Moab, Utah is one of my favorite hubs for adventure. It has absolutely something for everyone: two National Parks (NP), two more State Parks (SP), lots of open Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land, a cute town (for shopping and restaurants), the Colorado River, camping or glamping, and history (including dinosaur tracks and petroglyphs)… all surrounded by stunning red rock landscapes.
We often spend a week in Moab on our way to/from home with the motorhome and the Jeep Rubicon that we pull behind it. But there are a couple of airstrips to fly into as well. The more obvious one is Canyonlands Regional Airport (KCNY). With a 7,360 x 100 ft paved runway, and a secondary 2,000 x 60 ft gravel runway, this is the easiest way to get in and out, rent a vehicle (suggest a Jeep), etc.
The more adventurous option, but one that requires more planning (such as fuel provisions, food/drinks, potentially camping, etc.), is Mineral Canyon (UT75). This BLM airstrip requires permission prior to landing, but it is otherwise open to the public. Contact the Moab Field Office at 435-259-2100. The airstrip is in the Green River Canyon (about 1,000 ft deep), right between the river and Campground 1. The dirt runway (14/32) is 2,000 x 40 ft. For recent pictures and “ride reports,” visit the Utah Back Country Pilots Association website. Warning – Once there, you may never want to leave!
Some of my favorite sites include, of course, the National Parks. Arches NP has many drives and hikes, including one to see Utah’s iconic Delicate Arch (which you can find on many UT license plates and it’s best viewed early or late in the day). Canyonlands NP is so large that it is divided into two areas: Island in the Sky and The Needles. The NP website has everything you need to plan your trip, including suggested itineraries based on available time. However, for Canyonlands, I suggest driving the Shafer Trail with a 4×4, down Canyonlands to Moab via Potash Road and Scenic Byway 279. The views, including Thelma and Louise’s Point, are phenomenal. If that’s not an option, then you can also do the short hike to Mesa Arch and visit Dead Horse Point State Park instead to view the area from above.
In addition to Dead Horse, the State of Utah is also creating a brand-new state park called “Utahraptor,” only 6 miles from Canyonlands Field Airport.
If you want a more intense 4×4 experience, the Sand Flats Recreation Area is a popular spot for Jeeps and ATVs. The Slick Rock Bike Trail is also popular in this area amongst bicyclists.
No matter how long you visit Moab, you won’t have enough time to do it and see it all. But, no matter what, you’ll have a great time!
If you decide to fly though, flying over the Potash Ponds (along Potash Road… yes, the one you can drive based on my earlier suggestion) makes for an interesting 3D site.
For more information about flying around Utah, visit www.airtrails.weebly.com/utah. Fly safe and fly often… explore and experience!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Yasmina Platt’s new job has her planning the future of aviation infrastructure for Joby’s electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) aircraft. She also writes an aviation travel blog called “Air Trails” (www.airtrails.weebly.com), in addition to articles on pilot destinations for Midwest Flyer Magazine. Pilots can locate articles Yasmina has written by going to www.MidwestFlyer.com and typing “Yasmina” in the search box.