"A Dead Town Returned To Life" Moab by RoscoeGregg

Moab Travel Guide: 413 reviews and 1,086 photos

A Town That Almost Died

When I visited Moab the first time in the mid 1970's It was like a ghost town. The uranium mining boom was over and it had become a real backwater with a housing over supply. I had just spent 21 days backpacking through the needles. Friends and I wandered down the streets. I have clear memories of vacant houses and empty store fronts. We walked down the middle of a deserted main street at mid-day eating ice cream. It felt almost like a post apocalyptic movie.

If I only had the foresight to buy one of those houses in 1978. I could retire on the sale and travel as much as I wished.

The Mixed Blessing Of Publicity

Sometime I think in the mid 1980's Outside magazine ran a cover highlighting Moab as "The Mountain Bike Capital of the World". It was like opening the flood gates.

Almost over night a wave of mountain bike devotes overwhelmed this little dack water town. Within a few years houses went from vacant to costing 100s of thousands of dollars.

My wife has a friend that lived with his family in the building that became Rim Cyclery and sold in in the 70's for a few thousand dollars. It sold in the late 90's (not sure of the date) for millions.

So if you have a time machine here is a great place to visit before 1980.

A Bit of the "Branson Feel" But Still Enjoyable

Even though it has come to feel a bit like Branson you can still enjoy Moab.

If you look there are a lot of locally owned business with owners that will go the extra mile to help you meet your needs.

We use it as a base for our back-country trips and it makes a nice place to resupply and for end of trip blowouts.

So look for the local and enjoy the funky desert town that almost died.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:It is in a great location.
  • Cons:Publicity has been a bit too effective.
  • In a nutshell:A great place to resupply.
  • Last visit to Moab: Nov 2011
  • Intro Updated Dec 7, 2011
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