Monday, May 13, 2013
The Colorful History of Moab Utah
Moab's history is just as bold and edgy as its dazzling landscape. When you visit Moab, you step into a world rich with history and blessed by nature — nestled in a valley flanked by the Colorado River and La Sal Mountain range within the heart of the Colorado Plateau.
Native-American tribes (including Pueblo, Ute and Navajo) roamed the Moab area for thousands of years before the first Europeans arrived in 1776. To open up trade between the regions, a group of Spanish explorers carved a travel route across the desert to California.
The Old Spanish Trail
One of these routes linked Sante Fe with Los Angeles and was named the Old Spanish Trail, which runs past the Arches National Park Visitor Center on Highway 191. Moab's location on the Old Spanish Trail was significant because it served as the Colorado River crossing to travelers on the trail, which was used extensively to transport goods on horseback.
Daring Adventures By Traders and Prospectors
Soon, the Old Spanish Trail was used by fur traders and prospectors. Following rivers, crossing expansive plains and scaling mountains, these early explorers paved the way for the many pioneers and fortune seekers that followed in their footsteps. Their isolated lives in the wilderness were full of tales of daring adventures and savage warfare, extreme temperatures and wild beasts.
The earliest evidence of these prospectors was left by a French-American fur trapper named Denis Julien in 1844, who chiseled his name and date into Moab's rocks. In the decades following, many more prospectors explored the rugged Moab region on horseback.
The Mormon Church vs. The Ute Indian Tribe
By 1855, tales told by these early explorers reached The Mormon Church, which set out to establish a trading post at the Colorado River crossing in Moab. The Mormons settled into Moab by building a stone fort and a horse corral, planting crops, and attempting to strike up friendly connections with the Ute Indians.
The Utes had traditionally used the Moab area for gathering and trading among other tribes. Tensions between the Mormons and the Utes escalated when Indians raided the Mormon's crops — stealing melons, squashes, potatoes and turnips during the night. Repeated conflicts with and attacks by the local Ute Indians made it difficult to keep the peace, and eventually forced the Mormon settlers to abandon the post entirely.
New Settlers Arrive
For more than two decades afterward, no permanent settlers lived in the Moab area. Then, in 1878, a group of prospectors, ranchers and farmers established a permanent settlement. Not long after, the discovery of precious metals and development of coal mines and railroads lured new immigrants to the area.
The town of Moab was officially incorporated in 1902, and Moab's first newspaper quickly spread the word about its beauty and natural marvels to the rest of the world.
Twenty years after the town of Moab was settled, a prospector named Alexander Ringhoffer wrote to the Rio Grande Western Railroad to gain support for creating a national park. Railroad executives visited the area and were so impressed with the rock wonderland that the government dispatched research teams to investigate the area.
Arches National Park is Born
To protect its remarkable arches, balanced rocks, spires and other amazing sandstone formations, President Herbert Hoover signed legislation in 1929 creating Arches National Monument, which was upgraded by Congress to Arches National Park in 1971.
Moab Becomes a Natural Playground for Outdoor Enthusiasts
Since the 1970s, tourism has flourished in Moab — inviting photographers, hikers, rafters, rock climbers and mountain bikers to the area. Moab has also become increasingly popular with base jumpers, four-wheelers and highlining enthusiasts, who regularly practice in the area.
Movies filmed in Moab have further expanded its tourist appeal. You can catch glimpses of Moab's beauty in films like "Indian Jones and the Last Crusade"; "Thelma and Louise"; and "Mission Impossible II." Soon, you'll see Moab in two 2013 films, "The Lone Ranger" and "After Earth."
Today, Moab is home to Arches National Park — boasting some of the most stunning red rock landscapes on Earth. It’s unique combination of natural beauty and exciting activities have made it one of the best destinations in the southwest, where adventurous souls come to play.
For More Information about activities in Moab Utah, visit the Moab Tourism Center. We book nearly every fun thing to do in Moab Utah.
Moab Tourism Center