South of Moab and near the San Juan County seat of Monticello lies the Abajo Mountains.
Often called the Blue Mountains by long-time locals, the mountains are a relatively small and low range of around 11k feet and lower and resemble their Spanish namesake of “low.”
The mountains feature scenic ridgeline walks, expansive views to such storied landmarks as Bears Ears, Cathedral Butte, The Needles, Behind The Rocks, and other well-known places on the Colorado Plateau surrounding Moab.
You’ll also see wildflowers, black bear, elk mountain streams, forests of aspen, ponderosas, and other plant and wildlife that might remind people more of Colorado or, perhaps more accurately, New Mexico than the high desert areas of Utah.
These lightly used trails see mainly hunters and perhaps campers near the trailheads. Joan and I saw no one all day from the time we left the trailhead to the time we returned to our car.
The lack of people might be explained by trails that are also lightly maintained with blowdowns and contain snowy areas on their upper flanks during this high snow year. With no “Insta-worthy” highlights that are “must-do” per se, they are mountains perfect for people who enjoy the simple act of walking.
But if you want solitude and scenery, and willing to explore something that rarely gets talked about, you could do far worse than this range off the beaten path.