The 2002 Winter Olympic Games helped familiarize the world with one of Grand County's most impressive landmarks—Delicate Arch, inside Arches National Park just two miles from Moab.
Grand County is situated on the Colorado Plateau, a vast and beautiful land of sandstone cliffs, canyons, arches, and other rock formations created over eons by wind and water. First arriving at about the time of Christ, the Anasazi populated the Plateau, leaving behind their cliff houses and rock art to delight modern-day visitors. The first white men to enter were Spanish explorers who discovered a crossing of the Colorado River at the site of the present highway bridge at Moab. Not until the very late 1870s and 1880s did a few Mormon families build permanent homes. The high peaks of the LaSal Mountains form a towering backdrop to the red rocks and riverside cottonwoods and willows.
An astonishing find by a down-on-his-luck geologist named Charlie Steen—launched Moab’s uranium boom in the 1950s and brought an influx of money and people. Today, potash and copper are mined in the county, but the largest industry is tourism. Thousands come annually to visit Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, run the Colorado River rapids, hike nearby canyons, or ride jeeps and mountain bikes across the sandstone ledges