Run through red rock canyons, explore ancient petroglyphs, and stand beneath massive sandstone arches on these classic Moab trail runs.
There isn’t a trail runner in the world who doesn’t have Moab on their bucket list of places to visit. With its constant growth and addition of trail, even those who have been can surely find something new to explore on their next visit. First made popular by 4x4 users in the late 20th century, Moab has expanded into one of the largest outdoor meccas in the western half of the United States. An array of adventure seekers, especially mountain bikers, hikers, and trail runners pay an annual pilgrimage to the area to explore the vast red rock landscape.
A Moab classic, the Slickrock Trail is a world-renowned trail and an excellent place to start if you’re new to Moab. Just minutes from town, this run offers an other-worldly experience as you follow painted white blazes over an array of sandstone formations. Though less than 10 miles, this run is filled with short, steep pitches that challenge even the fittest athlestes.
Bordering the southeast edge of town, the Hidden Valley Trail is a favorite with avid traveler and trail runner Brendon Voelker. This out and back run offers incredible views of La Sal Mountains and is spectacular at sunrise or sunset. If you only have time for one run, this should top your list. Even after visiting countless riding areas across the country, the memories of running into the hidden valley at dusk stand out among all others.
Located in Arches National Park, Devils Garden showcases several of Moab’s best sandstone arches, including the iconic Landscape Arch. According to the NPS, "Landscape Arch is the longest arch in North America with a light opening of 306 feet", and astonishingly just 6' at its narrowest point. One of the most visited loops on the list, runners should get an early start to the day and pack plenty of water since there is none on the trail.
As you head further from town, several additional trail systems will be within reach. Both Amasa Back and Navajo Rocks showcase desert trail running at its finest. Sweeping views, remote trails, and groomed singletrack draw in countless mountain bikers each year – though runners will undoubtedly enjoy running the same trails.
Not far from each other, Grandstaff Canyon and Mill Creek lead deep into canyons and offer trail runners as many – or as few – miles as you’d like. Close to town, vibrant red rock formations and ancient petroglyphs are abundant, and seasonal snow melt from the La Sal Mountains contrasts the deep red hues of the canyon walls. Both of these routes also as popular family-friendly hikes, should you be seeking something other than a run. Sources: https://www.nps.gov/arch/planyourvisit/devils-garden.htm