People of Moab, Utah

Moab is a town found in Grand County in eastern Utah, just south of the Colorado River. With its arid desert climate, Moab has attracted a diverse mix of people over its history.

Ancient Roots

People have lived in the Moab area for a long time. According to the Moab Museum, archaeologists believe the region has seen continuous human occupation for over 12,000 years, with evidence of artifacts from archaic hunter/gatherers, ancestral Peubloan (Anasazi), Fremont, Ute cultures and Navajo.

Pioneers, Filmmakers and Miners

By the mid-1870s, the first permanent pioneer settlers came to the Moab area, many becoming ranchers and farmers.

Moab, UT is well known for its natural landscape. In the late 1940s, director John Ford filmed a series of Westerns at the Red Cliffs Ranch. John Wayne, Maureen O’Hara and Henry Fonda were among the stars featured in the films. Films and commercials continue to use the location. A small film museum is located in the basement of the Red Cliffs Lodge.

In the 1950s, large uranium deposits were discovered at the Mi Vida mine. Moab was a busy uranium mining center through the early 1960s, though the demand (and miner population) declined significantly by 1964.



Moab today has around 5100 residents. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the population has remained relatively steady over the past decade. 12.8 percent of the population is Hispanic or Latino, 5.9 percent are American Indian, and 78.8 percent are White. With 2.39 people per household and 24 percent of the population under 18 years old, Moab is home to many families.


Moab has a long history of tourism, beginning in the early 1900s. The Colorado River, Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park and other natural features provide many outdoor recreation opportunities. Tourists come to whitewater raft, kayak, canoe, mountain bike, rock climb, BASE jump, hike, slackline and ride 4x4s.


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