3 Best Sights in La Sal Mountains, Moab and Southeastern Utah

Canyon Rims Recreation Area

If you have a few hours to spare (or a night if you enjoy backcountry camping), you can enjoy two remarkable canyon-country vistas. Turn off U.S. 191 at a point between Moab and Monticello (about 32 miles south of Moab and 26 miles north of Monticello), and the paved Needles Overlook Road runs 22 miles west to Needles Overlook, which takes in the southern end of Canyonlands National Park. Less than 20 miles farther on a graded road is the Anticline Overlook, with a view that encompasses the Colorado River, Dead Horse Point, and other locales to the north.

Hole N" the Rock

This old-school attraction, 12 miles south of Moab, may look a bit dangerous from the road, but it's a worthwhile stop. A short tour takes you inside the 14-room, 5,000-square-foot home that former owners Albert and Gladys Christensen carved and blasted into solid rock. Beyond the impressive cave dwelling is a petting zoo, available for a separate entrance fee. A small convenience store has drinks, snacks, and ice cream for those really warm desert days.

La Sal Mountain Loop

La Sal Mountain Loop
EastVillage Images / Shutterstock

With beautiful lakes and welcoming shade, these mountains outside Moab offer cool relief from the desert's hot summers, and striking scenery as the aspen leaves turn gold in the fall. On Old Airport Road (a left turn off U.S. 191) 8 miles south of Moab, the 62-mile loop climbs over the laccolith mountain range, affording some great vistas of the valley. The road enters La Sal Division of the Manti-La Sal National Forest just as the dominant red-rock cliffs east of Moab begin to alternate with sagebrush and juniper flats. Passing through the cool heights of La Sal Mountains, the loop winds north through red rock country to Castle Valley and an intersection with Highway 128. The road is paved, except for a couple of gravel sections, but it has steep switchbacks, and it does become snow-packed in winter. Check with the National Forest Service before embarking on winter driving on this road as some sections may be closed.

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