Moab: Red-Rock Wonderland

Journey through Moab, a red-rock wonderland carved over hundreds of millions of years by the Colorado River. Desert plateaus, deep canyons and gentle arches await in this stretch of southeastern Utah.

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Golden Gate National Rec Area, California
Golden Gate National Rec Area, California

Golden Gate National Rec Area, California

Go for the majestic view of the Golden Gate Bridge, stay for the people watching. Surfers, dog walkers, fishermen and moms with jogging strollers are all drawn to the beach at former airfield Crissy Field. 960 1280

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Yosemite National Park, California

Yosemite National Park, California

Float down the Merced River when temps soar in the summer and pull off for a picnic at one of the 2 main beaches, Cathedral or Sentinel. 960 1280

  

Virgin Islands National Park, Virgin Islands

Virgin Islands National Park, Virgin Islands

Turquoise water and gleaming white beaches at a national park? That's what you'll find if you venture outside of the US. The Virgin Islands National Park is home to one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, Trunk Bay. 960 1280

Ben Whitney, Wikimedia Commons  

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

It's not easy to get to most Colorado River beaches, but consider a several-day rafting trip the highlight of your trip. Before you dive in you should know the water rarely gets above 60 degrees, but you probably won't mind in 100-degree heat. 960 1280

Al_HikesAZ, flickr  

Santa Monica Mountains National Rec Area, California

Santa Monica Mountains National Rec Area, California

Just 10 miles up the coast from Malibu, you'll find surfers, sunbathers and sea caves tucked along the rocky coasts and sandstone cliffs. 960 1280

Doug Dolde, Wikimedia Commons  

Point Reyes National Seashore, California

Point Reyes National Seashore, California

Get lost exploring Point Reyes's narrow stretches of sand and over 1,500 protected species of plants and animals. 960 1280

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Glen Canyon National Rec Area, Utah/Arizona

Glen Canyon National Rec Area, Utah/Arizona

Set among the red rocks, Lake Powell is perfect for water sports and cruising around coves in your boat. 960 1280

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Olympic National Park, Washington

Olympic National Park, Washington

If you're not blown away by the rocky sea stacks at the Point of Arches, at low tide check out the glowing tidal pools full of neon pink anemones and orange sea stars. 960 1280

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Cape Cod National Seashore, Massachusetts

Cape Cod National Seashore, Massachusetts

Filled with lighthouses, quaint towns and picturesque beaches, Cape Cod is postcard-ready -- the only thing missing is you. 960 1280

Anne Homyak, flickr  

Acadia National Park, Maine

Acadia National Park, Maine

Home to the tallest US mountain on the Atlantic, the rocky coast of Maine lures people to hike granite peaks, observe the wildlife, bike historic carriage roads or simply relax in the resort town of Bar Harbor. 960 1280

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Assateague Island, Maryland

Assateague Island, Maryland

Assateague Island conjures up images of wild horses, salt marshes and sandy beaches -- and because it's a protected national seashore that's exactly what you'll find. 960 1280

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Haleakala National Park, Maui, Hawaii

Haleakala National Park, Maui, Hawaii

Most of Hawaii's national parks protect volcanoes, but Haleakala or "House of the Sun" also features a beach of basalt stones and breathtaking waterfalls. 960 1280

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Redwood National Park, California

Redwood National Park, California

A herd of Roosevelt elk is often seen in the meadow near the Gold Bluffs Beach campground in a 10-mile stretch of northwestern California beach and sand dunes. 960 1280

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Biscayne National Park, Florida

Biscayne National Park, Florida

Biscayne is for serious water lovers since it is made up of only 5% land -- mostly coral reefs and shoreline. 960 1280

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Channel Islands National Park, California

Channel Islands National Park, California

Getting away from it all will take roughly an hour on a catamaran from the Southern California mainland, but then you'll be free to kayak, snorkel or swim to your heart’s content. 960 1280

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Cumberland Island National Seashore, Georgia

Cumberland Island National Seashore, Georgia

Cumberland Island is the largest sea island and home to the ruins of Dungeness Manor, originally constructed in 1803. 960 1280

Jon Dawson, flickr  

Pacific Northwest Trail
Pacific Northwest Trail

Pacific Northwest Trail

The Pacific Northwest Trail spans 1,200 miles -- including 3 national parks and 7 national forests. To tackle this route, which runs through Montana, Idaho and Washington, you'll have to keep a pace of 20 miles per day. That'll get you to the trail's end in about 60 days.

Best times to hike:Year-round at lower elevations, summer and fall at higher elevations.
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Andy Porter, flickr   

Appalachian Trail

Appalachian Trail

The famed Appalachian Trail spans more than 2,180 miles. A thru-hike usually takes between 5 and 7 months, cutting through 14 states between Georgia and Maine. Along the way, enjoy views of pink rhododendrons along the trail’s Tennessee-North Carolina state line and in southwest Virginia, from late spring to early summer.

Best times to hike: Spring to fall.
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John Muir Trail

John Muir Trail

Naturalist John Muir loved this area of California’s Sierra Nevada mountain range. Today, the trail named in his honor runs 211 miles, from Yosemite Valley to Mount Whitney (the highest point on America’s mainland). Most hikers start their trek at Yosemite’s Happy Isles or Tuolumne Meadows.

Best times to hike: Generally July to September.
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Steve Dunleavy, flickr  

Hayduke Trail

Hayduke Trail

Uber-hiker Andrew Skurka calls Hayduke Trail “one of the finest ways to discover the Colorado Plateau … and get away from it all.” No wonder. The 800-mile trail running through Utah and Arizona covers the area’s big national parks: Zion, Grand Canyon, Bryce, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands and Arches.

Best times to hike: Spring and fall.
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Pacific Crest Trail

Pacific Crest Trail

The massive Pacific Crest Trail covers more than 2,600 miles, from California, Oregon and Washington to British Columbia. The trail is among the “Big 3”: If you hike the Pacific Trail, as well as the Continental Divide Trail and the Appalachian Trail, you’ll get the American Long Distance Hiking Association’s Triple Crown Award.

Best times to hike: Late April to late September.
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Marshmallow, flickr  

Sierra High Route

Sierra High Route

The Sierra High Route is one of pro hiker Andrew Skurka’s favorite trails. The 195-mile trail in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains offers amazing views of meadowlands, lake basins and mountain peaks. Keep a pace of roughly 20 miles per day, and you’ll complete the trail in a little over a week. Also, keep in mind logistical considerations.

Best time to hike: Depends on skill level.
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Arizona Trail

Arizona Trail

The 800-mile Arizona Trail runs north and south through the state, and showcases some of the region's most unspoiled terrain: ridges, mountains and wilderness areas that have remained untouched since Arizona became a territory in 1863. That remoteness also means hikers must stay current on Arizona Trail conditions.

Best times to hike: Year-round at lower elevations, summer and fall at higher elevations.
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Rick Hall, flickr  

Long Trail

Long Trail

Known simply as the Long Trail, this route runs 273 miles through Vermont -- the whole length of the state. The trail also happens to be America’s first long-distance hiking trail. Construction began in 1912 and continued for nearly 20 years. Today, hikers can enjoy short day hikes and extended treks (including to Mount Mansfield, Vermont’s highest mountain).

Best times to hike: Late spring through late fall.
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dvs, flickr  

Continental Divide Trail

Continental Divide Trail

At 3,100 miles, the Continental Divide Trail is not for the faint of heart: Only about 25 people a year attempt to hike the entire trail, which runs between Mexico and Canada. Some areas can only be traveled by bushwacking, aka make-your-own-trails, and roadwalking.

Best times to hike: April to October.
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Superior Hiking Trail

Superior Hiking Trail

Everyone loves Superior: Hiker Andrew Skurka ranks the trail among his 10 favorite US hikes, Readers Digest ranks it among its top 5. The 275-mile footpath showcases scenic views -- boreal forests, rushing waterfalls and the 30-mile-long Sawtooth Mountains are among the attractions -- as well as 81 campsites for a little R&R.

Best times to hike: Late spring to early fall.
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Florida Trail

Florida Trail

Alligators are among the wild critters that hikers can encounter along the Florida Trail. The 1,400-mile trail starts at Big Cypress National Preserve (about 45 miles west of Miami) and ends in the Pensacola, FL, area. And if you see a gator along the way? Give it space, circling around its tail end so it doesn’t feel threatened.

Best times to hike: Year-round.
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B A Bowen Photography, flickr  

Colorado Trail

Colorado Trail

Hikers, horse riders and bicyclists, the Colorado Trail is calling your name. The 486-mile trail runs from the Denver area to Durango, CO, with some of Colorado’s most beautiful scenery in between: wildlife (marmots, deer, sheep and more), as well as wildflowers, forests, lakes and streams ideal for fishing. A thru-hike generally takes 4 to 6 weeks to complete -- a feat accomplished by roughly 150 people per year.

Best times to hike: Primarily July and August.
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Kimon Berlin, flickr  

Photos

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

Considered one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World, the Grand Canyon is 277 miles long and up to 18 miles long. The steep canyon -- managed by Grand Canyon National Park, the Hualapai Tribal Nation and the Havasupai Tribe -- was carved over millions of years by the Colorado River in Arizona. 960 1280

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Cathedral Rock, Sedona, Arizona

Cathedral Rock, Sedona, Arizona

One of the most-photographed sights in Arizona, Cathedral Rock is a must-see stop if you’re taking an RV road trip through America’s Southwest. We recommend visiting Red Rock Crossing at Oak Creek in Sedona for the best view of this amazing rock formation. 960 1280

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Havasu Falls

Havasu Falls

Take a dip in the natural pools at Havasu Falls, a well-renowned double waterfall in the Grand Canyon located more than a mile from Supai, AZ. After a swim, eat lunch at the picnic area located near Havasu Creek. 960 1280

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Bright Angel Trail

Bright Angel Trail

Go hiking! Bright Angel Trail is the safest trail in Grand Canyon National Park. Hikers can camp out at Indian Garden and Bright Angel Campground. This hiking trail has portable drinking water at the 2 campsites, Three-Mile Resthouse and Mile-and-a-Half Resthouse. And if hikers should ever need them, a ranger presence and emergency phones are located along the trail. 960 1280

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Grand Canyon Railroad Depot

Grand Canyon Railroad Depot

Hop on a train to explore Grand Canyon National Park’s natural beauty. Take a step back in time as authentic characters and musicians bring the Old West to life on a Grand Canyon Railway train ride. Constructed between 1909 and 1910, the Grand Canyon Depot (pictured) was designed by American architect Francis W. Wilson. It is one of 14 log depots constructed in the US. 960 1280

Grand Canyon NPS, flickr  

North Rim

North Rim

Begin your grand journey here! The North Rim, located 30 miles south of Jacob Lake on Highway 67, is the entrance to Grand Canyon National Park. We recommend guests plan ahead. Visitor lodging, food services and the road from Jacob Lake to the North Rim are open from mid-May to mid-October. 960 1280

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North Kaibab Trail

North Kaibab Trail

A parking area is located on State Route 67, about a mile north of the North Rim’s Grand Canyon Lodge, for visitors to start their hike on 3 different trails, including the Ken Patrick Trail and the Uncle Jim Trail. The North Kaibab Trail (pictured) is also accessible from the parking area. This trail begins at the head of Roaring Springs Canyon and ends at the Colorado River. 960 1280

Madeleine Holland, flickr  

Grand Canyon Camper Village

Grand Canyon Camper Village

Looking for the best spot to camp in the Grand Canyon? Head to Grand Canyon Camper Village, located a mile south of the park entrance on Highway 64 in Tusayan, AZ. This campground offers a convenient camping location for RVs, trailers and tents. The campground also has an IMAX theater, general store, restaurants, shopping and park shuttle stops all within walking distance. 960 1280

Grand Canyon NPS, flickr  

Colorado River Rafting

Colorado River Rafting

Set your course for adventure on a white-water rafting trip down the Colorado River. Thrill-seekers have their pick of various commercial to non-commercial river trips that range from a half-day to a 25-day trip. Experience the scenic wonder and adrenaline rush on this adventure of a lifetime. 960 1280

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Navajo Nation

Navajo Nation

Take a tour of the Grand Canyon from Flagstaff, AZ, through the Navajo Nation, a semi-autonomous Native American territory, covering 27,425 square miles in portions of Arizona, Utah and New Mexico. 960 1280

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Bell Rock

Bell Rock

Some Western spiritual writers with a New Age focus believe this popular tourist attraction is a portal into the Earth or a gateway to other dimensions. Add Bell Rock to your must-see list. It’s located north of the Village of Oak Creek, AZ, and south of Sedona. 960 1280

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Grand Canyon Skywalk

Grand Canyon Skywalk

Get awe-inspiring views from the Grand Canyon Skywalk, owned by the Hualapai Indian tribe. The transparent-horseshoe bridge operates like a conveyor belt, providing tourists with great vantage points to gaze at the majestic canyon from 4,770 feet above the Colorado River. 960 1280

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Rim Trail

Rim Trail

Plan a day of hiking on the Rim Trail, located on the North/South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. Hikers can start their trek from any viewpoint in Grand Canyon Village or along Hermit Road. The trail stretches 13 miles from South Kaibab Trailhead west to Hermit’s Rest. Make sure you pack water before you start this hiking trail. Water is available at the beginning and end of the trail. 960 1280

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