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10 Places to See the Best Sunsets in Moab, Utah

Wondering where to go to watch the best sunsets in Moab, Utah? Then you came to the right place!

There’s no better way to end a day of exploring around Moab then by watching the sunset in a scenic locale. This guide shares my personal go-to spots to see the best sunsets in Moab, as someone who frequently visits the area throughout the year.

From classic viewpoints to scenic hiking trails, this list has something for everyone. So grab your camera and pack a headlamp, because you’re not going to want to miss out on seeing the best sunsets in Moab, Utah!

A vibrant sunset overlooking a canyon in the winter in Canyonlands 
National Park.
A winter sunset at Green River Overlook in Canyonlands National Park.

Table of Contents

When to See the Best Sunsets in Moab, Utah

You can visit Moab, Utah, year round. However, certain times of the year are better to visit than others, especially if you want to catch a killer sunset. 

In my opinion, the best time of year to see the sunset in Moab is during the winter months (December-February) when the sun is lower in the sky. Even though the days are shorter the sun lingers over the horizon longer resulting in a slow burn with vibrant colors. Winter is also the slowest time of year in terms of crowds.

Be aware, even though Moab is in the desert, it’s the high desert. This means it gets cold in the winter (below freezing) and it typically snows from time to time. Make sure to pack warm clothes if visiting Moab during the winter.

Hiking in the snow in Dead Horse Point State Park.
A winter sunset in Dead Horse Point State Park.

Spring (March-May) and fall (September-November) are the most pleasant times of the year to visit Moab. It’s typically sunny with warm temperatures that aren’t too hot. However, because it’s such a pleasant time to visit this is also when Moab is at its busiest. Be prepared to potentially encounter crowds at popular sunset spots in Moab, especially on weekends.

I personally don’t recommend visiting Moab during the summer if you can avoid it. Summers in Moab are very hot with temperatures often exceeding 100℉ during the day. Despite the hot temperatures, desert sunsets during the summer are still very pretty, especially if the air is smoky from wildfires (bleak, I know). The evening is also one of the best times of day to hike in Moab during the summer, so if sunsets are your primary objective, summer may still be a nice time to visit.

Woman in leggings, a sports bra, and black hat twirls backwards with her hair fanned out overlooking red rock mesas in the desert.
Hiking the Sylvester Trail at golden hour in the fall.

Recreating Responsibly in Moab, Utah

Moab has seen a huge increase in visitation in recent years, which has had negative impacts on the environment in popular recreation areas. In order to help minimize these impacts, it’s important that everyone does their part to recreate responsibly.

Leave No Trace

The best way to recreate responsibly is to practice the 7 Leave No Trace principles. This means:

  1. Plan ahead & prepare. Hiking in the desert comes with unique considerations, so make sure you research hiking trails and pack appropriately. Always carry a map when hiking around Moab. It’s also important to carry a headlamp when hiking at sunset.
  2. Travel & camp on durable surfaces. Stay on trails or other durable surfaces like slickrock and washes.
  3. Dispose of waste properly. Pack out all waste and trash, including food scraps.
  4. Leave what you find. Don’t carve into, take, or stack rocks.
  5. Minimize campfire impacts. Check for fire bans and practice campfire safety. This means creating your campfire in an existing fire ring; making sure the fire is attended and doesn’t get out of control; and making sure the fire is out completely (stir the ashes until they are cool to the touch).
  6. Respect wildlife. Never feed wildlife and make sure to maintain a safe distance. Lizards are the most common animals that you will encounter. There are snakes out there, but they’re not as prevalent as you might expect them to be in the desert. 
  7. Be considerate of others. Wear headphones instead of blasting music over a bluetooth speaker. Remember uphill hikers have the right of way.

The member-driven Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics teaches people how to enjoy the outdoors responsibly. This copyrighted information has been reprinted with permission from the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics:

Man walking in the desert next to a sandstone tower and giant arch in Arches National Park.

Visiting Moab With Dogs

Trails inside of Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park do NOT allow dogs. However, trails located on BLM land, in the Manti-La Sal National Forest, and in Dead Horse Point State Park are dog-friendly. 

The BLM and U.S. Forest Service requires dogs to be “under control” at all times. This means either keeping your dog on a leash (the preferred method), or under strict vocal control. There are a few areas that explicitly require dogs to be kept on-leash, including a trail in this article, as noted. Dogs must be leashed in Dead Horse Point State Park.

If your dog doesn’t have strong recall they should always be kept on-leash. If you’re hiking with your dog off-leash, always keep a leash handy in case you encounter leashed dogs or small children. While large predators aren’t a concern around Moab, lizards and snakes are common during warmer months, which may trigger your dog’s prey drive. Only you know whether your dog can hike off-leash responsibly, but you will likely see other off-leash dogs around Moab so I want you to be prepared!

Remember to always pack out pet waste. Please do not leave poop bags on the side of the trail. This is littering and encourages others to do the same. Carry pet waste with you back to the trailhead and dispose of it properly!

A woman hikes with her dog lying in a creek on a leash in a canyon in Moab, Utah.
I highly recommend the Ruffwear Roamer leash for hiking with your dog in Moab.

Respect Archaeological Sites

Moab is the ancestral homeland of numerous Indigenous groups, including the Ute, Diné, Paiute, and Hopi. There’s ample evidence of the area’s rich Indigenous presence throughout Moab, including dwelling sites, kivas, petroglyphs, pictographs, and artifacts.

None of the best sunset spots on this list take you directly to archaeological sites, however you may encounter them on other adventures around Moab. These sites are protected by federal laws, including, but not limited to, the Archaeological Resources Protection Act and the National Historic Preservation Act. Damaging, defacing, or destroying archaeological sites is a federal crime. Please treat the land and any archaeological site you may encounter with respect.

Here are some best practices when visiting an archaeological site:

  • Never sit, touch, lean, or stand on walls of archaeological sites. 
  • Don’t touch petroglyphs and pictographs (the oils from your fingers can break them down faster). 
  • Leave all artifacts where you find them. 
  • Don’t allow pets or small children in archaeological sites. 
  • Don’t share locations or coordinates of archaeological sites online.

Don’t Bust the Crust!

A lot of the land around Moab is covered in biological soil crust, otherwise known as cryptobiotic soil. Cryptobiotic soil plays a critical role in the desert ecosystem and is extremely delicate. It can take years to decades to recover from damage, so it’s important to stay on developed trails, or travel over durable surfaces like dry washes or slickrock, to avoid damaging the cryptobiotic soil.

Cryptobiotic soil.

Best Sunset Spots in Moab, Utah

This list of places to see the best sunsets in Moab includes a mix of scenic overlooks and hiking trails. There’s something for everyone here, whether you’re looking for iconic Moab sunset views or you want to get off-the-beaten-path and away from the crowds.

Keep in mind that not every sunset in Moab is going to be a stunner. As you go through this list you’ll notice the sunset is more vibrant and colorful in some photos than others. I’ve visited Moab dozens of times in varying weather conditions throughout the year, and sunset really is hit or miss. But when it hits, it hits hard!

1. Green River Overlook (Canyonlands National Park)

You really can’t go wrong when it comes to choosing a sunset spot in Canyonlands National Park, but the Green River Overlook is arguably the best place to watch the sunset in Moab. Located in the Island of the Sky district of Canyonlands, the Green River Overlook faces west towards Hanksville and the Henry Mountains, providing a perfect view of the setting sun.

The overlook is a short walk from the parking lot, so there’s no hiking required for epic sunset views. While this can be a popular place to watch the sunset, there’s space to spread out and take in different views of the expansive canyons below. The Island in the Sky campground is also located at the Green River Overlook, so you can spend the night and wake up to watch the sunrise in the morning.

No hiking necessary!

2. The Windows & Turret Arch (Arches National Park)

For a short and easy walk with incredible sunset views, head to the Windows and Turret Arch in Arches National Park. The trails here are wide and well-maintained, making it a great option for people of all ages. For the best views at sunset hike through the first Window to the primitive trail around the back (follow the signs or download a map for help navigating).

You can also head across the parking lot to Double Arch for another photogenic arch in Arches National Park. While you won’t necessarily get a good view of the sunset here, you may luck out with cotton candy pink skies if the clouds are just right.

Minimal walking required!

Sunset at the Windows overlooking Turret Arch in Arches National Park at sunset in Moab.
Photo shared with permission by Mallory Wilson. (@hello_mallory)

3. Delicate Arch (Arches National Park)

Delicate Arch is one of the most iconic hikes in Southern Utah and a popular location to watch the sunset in Arches National Park. The trail is very heavily trafficked, so it’s easy to navigate. There is some decent elevation gain along the trail, which can catch people off guard if you’re not accustomed to hiking. Because this is such a popular hike, it’s extra important to stay on the trail and practice Leave No Trace.

Once you arrive at Delicate Arch you’ll find plenty of room to spread out and take in the view. While Delicate Arch faces to the southeast, sunset is still a great time to hike to it because the sun illuminates the arch turning it a shade of burning red. Because a good chunk of the trail is along slickrock, it’s important to wear hiking shoes with good traction when hiking to Delicate Arch.

Trail Information For Delicate Arch

Trailhead Location: Google maps

Trailhead Parking Difficulty: Difficult. This is by far the most popular hike in Arches National Park. Be sure to arrive early (ideally at sunrise) for the best likelihood of finding a spot.

Distance: 3.2 miles (out-and-back)

Elevation Gain: 630 ft.

Difficulty: Easy-moderate (4-5/10)

Estimated Hike Time: 1 ½-2 hours 

Best Time of Year to Hike: Fall, winter, and spring.

AllTrails Link

Woman walks towards Delicate Arch being illuminated by the sunset with the La Sal mountains in the background.

4. Murphy Point Trail (Canyonlands National Park)

If you’re looking for a short sunset hike in the Island in the Sky district of Canyonlands National Park, then head to the Murphy Point Trail. This easy trail is great for families and ends at a west-facing overlook with breathtaking views of Utah’s canyon country, making it a perfect sunset hike.

Most people visiting the Island in the Sky district of Canyonlands head to scenic overlooks at sunset, so hiking the Murphy Point Trail is a great way to find some solitude. It also makes a great solo hike, which is what I did on my first trip to Moab back in 2017.

Trail Information For Murphy Point Trail

Trailhead Location: Google maps

Trailhead Parking Difficulty: Easy. The trail isn’t very heavily trafficked and there are a good number of parking spots at the trailhead.

Distance: 3.5 miles out-and-back

Elevation Gain: 180 ft.

Difficulty: Easy (2-3/10)

Estimated Hike Time: 90 minutes

Best Time of Year to Hike: Fall, winter, and spring.

AllTrails Link

5. Buck Canyon Overlook (Canyonlands National Park)

Canyonlands National Park has a lot of beautiful overlooks to choose from to watch the sunset. Buck Canyon Overlook is a great option if you’re looking to get away from the crowds without having to hike. It’s not as popular as other overlooks in the Island in the Sky district, like Green River Overlook, so you may luck out and have Buck Canyon Overlook to yourself.

While the Buck Canyon Overlook faces east, you can still catch colorful skies and alpenglow on the La Sal Mountains at sunset. I recommend visiting during a full moon, ideally in the winter. Watching the moonrise over the La Sals will take your breath away!

No hiking necessary!

Full moon rising over the La Sal mountains with the red rock canyons of Moab, Utah, in the foregound.

6. Dead Horse Point State Park

Dead Horse Point State Park is located right outside of the Island in the Sky district of Canyonlands National Park. The park’s sweeping views of the La Sal Mountains and Colorado River make it one of the best places to watch the sunset in Moab. You can take in the sunset from one of the many overlook areas in the park, or hike the Dead Horse Point Rim Loop to see it from a number of vantage points.

The Dead Horse Point Rim Loop is one of the best dog-friendly hikes in Moab and provides a number of scenic viewpoints. The entire loop is roughly 6 miles, but there multiple trailheads along the trail so you can customize your hike and make it shorter if you’d like.

Trail Information For Dead Horse Point Rim Loop

Trailhead Location: Google maps

There are bathrooms at the trailhead and along the trail.

Trailhead Parking Difficulty: Easy. You can begin the loop from a number of different parking lots. I recommend starting near the Visitor’s Center or the parking lot at the end of the road.

Distance: 3.5-6 mile loop

Elevation Gain: 375-500 ft.

Difficulty: Moderate (4-5/10)

Estimated Hike Time: 1 ½-3 hours

Best Time of Year to Hike: Year-round

AllTrails Link

Woman in winter hiking attire stands on a rock overlooking the Colorado River at. the bottom of a canyon at sunset in Moab, Utah.

7. The Needles (Canyonlands National Park)

Most visitors to Canyonlands National Park head to the Island in the Sky district, but if you’re looking to get off-the-beaten-path head to the Needles. Getting to the Needles takes about an hour and a half from Moab, so be prepared for the drive. Once you’re in the Needles, you’ll find yourself immersed in the canyons and rock formations that the Island in the Sky district overlooks.

Many of the best hikes in the Needles are long, so I recommend getting a mid-day start and timing your hike to end around sunset. Most hikers begin at the Chesler Park Trailhead, which requires a high-clearance vehicle to access. If you’re not up for a hike, the drive from the Needles District through Indian Creek is also a great place to take in the sunset as you make your way back to Moab.

You can hike as much or as little as you’d like!

Woman stands on a rock with glowing rocks in the distance at sunset.

8. Devils Garden Loop (Arches National Park)

If you’re looking for a longer hike to do in the afternoon before sunset, then check out the Devils Garden Loop. Hiking the entire trail will take you past 7 unique arches, but if you’re short on time or aren’t up for a challenging hike, the first 3 arches are easily accessible. This is my favorite hike in Arches National Park, so I think it’s worth hiking the entire trail if you have the time and are comfortable hiking in the desert.

There are a variety of places where you can stop to take in the sunset along the Devils Garden Loop. I recommend heading to Partition Arch, which faces east and provides a sweeping view of the surrounding landscape (it’s also a great spot to watch the sunrise). Since this is a longer trail, it’s very important to carry a headlamp to help navigate once it gets dark.

Trail Information For Devils Garden Loop Trail

Trailhead Location: Google maps

There are pit toilets at the trailhead.

Trailhead Parking Difficulty: Easy-moderate. There’s a large parking lot and people tend to regularly come and go.

Distance: 8 miles for the full loop. Landscape Arch is 2 miles out-and-back.

Elevation Gain: 1050 ft. for the full loop. 250 to Landscape Arch.

Difficulty: Difficult (7.5-8/10) for the full loop. Easy (2.5-3.5/10) for Landscape Arch.

Estimated Hike Time: 3 ½-4 ½ hours for the full loop. Less than an hour for Landscape Arch.

Best Time of Year to Hike: Fall, winter, and spring.

AllTrails Link

9. Sylvester Trail (Moab BLM Land)

Located near Castle Valley, the Sylvester Trail is a fun hike near Moab that provides stunning red rock views. This dog-friendly trail undulates up and over washes as it climbs to the base of Castleton Tower. It’s a great hike to do shortly before sunset because the red rock walls and rock formations in the valley light up and turn vibrant shades of orange.

In my opinion, the Sylvester Trail is one of the most scenic and underrated hikes in Moab. Unlike other hikes in the area that have specific destinations (like an arch), the journey is the destination on the Sylvester Trail. You’re treated to breathtaking desert views throughout the entire hike. If you’re hiking the Sylvester Trail at sunset make sure you pack a headlamp for your hike back to the trailhead.

Trail Information For Sylvester Trail

Trailhead Location: Google maps

There is no bathroom at the trailhead.

Trailhead Parking Difficulty: Difficult. Parking is very limited at the trailhead, which serves multiple trails. This leads to people parking along the road, however space is already very limited and this is generally not recommended.

Distance: 7 miles out-and-back

Elevation Gain: 975 ft.

Difficulty: Moderate (6/10)

Estimated Hike Time: 2 ½-3 hours

Best Time of Year to Hike: Fall, winter, and spring.

AllTrails Link

Black dog in front of a red rock mesa at sunset in Moab.

10. La Sal Mountain Loop Scenic Drive (Manti-La Sal National Forest)

If you’re looking for a scenic drive in Moab to watch the sunset, then head up to the mountains and drive the La Sal Mountain Loop Scenic Drive. To complete the loop, take Highway 128 (aka River Road) out of Moab and head towards Castle Valley. From there, turn right onto La Sal Loop Rd. and start climbing into the Manti-La Sal National Forest. The drive takes you on a 60 mile scenic loop, known as the La Sal Loop Scenic Drive, over to Ken’s Lake.

You’ll have west-facing views throughout your drive, which makes it the perfect leisurely activity to see the best sunsets in Moab. Unlike many of the backroads around Moab, the La Sal Mountain Loop Scenic Drive is suitable for passenger cars. However, RVs and trailers will not be able to complete the full loop due to tight turns. Make sure to fill your gas tank or charge your vehicle before leaving town and plan to be out for a few hours.

No hiking required!

Looking out over Castle Valley from the La Sals.

Where to Stay in Moab, Utah

Moab has a variety of lodging options to choose from. From affordable motels and camping, to rustic resorts and luxury accommodations, there’s something for every type of traveler in Moab.

Search for hotels in Moab, Utah:

Map of the Best Places to See the Sunset in Moab, Utah:

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