Moab Happenings Archive
Return to home


Historic Apache Motel a great place to stay when visiting Moab
By Sharon Sullivan

Imagine, sleeping in the same motel room where legendary actor John Wayne often stayed when he was filming movies in the Moab area during the 1950s.

Actors John Ford, Dorothy Malone, Anthony Quinn, and the film crews of Geronimo and Thelma and Louise also stayed at the Apache Motel in Moab. Built in 1954, the motel was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, February 19, 2008.
The Apache is locally-owned and operated by Nicole and Burke Priest, who are proud of the historic landmark they purchased in 2020, updated, and turned into a 5-star rated motel.

While it is unclear of the origin of the motel name – (Apache Indians did not reside in the area) it’s believed the motel was named for the 1948 American Western film titled Fort Apache, which was directed by Ford, and starred Wayne and Henry Fonda.

The Priests installed all new mattresses, linens, bed coverings, pillows, and – blackout curtains designed to ensure a good night’s sleep.

The motel pool – which Wayne commissioned – has also been completely updated, and is heated in spring and fall.
Among the many amenities the motel offers are the loaner “townie” bikes – including one 3-wheeler – that guests can borrow for free to cruise around town. There’s also a bike cleaning and repair station, a fenced-in dog park and 18 dedicated pet accommodation rooms, free s’more ingredients for toasting around the Cowboy Cauldron nightly campfires (the motel supplies the wood, which is often aromatic pinyon pine). Additionally, there are six outdoor cooking stations where guests can grill food.

The motel’s complimentary breakfast includes cinnamon rolls, muffins, fresh fruit, granola bars, oatmeal and hardboiled eggs, plus a full tea and coffee bar. The lobby store also sells treats like Farr Better Ice Cream out of Ogden, and food that guests can take back to their rooms to heat up – like pizza pockets, burritos, chicken potpies. Every room comes equipped with a refrigerator, microwave, and coffeepot.

Two teepees on the property serve as “conference” rooms where guests can hold meetings, do yoga, or conduct trainings (a group of physicians held an acupuncture workshop there recently). “It’s for complimentary use when guests stay with us,” Burke Priest said.

Located at 166 Fourth East St., the motel is a short walk (or bicycle ride!) from downtown Moab. A historical sign on Main Street directs visitors “This way to the Apache Motel” –a marker installed approximately 70 years ago.

The couple is proud to have restored this historical treasure – “It’s clean, revived, historic, and a blast from the past,” Priest said.

To check out rates and availability visit:, or,
call 435-260-7239 and be sure to mention you read about it in Moab Happenings.

Return to home