Saturday, June 10, 2017

Hiking Fisher Towers

On my second day in Moab, I was joined by my friend Dustin Putt.  We spent the first part of the day mountain biking the Porcupine Rim Trail.  We originally planned on riding Slickrock later in the day.  Dustin's bike need a repair and wouldn't be ready in time for another ride that day.  Since a ride was out of the question we decided to head to Fisher Towers to hike.

Fisher Towers are located off of Utah 128, 15-20 miles north of Moab, close to the Colorado River.  The area is comprised of tall fins of rock featuring numerous towers and spires rising as high as 900 feet.  The area is one of the premier climbing destinations in the Southwest.  A trail runs along the base of the towers however for those looking for a more casual outdoor experience.

The hiking trail itself is not overly difficult and the trail only runs 2.2 miles one way to its end on a ridge.  In that short 2.2 miles, the trail packs in a huge amount of scenery.  From the road and parking lot the views begin of the endless towers.  Even though you are looking at the same sets of towers, each turn brings a new way of looking at each feature.  Because the roundtrip hike is only 4.4 miles and there is such an abundance of unique scenery, I find it difficult to write this blog in my normal fashion.  I took over 70 photos on this short hike, which is an out and back.  I'll do my best to name the features and put some order to the photos as I took them but I'll focus more on the photos than the text for this post

Trailhead view, I believe this is
called Dock Rock

Castle Rock and Castleton Tower (The spire on the left)

A good look at the expanse of towers early on the trail including
Kingfisher, Echo Tower, and the Titan

A closer look, Kingfisher is on the left

The hiking isn't too difficult with not too much in the way of elevation change.  The trail winds its way in and out of various washes.  There are no trail markers and a few places it may be possible to lose the trail, especially over rock.  Generally a good trail is present and the route is easy to follow however.

Not too long into our hike we came around a bend to another prominent set of towers.  Kingfisher Tower and Ancient Art are the names of the main towers in this area.  Atop Ancient Art we could see a climber.  Another feature called the Corkscrew juts above Ancient Art.  We could see another climber roped in making his way up the Corkscrew.  We watched for a short time with Dustin's binoculars.

Kingfisher Tower on the left with the Corkscrew to the right

The Corkscrew

Another look at Kingfisher and Corkscrew

Wider shot of the towers, I believe the wall
is called Ancient Art

Climber on the Corkscrew

Climber posing on the Corkscrew

The wall that continues to the right of Ancient Art
Echo Tower I believe

Wide shot of the entire wall

After watching the climbers, the trail winds its way toward the highest tower in the area, and also the tallest free standing tower in the US, The Titan.  Even with The Titan in view, there are endless other features and formations to keep your attention.

Hiking through the head of a wash

The Cottontail Towers and Echo Tower from below

Castle Rock framed by closer rocks

Looking back at Ancient Art

Closer look at Ancient Art

The Titan

Castle Rock and Castleton Tower

The trail goes around The Titan and makes it way to higher ground above the bulk of the towers.  The great scenery continues as the the trail makes its way through rocky terrain in brilliant red soil.  Although the trail is pretty straightforward, there is one spot where a ladder descends a steeper drop into a wash which could be difficult for dogs or smaller kids.

View from the ridge on final part of the trail

The trail traveling under a rock formation

Looking back at the Titan

The Colorado in the distance beyond Ancient Art

The view beyond the main towers

Looking back at the towers near the end of the trail

Blooming cactus

Flowering yucca

Tomcat near the end of the trail

Tomcat and Dustin and the end of the trail

The trail eventually ends 2.2 miles from the start on a long ridge.  There is simply a painted rock indicating the end of the trail.  We returned on the trail passing by the same features.  It was later in the evening and as the sun was losing elevation. The evening light enhanced the color of the towers.  We made it to the trailhead not too long before sunset.  As the sun set, the pink hues gave even more unique color to the area.

The sun lighting the Titan

The trail traveling under a red sandstone wall

Castle Rock and Castleton Tower

The sun illuminating the towers as evening approached

A ladder climbing out of a wash

The last rays of sun illuminating the towers

Nearing the trailhead at the end of the hike

Castle Rock at twilight

Closeup of Castle Rock and Castleton Tower

Castle Rock and Castle Valley at sunset

While the rock climbing is advanced in the area, nearly anyone can hike the trail at Fisher Towers.  The area is extremely dry and can get quite hot.  Bring plenty of water.  Even though the hike is relatively short, you'll want to take your time taking in this unique landscape.

While I did my best at trying to name some of the features above, I don't guarantee I properly identified all the towers in each photo.  There are so many different towers and walls, many looking similar.  Looking back several weeks later at the photos while writing this, I don't recall the exact details of where each photo was taken and which towers I'm portraying in the shot.  I apologize if something is mislabled.  There are several websites dedicated to the Fisher Towers area if you are interested in more of the features names.

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