But just within a single day you can also drive a bit, do something pretty cool, and return in time to relax over dinner in one of Moab’s restaurants. One really interesting, fun, and sneakily educational place for a visit is Edge of the Cedars State Park Museum, just 75 miles south of Moab in the sleepy town of Blanding.
Edge of the Cedars holds the best collection of ancient Fremont Indian pottery from the local region. Fremont Indians farmed the area centuries ago. Their disappeared culture’s remnants, still scattered across the greater landscape, include pueblos (villages), pottery, arrowheads, burials, pictographs and petroglyphs (rock art), and small stone structures known as granaries built on seemingly inaccessible cliffs. Edge of the Cedars is built on one such ancient living site, the remains of which are just out back.
Included is a 1,000-year-old kiva, or ceremonial site, with a reconstructed wooden ladder for modern visitors to descend and check out this reverent ancient space.
For kids, a Junior Archeologist Program is available. Earn those badges!
For those who are a little more adventurous, the canyons and trails of the Grand Gulch Primitive Area just west of the museum beckon. Hours, days, and even weeks of backcountry exploration are possible here. The name of the museum, Edge of the Cedars, comes from the fact that it is just about at the edge of these canyons, which are dotted with Utah juniper trees, called “cedars” by recent locals.
In 2011, the museum was targeted for possible future closure due to state funding issues. Although this popular, well-supported museum will likely survive as as a private entity if necessary, visiting Edge of the Cedars sooner rather than later might be a prudent choice.
At just $5 per adult or $3 per kid (the under-fives get in for free), this incredibly rich museum is a serious bargain. Open year-round except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day, Monday-Saturday 9am-5pm.