Moab Gay Pride 2016

Celebrating Gay Pride at Arches and Canyonlands National Parks

photo by Andrew Collins

Few towns anywhere enjoy a more stupendous natural setting than Moab, which is bisected by the Colorado River and fringed by two utterly spectacular national parks, Arches and Canyonlands. In the sparsely populated southeastern corner of the reddest of red states, the only thing red about Moab are its jaw-dropping rock formations - surrounding Grand County voted for Obama, and quite a few gay folks live in or regularly visit this outdoorsy and decidedly progressive community of about 5,000 year-round residents.

In late September, the town hosts the Moab Pride Festival, which is preceded by Moab Gay Adventure Week (held Sept. 25–30, 2016). The date of Moab Gay Pride this year is September 30 through October 1, 2016, and many locals and visitors from afar are expected to attend this well-organized, fun, and upbeat event.

The big day of Moab Pride is Saturday, October 1, when at noon, the Moab Pride Visibility March kicks off with a gathering and official Mayoral Proclamation and Address, followed by a loop march that begins and ends in the park. Moab is a colorful place, so it makes sense that organizers encourage a creative, spirited approach to attending: "March on bikes, skates, skateboards, unicycles or just your own two legs! March in costume or your favorite attire!"

Next, from 1 until 5:30 pm, the Moab Pride Festival takes place at the Moab Valley Multicultural Center. The celebration includes music and entertainment, food vendors, a raffle, a kids activity camp, and lots more fun. Later in the evening, there's a Pride After Party and Drag Show at a local bar (the location had yet to be announced as of this writing, but check back later for more details).

Additionally, Moab Gay Adventure Week has all sorts of cool events taking place September 25 through 30, 2016 - here's a schedule of events, including a jeep tour to "Thelma & Louise Point", a fiery furnace hike in Arches NP, stand-up paddleboarding and rafting, canyoneering, and all sorts of other fun activities. All sorts of accommodations options around the area, from B&Bs to hotels, are available in Moab - you can find suggestions at the Moab Gay Adventure Week lodging page.

If you aren't able to make it to Gay Pride in Moab this year, bookmark your calendar for next, or just come visit another time - it's a very welcoming town, whether or not a Pride event is taking place. The city's official tourism office, Discover Moab, is a great general source of information.

Moab's small airport has daily flights from Denver and Vernal, UT (northeast corner of the state) on Great Lakes Airlines, and Grand Junction, CO is just a two-hour drive and has direct flights on most major airlines from a number of cities in the central and western U.S. Moab is a good ways from Salt Lake City, but the four-hour drive is very scenic. Many who visit Moab do so as part of a longer tour of the stunning Four Corners region, including visits to other southern Utah national parks like Bryce and Zion, northern Arizona's Grand Canyon, Lake Powell, and Monument Valley regions, northeastern New Mexico, and southwestern Colorado communities like Telluride, Ouray, Pagosa Springs, and Durango.

Note that the state's largest Pride event, Utah Pride in Salt Lake, takes place in early June.