What is there to do in Moab for free?
Believe it or not, there are tons of free things to do in Moab, Utah. You can see petroglyphs, dinosaur footprints, dinosaur bones, the legendary Corona Arch and more of the Moab activities listed below without paying a dime.
Here are the 8 most underrated, best free things to do in Moab, Utah, year-round.
1. Hike To The Legendary Corona & Bowtie Arches
Corona Arch is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful natural arch rock formations in the entire United States. Although Delicate Arch inside Arches National Park may be the most famous Moab arch, Corona arch comes in as a close second.
Unlike Delicate Arch, Corona Arch is located outside the national parks on BLM land, which means the arch is completely free to visit year-round.
(Photographers, this also means you can fly your recreational drone here!)
In addition, neighbor to Corona Arch is the unique Bowtie Arch. As you could imagine, Bowtie Arch gets its name from its one-of-a-kind bow-tie shape.
Although Corona Arch is much more impressive than Bowtie Arch, the uniqueness and proximity of Bowtie Arch to Corona Arch is worth noting, nonetheless.
You can expect a moderate round-trip, out-and-back hike under 2.5 miles to get to both Corona and Bowtie Arches. The trail is marked; however, the painted footprint markings are wearing. You have to scramble and hunt for the right direction sometimes, so it is advisable to download or screenshot the AllTrails trail map for Corona and Bowtie Arches, just in case.
Pro tip: go just before sunrise for a chance to have the arches to yourself!
You will not want to miss Corona and Bowtie Arches during your time in the American Southwest. They are hands-down the two best free things to do in Moab, Utah.
2. Discover Ancient Petroglyphs For Free On Potash Road
Furthermore, another one of the best free things to do in Moab is to search for petroglyphs.
Where Are The Petroglyphs In Moab, Utah?
Although petroglyphs can be found all over Moab (such as inside Arches National Park near the Delicate Arch trailhead), the short petroglyph hike on Potash Road (highway UT 279) is arguably the most fun.
(Potash Road is also home to dinosaur footprints and free rock climbing, which I’ll cover next.)
The quick hike’s trailhead to the ancient petroglyphs is located on Potash Road at Poison Spider Trail. At the trailhead parking lot and vault toilets, you will see a BLM bulletin board with information regarding the hike, the petroglyphs and the other free things to see at this Potash Road site.
Expect the hike to take roughly 30 minutes or less, including the below hunt for dinosaur footprints.
3. Hunt For Fossilized Dinosaur Tracks On Potash Road (Free Things To Do In Moab)
On the same hike as the Potash Road petroglyphs, you can search for real dinosaur footprints that have been fossilized into the desert rock.
Where Are The Dinosaur Footprints In Moab?
Hint: The dinosaur footprints in Moab are on a giant rock slab about halfway up to the Potash Road petroglyphs.
It may take you a minute to find the dinosaur tracks, but it is very worth the hunt. Look for BLM signs on the hike to direct you and show you exactly where the dinosaur tracks are.
Are The Dinosaur Tracks In Utah Real?
Yes! The most common dinosaur tracks in Utah are tracks of theropod dinosaurs from the Early Jurassic period.
4. Rock Climb On Potash Road
As you can see, Potash Road is a gold mine of free things to do in Moab, Utah.
If you’re up for some epic outdoor adventure, Potash Road offers free vertical roadside rock climbing along the Colorado River — in addition to the Corona/Bowtie Arch trailhead, petroglyphs and dinosaur tracks.
You can find the car pullouts to climb near Wall Street Climbing Area and School Room Slabs Climbing Wall. These climbing areas are next to each other and are hard to miss while driving down Potash Road (highway UT 279).
You will pass the rock climbing area on your way to all of the above locations. All you have to do is pull off, jump out of your car, prep your gear and climb!
5. Roam Alongside Dinosaur Bones On The Mill Canyon Dinosaur Trail (Free Things To Do In Moab)
Similar to hunting for dinosaur footprints and petroglyphs on Potash Road, you can step back in time to the days when dinosaurs roamed the Moab desert for free on the Mill Canyon Dinosaur Trail.
Where Are The Dinosaur Fossils In Moab?
Just 15 miles north of Moab, you can witness remnants of Jurassic dinosaurs like the allosaurus, stegosaurus, camarasaurus and camptosaurus first-hand.
Entrance to the Mill Canyon Dinosaur Trail is free, but it is also unfenced and unguarded. Know that it is illegal to “remove, deface, or destroy improvements, rocks, and fossils,” and please follow leave no trace principles (Utah.com, 2022).
To get to Mill Canyon dinosuar tracks, “…Drive 15 miles north of Moab on U.S. 191, then turn left at an intersection just north of highway mile marker 141. Cross the railroad tracks and continue 2 miles on a bladed dirt road to the Dinosaur Trailhead” (Utah.com, 2022).
For more information about the location, directions and dinosaur types, visit Utah Travel Industry’s Mill Canyon Dinosaur Tracks article here.
6. Explore The Moab Film Museum (Free Things To Do In Moab)
Moab, Utah, has been an iconic desert location for filming movies and commercials alike. Popular movies, such as “Rio Grande” and “Geronimo,” as well as famous actors, such as John Wayne and Richard Boone, have all been filmed in Moab.
The Moab Museum of Film and Western Heritage is a quirky quick-stop museum, documenting all of the Western films shot in Moab.
Entrance to the Moab film museum is free and located at Red Cliffs Lodge on Red Cliffs Ranch.
7. Camp Under The Desert Stars In Moab For Free
Experiencing Moab, Utah, while sleeping under the stars does not have to cost a pretty penny.
In fact, there are tons of well-reviewed free dispersed campsites in and around Moab. Some are just down the street from the Arches and Canyonlands National Parks.
To find fantastic, free, first-come-first campsites in Moab, check Free Roam and The Dyrt, and type “Moab” in the search bars. It’s as simple as that.
8. Experience Moab National Parks On The Free Entrance Days
While Moab’s national parks — Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park — typically have an entrance fee of at least $30, the National Park Service does offer several free national park entrance days every year. These days often include Veterans Day and the first day of National Park Week, plus others.
Check the National Park Service’s free entrance day webpage for the latest free-day updates.
More Things To Do In And Around Moab, Utah
Half Day In Canyonlands National Park: How To See Everything In A Few Hours
What People Don’t Tell You About Visiting Utah’s Bonneville Salt Flats
Pink Lake Utah: Directions, Address & What To Know
12 Things To Do In Zion National Park Besides Hiking
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