High above the red rock canyon country of southeastern Utah, skydivers fly through the air as their bodies approach terminal velocity. Wind rushes through their hair before a cord is yanked and their searing descent slows into a gentle float.
At Skydive Moab, for over 11 years, novices paired with certified instructors as well as experienced skydivers pilot the skies above Moab’s Arches and Canyonland parks. The veteran skydiving outfit boasts more than 30,000 jumps and they supervise tandem flights, initial solo jumps, and certification programs in accelerated freefall. Before dives, customers ride up into the wild blue yonder aboard a Cessna 182, taking in the scenery below, which is composed of craggy, red rock canyons and the juncture where the Colorado and Green rivers merge to create the biggest natural bubble bath in the state.
Before taking lessons in a one-room schoolhouse, a visitor hops aboard a stagecoach, interviews a worker at a uranium mine, examines authentic adobe pottery, and heads inside a saloon. Such is the scene at Museum of the West, one of the three campuses of the Museum of Western Colorado where curators eschew the notion of “look, but don’t touch.” From the interactive labs at the Dinosaur Journey Museum to the live demonstrations of early 20th-century life at the Cross Orchards Historic Site—whose buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places—the staff encourages its guests to get up close and personal with the region’s past.
Nestled in the La Sal Mountain range of southeastern Utah, Raven's Rim Zip Line Adventure treats visitors to unsullied views of the Great Basin before launching them feet-first on zooming ziplines. After rumbling over 2 miles of off-road terrain in a 6-seater Polaris Ranger (this adventure is not recommended for customers with bad backs), guests walk over rugged mountain terrain to reach the start of the multitiered zipline course. Once there, participants safely link up to a series of lines that send them soaring on zips runs more than a thousand feet long over otherworldly ridge and valley landscapes and arid ecosystems.
Even after more than 18,000 jumps, Skydive Canyonlands' owner and USPA-certified instructor Paul Gray enjoys every free fall. With a focus on safety, Paul and his team help introduce new people to the sport during tandem jumps, soaring high above the Moab area's breathtaking views. Reddish rock formations, the buttes of Arches National Park, and the giant water fountain at the head of the Colorado River come into view as instructors and pupils jump from a specially equipped Cessna 210 aircraft. While freefalling, Paul and his team can capture high-definition videos and pictures for divers to show to their friends or use to impress pet birds.