Monticello is the oft-overlooked neighbor to Moab, UT. Because Moab can get very busy during the busy season, you might want to try a visit to Monticello, UT instead. Monticello is a bit smaller, and a little further from the interstate, but it offers some amazing hiking, archeological sites, and educational venues. Here are a few of our favorites. See more things to do in Monticello, Utah.
The Needles forms the southeast corner of Canyonlands and was named for the colorful spires of Cedar Mesa Sandstone that dominate the area. Hiking trails offer many opportunities for long day hikes and overnight trips. Foot trails and four-wheel-drive roads lead to such features as Tower Ruin, Confluence Overlook, Elephant Hill, the Joint Trail, and Chesler Park.
Newspaper Rock State Historic Monument is a Utah state monument featuring a rock panel carved with one of the largest known collections of petroglyphs. The 200-square-foot (19 m2) rock is a part of the vertical Wingate sandstone cliffs that enclose the upper end of Indian Creek Canyon, and is covered by hundreds of petroglyphs—one of the largest, best preserved and easily accessed groups in the Southwest. The petroglyphs feature a mixture of human, animal, material and abstract forms.
Although the ruin has not been restored, the area is partially developed. The Butler Wash Ruins access is well signed with the parking area right on the highway. There is a well-maintained trail to a fenced observation point, complete with interpretive signs, that overlooks the ruins. The Butler Wash Ruins was once a small community and it's a great place to see Anasazi ruins in a natural setting. Access to the observation area is easy but accessing the ruin is much more difficult and not encouraged by officials.
Three majestic natural bridges invite you to ponder the power of water in a landscape usually defined by its absence. View them from an overlook, or hit the trails and experience their grandeur from below. Declared a National Monument in 1908, the bridges are named "Kachina," "Owachomo" and "Sipapu" in honor of the ancestral Puebloans who once made this place their home.
The Frontier Museum is housed in a century old barn once used as storage for the L. H. Redd Mercantile. The barn was moved from its original site and renovated to house the museum by the Monticello Foundation. The original post and beam construction is visible inside. Frontier life as it was lived on the edge of the Great Sage Plain over 100 years ago is on display. A visit to the museum is a passage through time via the day-to-day items used by our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents. Exhibits include vintage clothing and household items.
View the largest collection of Ancestral Puebloan (Anasazi) pottery on display in the Four Corners Region and explore an authentic Puebloan village behind the museum. In addition to permanent collections, Edge of the Cedars offers special exhibits, festivals, and events throughout the year.
At The Dinosaur Museum, the complete history of the world of the dinosaurs is presented. Skeletons, fossilized skin, eggs, footprints, state-of-the-art graphics, and beautifully realistic sculptures present the dinosaurs from the Four Corners region and throughout the globe.