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If you love travel trivia, you will enjoy this list of fun facts about the Moab, Utah area.
When we visited Moab, Dead Horse Point State Park, Canyonlands National Park, and Arches National Park, we learned so many interesting facts.
If you are planning a trip to Moab, you will want to read our articles:
- 18 Things to do in Moab with Kids (11 are Free)
- Helpful Tips for Visiting Arches National Park with Kids
- The Best Way to See Arches National Park in One Day
- Explore Canyonlands National Park with Kids (hiking, camping, arches, 4X4 roads)
1. Moab is in the Bible
The name Moab is a Biblical name for a place on the other side of the Jordan, just short of the Dead Sea. Quite possibly, 1880’s Morman settlers referred to the town as Moab for the physical similarity to the Biblical Moab.
Of the numerous mentions in the Bible, Numbers 22:1 reads “Then the children of Israel, journeying on, put up their tents in the lowlands of Moab, on the side of Jordan Jericho.”
In fact, Moab is in 137 verses in the Bible. If you are interested Moab-Utah lists all the verses that Moab appears in the Bible.
The name if the state of Utah comes from a name for the Utes, but it is not clear whether the name is from Spanish, Anglicized or Mormanized word or a Ute word. The Desert News wrote a myth-busting summary of the origins of the name. You can read more about the Ute people in this book written by Fred A Conetah, a Ute born in Fort Duchesne. Another account of the history of the area, is “Utes, The Mountain People” by Jan Pettit.
2. The Moab area has been inhabited since 10,000 BC
The Paleo-Indians people lived in the canyonlands in the Moab area as early as 10,000 BC to 7,000 BC. By 1 AD, the people living in the area were Ancestral Puebloans, known as the Anasazi and Fremont. After that, the Ute and Paiute people came to the area.
Then the first European settlers started arriving in the late 1800s. Although the biblical reference is a place just short of the promised land, people have found this place as a perfect place to live
3. Over 3 million people visit the Moab area every year
Of course, the National and State Park is a big draw to the area. The parks also conveniently count visitors.
Arches National Park had over 1.6 million visitors per year, Canyonlands National Park over 800,000 visitors, Dead Horse Point State Park is over 780,000 visitors. That’s more people than the whole city of Chicago!
4. The Set of Over 50 movies
I was surprised to find out that over 50 movies have been shot in the Moab area including many Hollywood movies. On Discover Moab’s website, they list movies filmed in Arches National Park – like Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, 1988 and Thelma and Louise-1990.
Surprisingly, I found, even more, well-known movies were filmed at Dead Horse Point State Park- The Adventures of Joe Dirt, 1999, Mission Impossible II, 1999, Con-Air 1997, McGyver 1985, Warlock 1958.
Movie buffs would enjoy a visit to the Moab Museum of Film and Western Heritage. The museum is self-guided and open to the public daily at no charge.
5. A mysterious crater in Canyonlands National Park
Upheaval Dome is an unusual geologic formation in Canyonlands National Park. Mysteriously, rocks that had been buried a mile underground are on the surface of the crater.
Geologists think it may be either, the crater was formed by a meteorite or a salt dome that had collapsed. You can stand and winder about the origin of this unusual formation on a visit to Canyonlands Park.
6. Fun facts about the arches in Arches National Park
The highest density of natural stone arches in the world (over 2,000) can be found in Arches National Park.
Delicate Arch in Arches National Park is the most famous and most photographed arch in the world.
These natural stone arches have a lifecycle, which includes forming, growing and then finally collapsing. In fact, forty-three arches are known to have collapsed since 1977.
7. Proof of a Fallen Pillar
Balanced Rock is 128 feet tall and weighs an estimated 3600 tons. One of the amazing things about Arches National Park is the change in the landscape over time.
A smaller pillar right next to it, named “Chip Off The Old Block,” fell in the winter of 1975-76.
8. “Uranium Capital of the World”
In the 1950s geologists found deposits of uranium ore near Moab. The discovery was timely because the US was in the midst of the Cold War and nuclear power was becoming more common.
Moab experienced a boom and became known as the Uranium Capital of the World in the ’50s.
Later mining activities turned to Potash and Oil and Gas. The Potash evaporation ponds are bright blue in the viewpoint from Dead Horse Point State Park.
9. Night skies that are certified dark
The Moab area had some of the darkest night skies in the US. Astronomy fans will be impressed to see the Dark Horse Section of the Milky Way with the naked eye.
In 2015 Canyonlands was designated as a Gold-Tier International Dark Sky Park by the Dark Sky Association
A year later, Dead Horse Point State Park is recognized as an International Dark Sky Park in 2016. They have a fun full moon ranger talk at the visitor center on the Saturdays of the full moon. The kids and adults in our group enjoyed learning about the moon stories of the night skies.
10. Utah can thank NPS for $1.1 billion
The National Parks in Utah adds about $1.1 billion dollars to the state’s economy. Most of the money is spent on hotels (35%), restaurants (%20) and gas (%11).
In fact, the National Park System (NPS) estimates that visitors to Arches National Park spent $189 million in communities near the park.
I hope you learned a new trivia question about Arches National Park or Deadhorse Point State Park? What’s your favorite fun fact about the Moab area? Tell us in the comments.
Hi, I’m Shauna – Welcome to Family Travel Fever. We are a large family, that was bitten by the travel bug! I take the kids by myself because I don’t mind flying or driving solo with my crew to discover the coolest places.
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