favorite spots in the West–we spent our anniversary there last year! You should check out Sorrel River Ranch next time you’re there. SO nice.

  2. Kristin, you’re the second person to recommended the Ranch! I’ll definitely check it out next time…and there WILL be a next time. 🙂

  3. Suzan Wynne says:

    Teal rock, huh? And milky quartz. I’m thinking a kitchen counter.

  4. Ooooo! Sounds like an excellent addition to my fantasy cottage…in Moab. 😉

  5. I’ll be visiting this area with my wife in a couple of months so your post helps us get some more ideas about what to look for. Looking forward to the next ones.

  6. David, thanks for letting me know — and have a wonderful trip!

  7. I am fascinated by all the shapes of the rocks and the amazing views captured in your photos!:) I sure hope I can be there someday, and I will make sure to remember all the things you have shared here (and your tips) too!:D Thanks for sharing this 🙂

  8. Omg Melanie .. wonderful photos and excellent info .. thnx soooooo much !!! J

  9. I really enjoyed your article and photos and am now thinking of including Moab on our tenth wedding anniversary trip in Sept. 2015. Looks like a wonderful place and sounds like some of you think it is the best in the west. Worth checking out! Thank you for sharing. My husband is letting me do all the planning… so he doesn’t know all I have already mapped out. 🙂 Sincerely, Debbie Mosley

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