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Fisher Mesa
Fisher Mesa has two rides: There's a 9-mile out-and-back singletrack ride, and the old classic 21-mile doubletrack out-and-back to the end of the mesa. The singletrack is wonderful. The mesa road is brutal. Our suggestion is to do the singletrack. If you want a real hammerfest, follow the mesa road from the singletrack to the end of the mesa and return the way you came.
The ride starts on the bench of the La Sal mountains at 8200 feet. It's a great ride when Moab is too hot. The trailhead will usually be snow-bound until May, but with luck, you can sneak past a couple of drifts to reach dry singletrack in April. You can grab an extra 1/2 mile of singletrack (and another 100 vertical) by starting at the pullout 1/2 mile north of the dirt road. Ride down past the outhouse, and go right on the mesa road. The singletrack ride drops 1000 vertical feet over 4.5 miles, twisting, dropping, climbing, and flirting with the mesa edge. When you come up a small hill onto a huge open grassy area, you're at the end of the singletrack. Fork right to go to a viewpoint. Double back here if that's all you wanted. Then you get start the uphill crank for a fun 9-mile round trip.
Fisher Mesa is a "reverse profile" ride. You head downhill, having the time of your life, then you have to crank back uphill. If you're planning to visit the end of the mesa, it can be a very brutal proposition. You'll dip through three valleys, so even as you're going "downhill," it seems like you're climbing constantly. The soft roadway surface and chunky rocks make for tough riding. And when you hit the final mile, sand. But it's a pretty view from the end of the mesa into the Onion Creek Narrows and across Fisher Valley. There's plenty of sand and loose dirt to suck the life out of your legs. There's 1500 feet of absolute altitude change and 2200 feet of climbing for the long mesa ride. If you're going via the road, the last two miles are at almost 10% slope.
Some riders absolutely MUST do a loop ride. If so, be my guest and ride back via the mesa road. You'll find it in a sandy dip, just back downhill from the viewpoint at the singletrack's end. But be warned: The mesa road is NOT easier than the singletrack trail. It's longer, involves more climbing, and has an absolutely rotten riding surface. Imagine riding in the talus pile of a rock quarry. Multiple angular rocks sit in a silty soft bed; tires sinking in like mud, while the rocks roll and steal your momentum.

Getting there:  At the Colorado River (2.4 miles north of Center Street in Moab), turn east on highway 128. Drive along the Colorado for 15 miles. Turn right on the paved Castle Valley - La Sal Loop road. Zero your trip odometer. At mile 10.5, keep left (straight) as the La Sal Loop Road forks south. At mile 16, you'll see a small dirt road on the left, and a "wide space in the trees" on the right, which is parking for the Fisher Mesa Trail. For the longer singletrack option, continue up the road another 1/2 mile and park at the big gravel turnout on the left side of the road.

Copyright 2006 Mad Scientist Software Inc.
Trail conditions change, and the layout of a trail may change without notice. Use this trail guide at your own risk.