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Know Before You Go – Moab

Know Before You Go – Moab

Arches Has a Reservation System

Visitation to Arches over the past few years has experienced a huge increase. In order to protect the park and create a better experience for guests, there is a pilot reservation system in place from April 1-Oct. 31, 2024.

This means you will have to make your plans to visit Arches in advance, or go into the park before 7am or after 4pm. Another option is to take a guided trip with one of our outfitters.

During the reservation season, visitors arriving between 7am and 4pm will need to have a reservation for a certain arrival time in advance.

Book your reservation up to three months before the date you want to visit the park. Timed-entry tickets will not be sold at the entrance station.

Book reservations at Recreation.gov, by using their mobile app (which acts similar to the website), or by calling 877-444-6777.

A timed-entry ticket is $2. You still need to pay the park entrance fee or have an annual or lifetime NPS pass.

Tips on the Reservation System

Set up an account on recreation.gov before your trip, or check out as a guest.

Have your reservation pulled up on your phone, or printed copy ready for the gate attendant.

You cannot get a reservation at the entry gate or any visitor center. You can stop at the Moab Information Center and they will help navigate you through the process and can check availability.

There are limited “day of” tickets available the night before at 7pm.

Reservations are for a vehicle (15 passenger or less). A motorcycle is considered a vehicle. Bicyclists do not need a reservation.

Reservation Schedule

You can make reservations three months in advance.

Month of VisitReservations Open
AprilJanuary 2
MayFebruary 1
JuneMarch 1
JulyApril 1
AugustMay 1
SeptemberJune 1
OctoberJuly 1

 

Entry windows last one hour

If you have a 7am reservation, you have to enter between 7am-7:59am. If you don’t, you will lose your reservation.

Once you are in the park, you can stay as long as you like. If you have a reservation and enter the park during your entry window, you are able to leave the park and re-enter at any time.

There are no restaurants in the park, so take plenty of food and water for your entire group.

Ideas for Green Traveling

Stay at eco-friendly accommodations. Carry your own shampoo to reduce the single-use ones hotels provide. Re-use your towel.

Shop local, eat local, repeat.

Avoid single-use plastic. Buy a water bottle and refill it and avoid buying bottled water.

Respect the local history, artifacts, and culture of the communities.

Drive slowly and “gear down in town.”

Please recycle. Moab has a great recycling center. If you are in an area that does not offer recycling, consider carrying it to a town or location that does.

Leave Nothing Behind

All trash, including food scraps, empty cans, bottles, and any litter, especially used toilet paper, are ugly to see and dangerous to animals. If you bring it in, take it out! No exceptions.

Help keep our environment pristine for years to come by disposing of your litter properly. This includes toilet paper and dog poop. Carry a portable waste or “WAG bag” for human waste and pack it out.

Dedicate a nylon stuff sack as your trash bag. It’s easy to wash and reuse. Or, use a small plastic bag for your trash and put that in a trash can at the end of your day.

If you come across litter while on the trail, please do us a favor and pack it out. Future visitors, wildlife, and locals will thank you!

Understanding Permits

Moab is surrounded by national parks and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land. Each governing body issues permits that regulate the type of activities that can take place on their land. Not only does this protect the wildlife, but it protects the land from overuse. Plus, permits have a silver lining: fewer people.

Outfitters may have permits for some areas, but not others, and some outfitters are the only ones with a certain permit. For instance, there are only three permits issued a day for rafting on the Colorado River through Westwater Canyon, which limits this area of the river to 75 users per day. Does your outfitter have a permit? And, if so, do they have a spot for you? The 25 spots for these popular trips go quickly, so plan ahead.

Permits also apply to private trips. It’s best to plan popular trips (Needles backpacking, White Rim camping, etc.) in advance and have some flexibility and understanding of the permit system.

Don’t Bust the Crust

In the desert, a dark crust of lichen, mosses, algae, and bacteria holds the soil in place. This dark crust is called biological soil crust (or biocrust) and looks remarkably like dirt, but it’s actually a self-sustaining biological unit that is essential to the health of the desert ecosystem. Once stepped on, this fragile crust takes years to regrow.

Biocrust grows on barren ground and takes decades to become established, but just one second to be destroyed by careless footsteps.
Please bike, hike, and drive only on established trails and roads.

Get the Poop Scoop

Seriously, this is one topic we never thought we would need to add to our guidebook. However, more and more people are visiting the area, and human waste in the backcountry has become a real issue. So, here we go.

Whenever you can, take advantage of a toilet facility. When a developed toilet is not around, you must pack out solid waste in an approved waste bag. In order for this to be a sanitary activity, use a W.A.G. bag (Waste Alleviation and Gelling Bag).

These bags are double walled, spill proof, puncture proof, and zipper closed. They have crystals or gels to neutralize the dangerous pathogens in human waste. This all allows them to be disposed of into an approved WAG bag disposal bin.

Once you have used your bag (good up to four uses), you must dispose of it in a WAG-bag-only trash can. This is important because they are more heat resistant than regular trash cans. In the heat, these bags could explode, making this situation a lot worse.

The bags are small and tuck easily into your pack or in your car.

Watch a video on how to use one at DiscoverMoab.com/Poop.

Purchase them at one of our partners: Arches National Park Bookstore, Canyonlands National Park Bookstore, Moab Information Center, GearHeads Outdoor Store, and Wild West Voyages.

Disposal Locations in Moab:

Moab Area Transit

The Moab Area Transit (MAT) pilot program is a new, fare-free, transit service in Moab. MAT provides more options for transportation in Moab and aims to help reduce downtown traffic using comfortable MAT-branded 13-passenger vans, wheelchair accessible.

There are two options for MAT.

Car Rental

If you flew to Moab, renting a car is easy. Canyonlands Jeep and Car Rentals offers compact, midsize, fullsize, minivans, and even full-size vans available for pick up right at the Canyonlands Regional Airport or at the Moab Adventure Center. Car rental fees start at $69 per day and all reservations are guaranteed.
For your reservation, call 435-259-4413, or visit CanyonlandsJeep.com.

Fly In or Out of Moab

Redtail Air offers outstanding custom charter service. Their turbine powered aircraft can access any public airport in the western United States as well as backcountry strips such as Hite, Sand Wash, or Angel Point for river trips and other activities. 

For information or to book flights, call 435-259-7421, email info@flyredtail.com, or visit FlyRedtail.com.

Questions Answered

The Moab Information Center, located at the corner of Main and Center Streets, has a highly-knowledgeable staff that can help plan your adventure.

There are also interpretive displays and a large gift shop featuring guide books, maps, videos, postcards, and much more. There is also free internet access.

Liquor Laws

Utah’s alcohol laws are different than other states. Alcohol beverage service in a licensed restaurant requires that you order food with your drink. If you only want a drink and no food, head to a bar. The legal drinking age is 21.

Packaged liquor, wine, and beer “to go” are sold at state liquor stores.

The Moab state-owned liquor store is located at 55 West 200 South.

Open 11am-7pm. Closed Sundays and holidays.

Electric Car Charging stations

Moab has 10 level 2 charging stations at five locations throughout the community: Moab Springs Ranch, Adventure Inn, across from Swanny Park, and near the Center Street Gym.

If you are headed out to play a round of golf, the Moab Golf Course has a station as well. For more information visit DiscoverMoab.com/MoabFirst.

Plastic Bag Ban

In an effort to have a more sustainable and environmentally-friendly community, Moab now has a ban on the use of plastic bags.

Bring your reusable bags when shopping in any Moab store. If you don’t have one, the grocery stores and most stores sell them - a practical souvenir! 

The ban does not include pet waste bags. The Moab Barkery sells doggie bags that are made with an additive which helps them break down, unlike traditional plastic bags.

 

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