With blue sky, white clouds, and red rocks, Moab in the winter is a colorful destination without the crowds, full of modern, natural and ancient art.

Though a four hour drive from Salt Lake City, navigating to this art Mecca is simple. Two merges to the left and a turn to the right and you are in Moab. Take a winter weekend getaway and explore this tiny tourist town when only the locales are there. You will find abundant lodging, decent dining options and un-crowded national parks and open spaces.

Arches National Park

And you will find art of every kind, perhaps in greater concentration than any other locale in the state. Photographers, painters, poets, potters, playwrights, musicians, muralists, dancers, jewelers, sculptors and singers congregate here. The Moab Artist Council will help you search the creative scene. A nice relaxing wander down Main Street, window-shopping, perusing galleries and perhaps purchasing a masterpiece, is a great way to fill an afternoon. Search for murals and other outdoor art scattered through town.

Counterpoint to the local art scene, both Arches and Canyonlands National Parks have an abundance of scenic splendor. Easily accessible hiking abounds in Arches and a hike to Utah icon Delicate Arch, the most famous in the world, should be on your bucket list. Off-season you will find space to sit and contemplate the artistic bent of nature, the supreme sculptor of majestic rock formations. A moonrise here is memorable.

The world-famous Delicate Arch

The Windows Loop, Devils Garden and Fiery Furnace, to name a few, are much nicer hiked in the cool weather of winter. Be prepared to have your senses assaulted and your breath caught in wonder when surrounded by spires, slick-rock and sandstone. The brilliant contrasts between red rocks in the shade, blinding sun and perhaps sparkling snow, the peace and perfection, solitude and serenity, reward those who layer up with winter gear.

Hiking in Fiery Furnace

Canyonlands National Park features larger than life scenery with expansive views to fill your mind, heart and soul with wonder. Gazing toward the Needles District, down upon the Schafer trail, and out upon canyons, mesas and buttes layered like crooked wedding cakes, is to realize Mother Nature wields a paint palette of unmatched hues.

Ancient Indian rock art, petroglyphs and pictographs, are found a short walk from paved roads at six sites near town. As you wander a wash, skirting a cliff band, searching for messages from the past, imagine that the only way you have to tell your story is by painting or pecking a rock wall. Mysterious, moving and magical, these images are a window to civilizations long past.

Ancient Indian rock art

Explore Moab where art and beauty are in the eye of the beholder and everywhere you look, both inside and out. Information on lodging, attractions, activities and maps are found at Discover Moab.  

All photos in this post courtesy of Kirk Marshall