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Your Guide to Visiting Moab in March

By Codi Coghlan   •   February 14, 2024

Your Guide to Visiting Moab in March

Scenic View - La Sal Mountains - Mild to Wild Rafting

Ever found yourself dodging selfie sticks or wrestling with reservations? Or feeling more restricted than a penguin in a tuxedo during peak tourist season? Then visiting Moab in March could be your welcome respite. 

Visiting Moab in March can allow you to score on the area’s best campsites, visit national parks without hindrance, and get a jump on spring adventures. Check out what early spring brings to this red rock wonderland! 

The Weather in Moab in March

Arches National Park Landscape - Mild to Wild Rafting

One might forecast March in Moab as bring-a-jacket-you-might-not-use weather. But during the first half of the month, daytime temperatures typically range from the high 40s to mid 50s. Later in the month, sunny days may start to climb around 60 degrees. 

As for the elements, expect some wind and precipitation. Rain averages 0.5 inches for the month, and snow might still cover some of the red earth. As one might expect, snow in this desert is a beautiful contrast, especially in the surrounding mesas and mountains. 

So pack the wintery, water-resistant clothes and footwear! 

Some details to keep you extra cozy while you’re out on the slick rock: 

  • Breathable socks to wear in your boots 
  • Garments made from moisture-wicking materials
  • A water-resistant base layer
  • A reliable jacket with a waterproof shell 

Is it Warm Enough to Camp in Moab in March?

The Maze camping in Canyonlands - Moab, Utah - Mild to Wild
Credit: Sinuhe Xavier | Camping in the Maze District

For those willing to brave chillier nights, prepare for nighttime lows between 20 and 30 degrees. Be sure to bring your cold-weather sleeping bag, and ignite a fire where permitted!

What will be hot is your choices for Moab’s best campgrounds! You’ll have the luxury of choosing almost any campsite—established or dispersed!  Check out a guide to Moab’s nearby campgrounds here, and campgrounds in Arches and Canyonlands

Is it Busy?

Slick Rock Mountain Bike Trail - Moab UT - Mild to Wild Rafting

Spring and fall in Moab get extremely busy, considering Moab is home to Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. March, however, offers a window of time when the land is still thawing and crowds have yet to amass to humongous proportions.

What’s more, spring festivals begin in March when the temperatures make for cool racing weather. The Skinny Tire Festival, a 4-day bike tour aimed at fundraising for cancer research, kicks off. Next up is the Behind the Rocks Ultra 100-mile and 50K endurance races, classics for cardio enthusiasts.

Is March a Good Time to Visit Arches and Canyonlands National Parks?

The short answer is yes. March is a good time of year for visiting Arches and Canyonlands due to cool daytime temperatures, making for comfortable hiking weather before the summer heat hits, and hits hard. 

Arches National Park in March

Delicate Arch in Arches National Park - Moab Utah - Mild to Wild Rafting & Jeep Tours

Arches National Park, nestled just 5 miles from downtown Moab, is stunning year round with its extraterrestrial-like rock formations. March is also before the timed entry system begins, and the cool weather allows for comfortable day hikes to the various viewpoints. It costs $30 per vehicle to enter. 

*A pro tip for seniors: Investing in the $80 lifetime National Park Pass is awesome. This pass not only grants a lifetime of access to National Parks, but also provides the added perk of half-priced camping at federal campgrounds—a deal worth every penny.

Catch the Sunrise in Arches

Consider departing for the park at dawn to give you the most solitude possible. Driving through Arches at dawn, additionally, is full of eye candy. The changing hues of the rocks in the morning unveil different perspectives of the landscape. 

Even without stepping out of your car, the park offers spectacular views, making it an ideal option for those who want to enjoy the warmth of the car heater, or have mobility restrictions. By journeying early in the morning, you not only witness the mesmerizing transformation of colors, but also have the added benefit of encountering fewer cars in front of you for unobstructed views. Check out this video by Running Mild Across America to see what it’s like to be in Arches at dawn during March. 

For those seeking a more immersive experience, the hike up to Delicate Arch is a must. While labeled strenuous by the park guide due to its steepness, the well-maintained trail ensures a manageable ascent. Whether you opt for the full loop or a simpler out-and-back to the arch, the early morning glow through the arch enhances the beauty of this popular spot, where fellow sunrisers may join you for the spectacle.

Things to do in Moab UT-Arches-Mild to Wild

The other benefit of hiking to Delicate Arch is maximizing your exploration, since the second parking area of Delicate Arch is also the start of the hike to Double Arch. Complete two rewarding hikes without moving your car!

Before concluding your visit, don’t miss Balanced Rock. The trail circling this natural wonder lets you capture a perfect shot from its sunlit side. Add some variation with a balanced rock photo along with your captures of the many arches. 

Other hikes worth checking out outside of Arches National Park are Grandstaff Canyon, Corona Arch, and the nearby Fisher Towers trails. Read up on more trails here

Canyonlands National Park in March

Things to do in Moab UT-Canyonland-Mild to Wild

Canyonlands, spanning about 300,000 acres, is the lesser visited of Moab’s two national parks, offering beauty beyond belief. Prepare for snow covered sandstone and solitude in March! 

The park also hosts a famed Half Marathon and 5-Mile in March, drawing over 4,000 participants to raise money for multiple local charities. 

The drive from downtown Moab to the Island in the Sky District of Canyonlands is about 40 minutes and very scenic. Be sure to stop at the Visitor Center to see the awesome exhibits, and to fill up on water. 

A must-visit spot is Mesa Arch, which is a half-mile walk from the Visitor Center. If you arrive early, you can find a parking spot easily and get shots in front of the arch without the usual crowds. It’s a great place to be right around sunrise. 

Your next stop could be a short, easy walk to Green River Overlook. The view unveils a snake-like river, canyons and plateaus, as well as a dry camping site in the high desert (elevation of 6,000 feet). 

What is Rafting Like in March?

Laughter Cataract Canyon - Moab - Mild to Wild

Eager to get on the Colorado River? Rafting trips in Castle Valley start in March! And while the water temperatures are still chilly, usually in the 40° F range, the views you’ll get from this calm section of the Colorado River are absolutely unbeatable. 

Castle Valley is a float trip with smaller rapids, minimizing the likelihood of unplanned exits from the raft. Plus, rentable wetsuits and neoprene booties add extra warmth, along with complementary splash jackets. To make the most of your river adventure in spring, here’s a comprehensive list of what you’ll want to wear. Get ready to rock and row! 

Jeeping

Jeep Gladiator on Desert Terain with gloomy cloudy sky - Mild to Wild

Prefer staying grounded? No worries, as Moab’s backcountry unfolds wonders on wheels, catering to off-roading enthusiasts. A guided 4×4 Jeep tour stands out as a premier way to see Moab in early spring.

In March, the presence of snow and ice can lend a slippery quality to the slickrock terrain. This is where the expertise of a guide becomes invaluable, ensuring the selection of viable trails. Closer to late March, spring emerges as the optimal time for Jeeping, with milder desert temperatures enhancing the experience.

Some popular trails ranging from mild to wild include:

  • Onion Creek, an 11.4-mile route meandering through the flat, sagebrush pastures and red cliffs of Fisher Valley
  • Gemini Bridges—assorted trails covering 27.2 miles, often rugged and rutted from the area’s numerous stream beds 
  • Chicken Corners, from Kane Creek’s anticline to Hurrah Pass above the Colorado River 

Next Steps

Now that you’re as Moab-savvy as a desert-dwelling lizard during the vernal equinox, it’s time to get out there! Instead of channeling your inner Lloyd Christmas and Harry Dunne and hoping for the best, do yourself a favor and lock in those hotel and tour reservations ahead of time. Trust us, even lizards love a plan.

Eastern Collared Lizard running - Mild to Wild
Credit: Joe MacDonald

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