Round Trip Distance: 4.5 - 5.2 miles
Difficulty: Moderate - Strenuous
Elevation: 4665 - 5392 feet
Cellphone: 0 bars
Usage: Hiking - Rock Climbing - Camping - Dogs
Time: 3 hrs.
Facilities: Vault toilet
Trailhead: Fisher Towers
Fee: none ($12 camping)
Attractions: Scenic geology, adventuresome trail
View Fisher Tower in a larger map
The Fisher Towers trail is located in eastern central Utah off Highway 128 between Cisco and Moab. This out and back hike will take you by 3 grand monuments, The Kingfisher, Echo Tower and The Titan, that are popular with rock climbers. The well constructed trail descends into the canyons in several places which brings the overall elevation gain above 1000 feet. There is a metal ladder between Echo Tower and The Titan that requires a little coordination and agility to manage. For some it is an obstacle that forces their retreat but for most it is a pleasing accoutrement for the trail. Hikers are more likely to be overcome by the beauty of the cliffs and the surrounding views than the difficulty of the trail.
There are 2 miles of gravel road between the highway turnoff and the trailhead. The road is passable with a 2-wheel drive vehicle with normal clearance. The road can be a little washboardy but it stands up very well to a little rain. The parking area isn't huge so there are often times cars lining both sides of the road near the trailhead.
The trail begins by descending into the wash next to the parking area. Dropping in and out of washes is typical for the first half mile of the hike.
A lot of hard work has been put into the construction of the trail with logs used to shore up the sides in places and stone steps, log stairways and one metal ladder all in place to make the otherwise difficult areas more manageable.
With all of the rock climbing the Fisher Towers isn't one of those areas where it is a must to stay on the designated trail. They do make it easier for you do find your way though by placing rocks along the trail where it passes over the slickrock and by erecting cairns to mark the normal path. It's always important to avoid walking on the cryptobiotic soil where it is present and to not cut across switchbacks where the ground is soft.
The main towering spires have names of course. If the littler ones do it isn't apparent from any maps that I've seen. Since the trail leads all the way over to The Titan it will also pass the other two main monoliths.
There are a few secluded areas in the washes where you may be able to find some shade to rest in.
The trail levels off for the most part after about a half mile and bends around the canyon beneath the Kingfisher.
Next the trail wraps completely around 3 sides of Echo Tower. It is quite awesome to stand at the base of the cliff and look straight up its foreboding walls
The crux of the hike for some is the gully with the metal ladder. It can be a little awkward getting situated onto the ladder for your descent. It causes some people to turn around at this point. Then there are the younger bunch that simply ignore the ladder and jump across it to the other side.
It's nice to see people that don't let having kids stand in their way of enjoying the outdoors. On this day there were several that did what good dads do and carried their toddlers on their back with the rest of the family in tow.
The trail traverses around the base of 'The Titan' and tops out on a ridge where you have your choice of following the trail on to its end or you can go to the left and explore around the east side of the cliff. If you have the time you can always do both. It is a little over a half mile to the end of the trail from this point.
The Titans massive size can be well appreciated when you are standing at its base and looking up. Probably more so if you actually climb it.
The trail back should be mostly a pleasant hike. It is all downhill except for a couple of washes and the rock climbers are kind of fun to watch.
There is a primitive camping area with tables and fire pits. There are only 5 spots that are available on a first come basis for $12.00 each. They won't accommodate anything bigger than a tent. The Fisher Towers trail is a world class experience. The views of Castle Rock and the shear sandstone cliffs of the Colorado River are stunning. The best picture taking time is probably when the afternoon sun is looking over your shoulder at the towers but alas that is also the most unforgiving time on a hot summer day so be sure to bring plenty of water and Gatorade. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.