Monday, April 4, 2016

The Fisher Towers, Moab

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Hiking the Fisher Towers, Moab, Utah
The Fisher Towers Trail is located 16 miles North East of Moab, Utah, and offers a 5 mile (RT) hike that winds through these fin-like structures. The Fisher Towers are composed of Moenkopi and Cutler sandstone, and have eroded into many shapes and sizes. These towers are one of the most outstanding scenic features of Utah's Colorado Riverway, as the rock pinnacles soar above a maze of red and pink hued canyon, and overlook the Colorado River, Onion Creek, and the famous rock "Priest & Nuns" to the south.

This short hike is exposed to all elements, so be sure to wear plenty of sunscreen, a hat, and bring snacks and a minimum of 3 L of water per person, plus water for the dogs (if you bring them). This trail is kid and dog friendly. Though we saw several dogs on leash, it is not required. Most people will only hike to the half way point, where there is a sign pointing out The Titan. Keep going though - the best view is near the end when you get a full panorama view of The Fisher Towers.

 From Moab, head North on HWY 191, then head East along the Colorado River (HWY 128). Drive for 21 miles, then look for the brown Fisher Towers sign. Just over and down the hill, you will turn Right onto a dirt road. Compact cars, such as my Sonata, will make it just fine. Drive to the very end of the dirt road until you reach the parking lot and TH. Be aware that after 9am on weekends, the parking lot fills up very quickly, and you may need to park down the road, then walk up to the TH. Here's a driving map.

Distance: 5 miles RT
Elevation Gain: 400 ft
Time: 2-5 hours
Dog friendly? Yes, off leash
Kid friendly? Yes
Fees/Permits Required? No
Hiking the Fisher Towers, Moab, Utah
 We drove down to the Onion Creek Campground late Friday night. We arrived in the dark, and the main loop was already completely full of campers. We drove over to Group Site B, and found a nice, wide open spot for our 10 people each with their own tent. After we got all set up though, an RVer came over to let us know that he had reserved that same spot several months prior, and that we would need to leave as early in the morning as possible, since he had a large group on the way. We asked if there was any way we could share the spot, and he said no, since there is a limit on group size and he didn't want to be overcharged on his credit card. So, two of us drove up and down the river at 10pm, in search of another area to camp with 10 people and 8 dogs. Nothing was available. We went back to the RVer, and told him we would need to sleep there that night, but we'd be out by 9-10am. He was fine with that, but it was a big hassle for our group to have to take down everything the next morning. When I had looked at the camping info for Onion Creek, it said everything was first come, first serve. I wasn't aware that group sites could be reserved. Lesson learned - check to see if the group sites are reserved before getting out all the gear!
Hiking the Fisher Towers, Moab, Utah
 That night I didn't get any sleep for fear of not finding anything big enough for our group on a Saturday. 
Hiking the Fisher Towers, Moab, Utah
 Sunrise was gorgeous, and we could actually see where we set up our tents. We were able to get everyone up, fed, packed, and out of Onion Creek Campground by 9am. I'd say that's a record for a group of 10! 
Hiking the Fisher Towers, Moab, Utah
 From Onion Creek Campground, the drive was only about 2 miles to the North, to the turn off. We followed the dirt road all the way to the end.
Hiking the Fisher Towers, Moab, Utah
 Official TH sign. Right behind this sign you'll see the "Photo Trail". Although this offers a pretty view of the towers, it is not the full hike. The best time to view the towers from the Photo Trail are at sunset, when the orange and red colors really burst on the West facing sides.
Hiking the Fisher Towers, Moab, Utah
 The trail begins in the SE corner of the parking lot.
Hiking the Fisher Towers, Moab, Utah
 Immediately the trail drops down.
Hiking the Fisher Towers, Moab, Utah
 And wraps around a few corners.
Hiking the Fisher Towers, Moab, Utah
 Within the first 10 minutes of hiking, you will cut between two large rock walls, with rock steps to help you down.
Hiking the Fisher Towers, Moab, Utah
 The famous "Corkscrew Summit" - a climber's paradise with amazing view. To see what it looks like from the top, check out this video.
Hiking the Fisher Towers, Moab, Utah
The highest tower, The Titan, which is 900 ft, was first climbed in 1962 by three men from Colorado. Their ascent was described in the "We Climbed Utah's Skyscraper Rock" published in National Geographic, November 1962. Although the crumbly texture of the Fisher Towers offers less than ideal conditions, rock climbing is now relatively common in this area as a result of improved climbing equipment and techniques.

Hiking the Fisher Towers, Moab, Utah
Just after you pass The Titan sign, you will walk along the East facing wall, then will drop down, and will need to go down this ladder.
Hiking the Fisher Towers, Moab, Utah
 Large dogs will not be able to get down that ladder, even with help from a friend. The easiest way for the dogs to get to the other side, is to actually hike above the ladder (up the hillside), then down this little slot canyon. All of our 8 dogs needed to do this, and hiking through it was more fun and prettier than taking the ladder.
Hiking the Fisher Towers, Moab, Utah
 Continuing on the trail, you will sometimes hike on these flat ladders, to help you step up.
Hiking the Fisher Towers, Moab, Utah
Group shot!
 At about 2.0 miles, the trail really opens up and you will have fantastic views of the Fisher Towers behind you.
Hiking the Fisher Towers, Moab, Utah
 The trail will actually make you hike under this small natural bridge. It's another great place to take some photos.
Hiking the Fisher Towers, Moab, Utah
 The last little bit of the trail will put you on the edge of steep cliff sides. This is where you'd want to keep an eye on children hiking. Pick a spot along this ridge, and take a snack break, which completes the hike. Return to your car the same way you hiked in.
Hiking the Fisher Towers, Moab, Utah
Charlie wasn't used to the 70F "heat", and needed a quick nap before we hiked back to the cars. I loved this view though - nothing better than a dog and foot shot of your view.

Since 1949 the Moab area has been a popular location for movie, commercials, music videos, and brochure photos. Here are all the movies filmed near Fisher Towers.

 1949 Wagon Master 
 1950 Rio Grande 
 1951 Battle at Apache Pass 
 1952 Son of Cochise 
 1953 Border River 
 1953 Siege of Red River 
 1954 Canyon Crossroads 
 1954 Smoke Signal 
 1956 Fort Dobbs 
 1958 Warlock 
 1959 Ten Who Dared 
 1960 Gold of Seven Saints 
 1961 Comancheros 
 1963 The Greatest Story Ever Told 
 1963 Cheyenne Autumn 
 1964 Rio Conchos 
 1965 Canyonlands U.S.A. 
 1967 Blue 1967 Fade In 
 1971 Seeta, the Mountain Lion 
 1975 Against a Crooked Sky 
 1984 Choke Canyon 
 1992 Knights 
 1992 This Boy's Life 
 1995 The Sunchaser 
 1996 Breakdown Mile 
 1999 Nurse Betty
(source: DiscoverMoab.com

Fisher Towers trail map, Moab, Utah
 Route looking Northwest
Fisher Towers trail map, Moab, Utah
Route looking Northeast




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Hiking The Fisher Towers, Moab, Hiking with Dogs in Moab, Utah
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7 comments:

  1. What a bummer about the camp site! That can be super frustrating! Glad you ended up finding something else. I am heading to Moab early Friday morning so hopefully we can find a site!

    Great recap will use this for our hike!

    Katie @ Katie Wanders

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    Replies
    1. On a Friday morning you should be fine to find a campsite. It's when you pull in late like we did, that it gets tough. - Alicia

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  2. We have done this hike twice and neither of us remember a small natural bridge. I guess we are heading back out to find it!! We had a small dog with us our second time and his dad was able to carry him down the ladder:) We just arrived in Moab for a month...love this place:)

    I NEED that mug!! Where did you get it?

    Hope you found a place to sleep the next night:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is my friends mug, and she let me use it for photos :) But this is the link from where she bought it on Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/listing/252012424/the-mountains-are-calling-and-i-must-go?ref=shop_home_feat_1

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  3. Help! I will have little time, how long do you think I will take the trail?
    I hope your answer.
    Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anywhere from 2-4 hours depending on your hiking speed and how far you want to go.
      -Alicia

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