After historic flooding along Mill Creek in August, many Moabites gained a renewed awareness of the erratic power of water in the desert. Though the climate is arid, flash floods are a force to be reckoned with—and something that people living here have been navigating for thousands of years. Since cameras first made it to the Moab Valley, numerous photographs have captured and preserved the history of floods of Moab’s past. 

From downtown Moab to the natural landscape, floodwaters have long shaped the landscape and the human experience in Utah. Images from the Moab Museum’s collection tell these stories today. Have a look!

An early car, reportedly Moab’s first Ford, navigates the flooding streets of downtown Moab. [Moab Museum Collection, undated]
This vast, low floodplain, today the Nature Conservancy’s Matheson Wetlands Preserve, has long been known as the Moab Sloughs. A hub of biodiversity, the low-lying floodplain is one of the few wetland ecosystems in the region. In this photograph from the early 1900s, standing water is visible in the wetlands. Flooding along the Colorado River and Mill Creek contributes to the wet soils and lush vegetation of this area. [Moab Museum Collection, Elaine Peterson Collection, 1905]

The Moab Museum is dedicated to sharing stories of the natural and human history of the Moab area. To explore more of Moab’s stories and artifacts, find out about upcoming programs, and become a member, visit