The Cave Spring Loop Trail and Cowboy Camp is the best family hike in the Moab area in my opinion. The trail have just the right mix of excitement, history and distance.
The Cave Spring Trail is a short loop of .8 miles in the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park. It is important to know that this trail is located about 75 miles south of our 11A3 Moab Vacation Rental. This may sound like a long ways but drive is one of the most scenic in the entire country. You drive through Indian Creek Canyon and pass the very interesting Newspaper Rock.
The best way to experience the trail is to hike it in a counter clockwise direction so you can explore the local rocks on your way to the camp. This trail is located in the Cedar Mesa sandstone formation which is famous for eroding into needles shaped towers that give the area its name, The Needles District. The coolest thing about the hike is climbing the ladders to gain access to top of the slickrock trails on top of the rocks. As you can see, an 8 year old had no problems with the ladders. There is just enough challenge in the trail to make it exiting for kids and one of the best family hikes in Canyonlands National Park.
The trail just keeps getting better as you go and it climaxes with the historic cowboy camp. The camp features the relics of what life was like to be a cowboy in the Utah desert far from anyone. Could you image living in this area before it was a national park? Just think how remove this area would have been, I would image the cowboys would go weeks without seeing any other people. Judging by the cans, though they were lacking humans, it appears there were plenty of rats.
Take time to take in the camp and it's surroundings. Info signs will guide you along and give you details of the area. Note that if time is short, the camp is right near the parking area if you hike the trail clockwise and would take less than five minutes. My opinion is, it would be a shame to miss the rest of the trail, especially after making the drive all the way out to the Needles District from Moab, Utah.
If you are considering a Moab adventure we would recommend checking out the town homes at Moab Adventure Condo. We stayed with them and it was so nice to have room to relax and not be stuck in a cramped hotel room. Since the cost of the rental was split between two families it actually ended up being cheaper than a hotel room and much nicer. Not to mention the pool and hot tub were just sets from our condo.