Moab is a city in Grand County, in eastern Utah, in the western United States. The population was 4,779 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat and largest city in Grand County. Moab hosts a large number of tourists every year, mostly visitors to the nearby Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. The town is a popular base for mountain bikers who ride the extensive network of trails including the famed Slickrock Trail, and off-roaders who come for the annual Moab Jeep Safari.
The Biblical name Moab refers to an area of land located on the eastern side of the Jordan River. Some historians believe the city in Utah came to use this name because of William Pierce, the first postmaster, believing that the biblical Moab and this part of Utah were both "the far country". However, others believe the name has Paiute origins, referring to the word "moapa" meaning mosquito. Some of the area's early residents attempted to change the city's name because in the Christian Bible, Moabites are demeaned as incestuous and idolatrous. One petition in 1890 had 59 signatures and requested a name change to Vina. Another effort attempted to change the name to Uvadalia.
During the 1800s the area around what is now Moab served as the Colorado River crossing along the Old Spanish Trail. Mormon settlers attempted to establish a trading fort at the river crossing called "Elk Mountain Mission" in 1855 to trade with travelers attempting to cross the river. After repeated Indian attacks, the fort was abandoned in late 1855. A new round of settlers established a permanent settlement in 1878. Moab was incorporated as a town on December 20, 1902.