Utah-Return to Moab’s Canyons

In September, 2021 we revisited Moab, Utah. Why? Our 2019 trip left 2 simple hiking trails undone and I could not leave well enough alone.

Agenda:

  1. Park Avenue/Courthouse Towers in Arches National Park
  2. Grand View Point Rim Walk in Canyonlands National Park

Great Payout with Bonuses:

  1. Fisher Towers
  2. Dead Horse Point – made movie-famous byThelma and Louise
  3. Shafer Canyon Road – Canyonlands (NEXT TIME!)

1. Arches: Park Avenue to Courthouse Towers

Don’t be in a rush to get to the park’s arches, further down the road.

Instead, hustle down the steep steps and be surrounded by sheer walls and massive monoliths that reach to the sky, throwing shade like Manhattan skyscrapers. Feel your feet PULLED into the canyon via a worn path 1 mile to Courthouse Towers. The return is equally fun.

Tips: Take magical valley side trips. At the “end” you can continue walking along a wash well beyond Courthouse Towers.

2. Canyonlands: Grand View Point Rim Trail

Elevation – 6,000 ft and what a scene! In 2019 good sense averted hiking along the canyon rim as the slick rock trail was glazed with ice. Time to try again in 2021.

Description: Two miles (round trip) along cliff edges with nothing to stop you from going over. If that is spooky you can trek safely away from the rim. The trail ends when the ground ends.

Directions: The trailhead is at the southernmost point of Canyonlands.

3. Fisher Towers

Some of North America’s tallest freestanding towers – bizarre formations of giant fins and pinnacles with minarets, spires and goblins.

Recommended by my friend, Carol Davis (Link: Just Passing Through) who knows how to pick ’em; “Moab? Have I got a hike for you!” True! Beginning on slick-rock the trail twists through the towers and beneath vertical cliffs. The sharp red peaks appear paper-thin.

An easy/moderate 4 to 5 mile round-trip trail. It’s likely to be HOT unless you catch the towering walls throwing shade. Walking solo I had to focus to make sure I wasn’t getting off trail…which happened. I finished in 3.5 hours.

Directions to Trailhead: UT 128/River Road to Fisher Towers turnoff. Two mile dirt road to the carpark.

The Trail

The Towers

4. Dead Horse State Park

Dead Horse Point State Park near Canyonlands has a spectacular view over a huge bend in the Colorado River, 2,000 feet below.

The final scene of Thelma and Louse (set in the Grand Canyon) was filmed here.

5. Shafer Canyon Road – NEXT TIME!

Shafer Canyon and Potash roads connect Canyonlands and Moab. The 2-3 hour drive (plus time for photos) hugs cliffs with a 1100 foot drop along the switchbacks. This calls for a return visit.

(Alternatively-White Rim Trail – a 90 mile trail that commences from Shafer Canyon Road.)

September Was a Gift

After Utah, we ambled through Colorado, discovering “new to us” canyons and following the changing Aspen. An amazing itinerary.

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4 thoughts on “Utah-Return to Moab’s Canyons

  1. Magical place, beautiful photos. Definitely on my list now. Thanks for taking me with you through the blog! xo

  2. Simply amazing! The video gave me a different perspective. I was picturing linear and I see you are enveloped! Very cool! As always, you take great photos which make me feel like a fly on your shoulder!

  3. Beautiful photos of some of our favorite places! We’ve wandered away from a lot of trails in Utah, and not on purpose. I finally started using a hiking app to track the trail and my location in case they don’t match up.

    1. I used to do that when I biked in Massachusetts – this seems like a better use of the tool!

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