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Area History


Moab is surrounded by two of the beautiful national parks of Southern Utah—Arches to the north and Canyonlands to the west and it is one of state's most popular travel destinations. Visitors here can mountain bike, off-road, hike, and enjoy this desert paradise.

Settled early in the pioneer era, Moab served as a mission focused on relations with Native Americans. The first European settlement stemmed from the colonizing efforts of the Mormon Church. In June of 1855, the Mormons attempted to establish the “Elk Mountain Mission,” but conflicts with the Utes caused them to abandon their efforts. In the 1880's and 1890's, the Moab area was permanently settled by farmers, ranchers, and prospectors.

In 1898, a settler by the name of John Wesley Wolfe, a veteran of the Civil War, built the homestead known as Wolfe Ranch. It is located on Salt Walsh, at the beginning of the Delicate Arch Trail. Wolfe lived there surrounded by his family for over a decade and then moved back to Ohio. An acknowledgment of what must have been an amazing experience, the Wolfe cabin remains to this day.

The uranium boom in the 1950's changed this quiet little town. You can still find pioneer artifacts today, making this area a prime destination for those wanting to learn about Mormon history. Among some of the Mormon historic sites in the area are Hole-In-The-Rock near Escalante, Bluff Settlement in Bluff, and Monticello Temple in Monticello.