Free is good. We like free. Especially when times are tight, gas prices are high, but we still want to have fun, free can mean a lot. Free things to do in Moab? You betcha. Here are some of our favorite activities to do in and around Moab that are free, will be free, or are so darn cheap they might as well be free.
Visit your National Parks
Canyonlands National Park and Arches National Park, the two parks that rub shoulders with Moab are close enough to free as it is. With current entrance fees listed as $10 per passenger car and $5 per individual if you walk, motorcycle, or bicycle in, and each fee good for seven whole days, the whole family can have all the amenities of each park at their disposal for pennies. Hiking, mountain biking, four-wheel driving on back dirt roads, and scenic tours on paved roads are yours. Want even better? Show up on September 24, which is Public Lands Day as well as Worldwide Day of Play, and get free entrance. That’s right, as in zippo, nada, nothing, no charge, come on in and have a blast.
Take a drive
Moab has several amazing scenic drives that are mostly accessible to two-wheel drive vehicles. Head down the Potash/Colorado Scenic Byway 279 and meander alongside the Colorado River’s path through sinuous sandstone canyons, natural arches, and views that will fill up your memory card. It’s 34 miles to where the pavement ends at Jug Handle Arch. Scenic Byway 128 also winds along the Colorado in the opposite direction. This 44-mile road offers side trips such as a stop to hike Negro Bill Canyon and excellent views of the Fisher Towers framed against the La Sal Mountains. Perhaps the most not-be-missed drive is the 35-mile Dead Horse Point Mesa Scenic Byway. This iconic drive leads to one of the most photographed views in the world overlooking Canyonlands National Park.
Check out Dinosaur Tracks, Ancient Rock Art, and Film Locations
Dinosaurs seemed to really like Utah. They’ve left their tracks all over the place, and Moab is home to some fine examples. Check out the Potash Road Dinosaur Tracks, Mill Canyon/Copper Ridge Dinosaur Tracks, and even the Museum of Moab (which only has a $5 entrance fee! Better yet, kids under 17 are free!). The Museum sports an excellent dinosaur exhibit that really brings them to life. So to speak.
For ancient Rock Art panels, Moab is a great place to explore at your leisure. The Potash Road Petroglyphs are pretty cool, as is the Birthing Rock Site and the Kane Creek Site, among many others. The importance of original cultures that lived in the area is underscored by the sometimes haunting, sometimes humorous art they left behind that lives on as a legacy today.
Giddyap! Westerns were filmed all around Moab during the film genre’s heyday, and self-guiding tours are available. Start off at the Film Museum at Red Cliffs Ranch (free to the public!) to get a good sense of the cinematic history of the area before you set off with movie map in hand.