Visiting Moab, UT in Summer? Here’s What You Need to Know
Summer means vacation, and most of us want to use our vacation time to enjoy the world’s beautiful places – and Moab, Utah, is certainly on that list! June, July and August are definitely hot in this desert town, but there are still plenty of ways to enjoy yourself if you’re visiting Moab in the summer. Here’s everything you need to know to ensure your trip is safe, organized, and jam-packed with the best outdoor fun!
The Best Time to Visit Moab Utah
We’re going to start this off by acknowledging the obvious: summer in Moab is *hot*. Moab is a high desert at about 4,000 feet elevation, which means summer brings dry weather with extreme heat. Most folks would agree that, if outdoor activities are your goal (and let’s be real – that’s why most people are going to Moab!), spring or fall is the best time to visit Moab, Utah. Milder temperatures and fewer crowds can make for a wonderful vacation to Moab in May or September, the shoulder seasons. The months in between – June, July, and August – are scorchers. But fear not! There are still plenty of ways to enjoy this beautiful destination in the summer months.
Here at TripOutside, we take the perspective that the “best” time to visit Moab is when you have the time to visit! Summer is when a lot of people, especially families with school-aged children, have time to take a vacation. So if you’re going to do your summer vacations in Moab, we have all the outfitters and information you need to make it memorable and fun!
Moab Summer Temperatures
Weather in Moab in summer is consistently sunny and clear, with only 1-3 days of rain each month. Summer temperatures in Moab, Utah start to soar in June, when the average daily high jumps to 95 degrees. There is still some relief to be found in the evening, though, when temperatures drop to an average low of about 58 degrees.
So, how hot is Moab in July? The average high is 100 degrees, with average lows of 65 degrees at night. These are the peak high temperatures of summer in Moab.
In August, things dip a tiny bit, with an average high of 97 degrees and an average low of 64 degrees. But the real heat relief doesn’t arrive until September, when daily highs drop to about 88.
Preparing for Moab Summer Weather
Summer in Moab is all about planning. Like any trip, planning well maximizes your fun, but that is especially true when you are managing super hot weather. Here are some tips for making the most of Moab, Utah in the summer:
- Stay super hydrated. Always bring a water bottle. For hot summer activities, it’s recommended to bring a gallon of water per person per day.
- Sunscreen is not optional. The UV index in Moab reaches “very high” on most summer days. Bring extra sunscreen so you can reapply, and try to also wear UPF-protected clothing and a sunhat.
- Leave the pups at home. Dogs typically don’t do well in super arid desert heat. Leave the furry friends at home if you’re planning a summer vacation in Moab.
- Stick close to the water. Watersport rentals like kayaks, SUPS, and rafting are an obvious choice for hot days, because you always have the option to take a cooling swim.
- Plan activities for early morning and sunset. These times will obviously be cooler, and they also tend to be beautiful with plenty of slanting light that casts shadows on the canyon walls. Especially if you will be hiking or biking, early morning and evening are the time to go out.
- Seek shade! Canyoneering is one of the best things to do in Moab, Utah in summer because it takes you deep down into a dark, shaded canyon, often with water at the bottom. These will be the coolest places around, even in the middle of the day.
What to Do in Moab in Summer
Luckily, there are plenty of things to do in Moab in summer! Outfitters recognize that this is a popular time for people to visit, despite the heat, so they are all open and operating during the summer months. There is no shortage of Moab summer activities, from biking to canyoneering to watersports.
Read on for what to do in Moab in June, July, and August.
Mountain Biking in Moab
Yes, you can definitely go biking in summer near Moab, and have a lot of fun doing it – especially with such an awesome selection of high-quality bike outfitters and guides. There are trails for beginners to advanced mountain bikers, and even options for e-bikes and cruisers if you just want to take a pedal-powered ride around town. Remember to schedule your adventure for the cooler parts of the day – early morning and late evening – and bring plenty of water and sun protection!
There is no shortage of choices for where to mountain bike in Moab, all of which are open in the summer. Some of the most popular trail systems in the area include Klondike Bluffs, Navajo Rocks Loop, and Bar M (Brand) trails. Need a rental bike, map or just some general guidance? Find the best local Moab outfitters to get you kitted out with the perfect bike and tons of great tips and tricks.
Bighorn Mountain Biking rents mountain bikes right at the trailhead of two of the most popular beginner/intermediate trailheads in Moab: Bar M Trailhead and Dead Horse State Park. They rent hardtail and full-suspension mountain bikes at both locations and right next to a wealth of trail options. This allows you to avoid waiting in bike shop lines closer to town and dealing with the hassle of transporting bikes to/from the trailhead.
Canyoneering in Moab
Canyoneering is one of the absolute best summer activities in Moab, because it gets you down low, dark, and deep, often with a water feature to cool off in!
Moab has some fantastic, little known slot canyons where you can rock scramble, hike, and rappel. Some of the most popular canyoneering destinations in Moab include Medieval Chamber, Entrajo Canyon, Zigzag Canyon, Granary Canyon, Pleiades Canyon, Irish Canyons, Poison Springs Canyon and Cow Swim Canyon. Each of these offers a slightly different experience with different challenges and geographical features, so we recommend working with your outfitter to choose the best summer canyoneering trip in Moab for you and your group.
Whether you are a seasoned expert or new to canyoneering, many prefer to take a guided tour from the local experts to learn the basics or gain insider’s knowledge. We recommend a canyoneering trip with Desert Highlights, which means you don’t have to worry about obtaining a permit, bringing gear, or figuring out where to go. They’ll provide everything you need for an amazing summer day in the canyon, from properly-fitted harnesses and helmets to detailed maps, training, and guidance. Outfitters cannot guide trips inside Arches or Canyonlands National Park, but there are so many spectacular canyons and cliffs outside of Park boundaries that they really don’t need to!
Paddling in Moab
One of the best ways to beat the heat during summer in Moab is by jumping in the water! Some of the best Moab summer activities are rafting and paddling. The Colorado River runs right through town, along with a few tributaries scattered about, and it offers plenty of water fun for the summer months.
Rafting the Colorado or Green Rivers in Moab is a very popular summer activity, so book your trip early. Both rivers offer plenty of sections of exciting rapids to raft, as well as some flat water sections to float for those who want to take it easy.
Renting your own SUP (stand up paddleboard) or kayak is another summer activity in Moab that allows you to cool off and experience the Colorado River. You can rent gear from a local outfitter, and they will help you choose the best section of the river for scenery, views and flatwater. Guided kayak and SUP trips take the guesswork out, and allow you to enjoy the best spots without having to plan anything yourself.
Make the Most of Your Summer in Moab, Utah
With a good attitude and the right planning, you can make summer the best time to visit Moab, Utah. There are plenty of things to do in Moab in July and August, despite the heat. Choose the right Moab summer activities and do them at the right time and with the right preparation, and you’re sure to enjoy this amazing western destination!
Post contributed by Emma Castleberry. Emma is a writer and road warrior, living out of her cozy Honda Element (the Brave Little Toaster) as she travels the US in search of the perfect backpacking loop, the most elusive wildlife sightings, and as much glorious outdoor adventure as she can handle. A hiker and backpacker foremost, she also loves kayaking, SUP, and the occasional mountain biking adventure. In the near future, you’re likely to find her abroad, backpacking in France or backpacking in the Dolomites of Italy. See more of her work and drop her a line at emmacastleberry.com.