Columns » Hiking Bob

Road Trip: Moab

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Colorado Springs is a hub of outdoor recreation with plenty of opportunities for cycling, hiking, running, camping, backpacking or whatever else you can think of. Yet, as much as we love our city and state, we also look elsewhere to engage in our recreational pursuits. Maybe it is for a change in scenery, or to try a different kind of terrain or environment, or maybe to join an organized event for one of our favorite pasttimes.  We may drive an hour or two to try a new trail or campground in a different part of the state, or we may go a bit further and try another state. Moab, Utah, about 6 hours from Colorado Springs, is a popular outdoor recreation mecca.  With Arches and Canyonlands National Park nearby, along with large swaths of land belonging to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service, the opportunities for outdoor activities are almost limitless.

Like many from Colorado Springs,  I have visited Moab many times, and looked for hiking trails and photo ops that were less crowded than the overwhelmingly popular places. I have written about them in past columns here, here, and here. In this column, I have two more trails for you to try on your next visit to Moab. Both of these are east of Moab along Scenic Byway 128, which runs along the Colorado River.

The Sylvester Trail
 is a pleasant, moderate, out-and-back hike through "Professor Valley", a wide valley surrounded by towering mesas and red rock formations that are emblematic of the area. The trail winds it's way in and out of dry, sandy washes before climbing out of the valley and hugging the side of a tall mesa.  The hike from the trailhead to the trail end sign and back was 6.85 miles, with less than 800' of elevation gain. See the slideshow for details.
Things to know before you go: There are no bathroom facilities or water sources available at the trailhead or along the trail. The trail is open to pedestrian and equestrian use only, so no bikes or motorized vehicles are permitted. Dogs are allowed, but must be leashed.  There is no shade on the entire length of the trail, so in the summer months use caution. Start early, bring lots of water, and wear a wide brimmed hat. Pay attention to your pooches condition, too.
How to Get There: From the intersection of US 191 and Scenic Byway 128 just north of Moab, take SB 128 east for 18 miles. Just past mile marker 18, after crossing a cattle guard, look for an unmarked dirt road to the right, just before a sign that says "Onion Creek 2". Take the dirt road for 2 miles to the parking lot/trailhead at the end of the road. The road has one large dip, but is passable with almost any vehicle when dry.

The Fisher Towers are a group of towering red rock spires a about 21 miles from Moab. The site is very popular with climbers - it was used for a popular credit card TV commercial a few years ago featuring a climber scaling one of the spires - it also is home to a small bare-bones BLM campground and a hiking trail.  There is a 6' steel ladder to climb at about the half-way point.  The hike is less than 4.5 miles round trip, and under 750' of elevation gain. See the slideshow for details.
Things to know before you go: There are pit-toilet facilities, but no water sources available at the trailhead. The trail is open to pedestrian use only, so no bikes, horses or motorized vehicles are permitted. Dogs are allowed, but must be leashed.  There is limited shade on the trail, so in the summer months use caution. Start early, bring lots of water, and wear a wide brimmed hat. Pay attention to your pooches condition, too.
How to Get There: From Moab, take SB 128 east for 21 miles. Watch for the sign indicating the turn for the Fisher Towers. The road is passable with almost any vehicle when dry. There is only enough parking for about a dozen cars, and fills up on weekends and holidays. There is no hiker parking at the campground.


Be Good. Do Good Things.

Bob Falcone is a retired firefighter, photographer, hiker, business owner and author of Hiking Bob's Tips, Tricks and Trails, available via his website. He has lived in Colorado Springs for more than 26 years. Follow him on Twitter (@hikingbob), Facebook (Hiking Bob), Instagram (@HikingBob_CO) or visit his website (Hikingbob.com). E-mail questions, comments, suggestions, etc to Bob: info@hikingbob.com.

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