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Fischer Towers Hiking Trail

Basics
Location:
Off Hwy 128 about 21 miles northeast of Moab
Setting:
Desert / Red Rock
Length:
4.2 mile roundtrip
Difficulty:
Intermediate
Time:
2 - 3 hours
Elevation Change:
650 feet
Season:
Year round (snow possible in winter; very hot in summer)

Description

Few of natures geologic creations are more bizarre to look at than Utah’s Fisher Towers. About a dozen of the strange monoliths stand near the Colorado River east of Moab, grouped together like petrified skyscrapers from some prehistoric city. The brick-red sandstone skyscrapers rise abruptly from the desert floor, while a network of gullies and canyons form the city’s avenues and boulevards below. The residents of this weird metropolis are an endless collection of goblins and gargoyles frozen in the canyon walls beneath the towers.

The Fisher Towers have long been objects of fascination among rock climbers, and on holidays and weekends you are likely to see a few of the human spiders here. The trail passes by the bases of a half dozen of the sandstone monoliths, including the 900-foot Titan, and finally ends on the crest of a ridge commanding a spectacular view of the Towers. If you are interested in photographing them try to be at the viewpoint about half an hour before sunset, when the low western sun inflames the spires’ reddish hue and striates them with deep shadows.

Details

Location:
Off Hwy 128 about 21 miles northeast of Moab
Setting:
Desert / Red Rock
Length:
4.2 mile roundtrip
Difficulty:
Intermediate
Time:
2 - 3 hours
Elevation Change:
650
Season:
Year round (snow possible in winter; very hot in summer)
Additional Details:

To get to the trailhead from Moab, head north on Hwy 191 about 2 miles to Hwy. 128. Turn right heading northeast and proceed 21 miles on Hwy 128. You will see an improved dirt road on your right. Turn onto it and proceed 2.2 miles to a parking lot.

From the campground the trail first drops down to cross a small dry wash, and then winds its way back to the Towers. For the next two miles it proceeds in a general southerly direction along the tower bases, meandering in and out of a succession of arroyos, but never straying far from the Towers. The entire length of the trail is decorated with an enormous variety of rock art, sculpted by the wind and the rain from the soft red sandstone, and it is in large part this spectacle that makes the hike so delightful.

The Titan, largest of the Fisher Towers, remained unclimbed until the 1960s when a team of three Colorado climbers, sponsored by the National Geographic Society, made an assent to the top. On his impressions at the top of the 900-foot pinnacle, team member Huntley Ingalls wrote:

"It was a strange, awesomely isolated place, a flat, rough area of bare orange sandstone about 70 feet long and 40 feet wide. Its boundary was the free air. It overhung the body of the tower below it, which plunged in rippling bulges and converging fluted ribs to the distant desert floor." (National Geographic Magazine, November, 1962)

The last major tower on the route is the Titan, which the trail passes after about 1.5 miles. After passing the Titan the path veers southwest onto a long ridge from which you will be rewarded with a majestic view of the Towers. The most common assent route up the Titan is on the south side, the side nearest to the viewpoint. The ridge at the end of the trail also offers a fine view of Castle Rock and the Priest and Nuns, about six miles to the southwest.

Map + Directions


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