Viewfinder Towers |

Hanksville

Hiking Viewfinder Towers - HanksvilleRoadside Attraction Viewfinder Towers - Hanksville Hiking Viewfinder Towers
Hanksville

Overview | Getting There | Route | Photos | Maps | Comments

Overview

RATING: Roadside or Easy Hike
MAPS: THE NOTCH, UT

Thu

91 | 66

Fri

82 | 66

Sat

82 | 61

Sun

84 | 61

Mon

88 | 62

View Full Weather Details
SEASON: Any, hot in summers
GEAR: Standard Hiking Gear
WATER: None

Thu

91 | 66

Fri

82 | 66

Sat

82 | 61

Sun

84 | 61

Mon

88 | 62

View Full Weather Details
Towers on the east side of the road from the pullout

Towers on the east side of the road from the pullout

Viewfinder Towers is the roadside attraction spot I have stopped most at in the Swell. The spot is named for the roadside pullout with sight tubes (viewfinders) setup to point out many of the landmarks surrounding Hanksville. It is a great spot to stop and get oriented with some of the major mountains and features of the area. Many stop, view the landmarks, and take a quick glance at the entrada sandstone towers in the valley surrounding the stop, and move on.

That was likely my introduction to Viewfinder Towers so many years ago. The valley, however, is a lovely place to wander and take in the towers up close. Hikers are likely to enjoy viewing the towers and wandering through the valley. For climbers, most of the towers have routes to their summits. These range from a couple of relatively easy (5.8-ish) sport routes to C1 bolt ladders to very hard aid and free routes. Having done a handful of towers there, I have had both smiles and joy on some of them, and in one particular case, some of the scariest aid climbing on rock so poor I wasn’t sure it would hold a coat hung on it, let alone me!

There are towers and both sides of the highway here, including a couple of particularly Looney Tunes-ish formations to wander around. My favorite wander, shown on the map, is to go west down the wide valley, north up the first major wide wash intersected, then finally back along a two-track dirt road. This visits a lot of towers and is a lovely leg-stretching hike.

The valley on a cold December day.

The valley on a cold December day.

Getting There

The trailhead is at mile post 123.1 on UT-24. From Hanksville, this is about 7 miles north toward I-70, or about 38 miles south of I-70 if coming from the north.

Lucy and Ryan on top of one of the cliffs in the valley

Lucy and Ryan on top of one of the cliffs in the valley

Route

From the pullout, head southwest, aiming for the wide wash left (south) of the cliffs. Follow the wash west past many towers. The cliffs and towers here are capped with a harder sandstone, which has protected the softer entrada below them. It is interesting terrain.

About 2 miles from the pullout, depending on your wandering, a junction is reached with a wash coming in from the north (right) that the wash you are in coalesces with.

Go right up the wash for just over a mile to a two-track dirt road. The canyon is narrower here, but still Entrada with many towers along the way. Once a dirt road is reached, and the terrain opens up.

Go right on the dirt road as it heads east back to the main road near the pull-out. This section of road is about 1.4 miles and passes a few more towers.


Maps

Route / 4.62 miles / Elevation Range 4,428 - 4,641 ft.
Printable Maps:
Trailhead

12S 528375mE 4256996mN

N38° 27' 39" W110° 40' 29"

Prairie Dog Tower

12S 527881mE 4257073mN

N38° 27' 42" W110° 40' 50"

Junction

12S 525752mE 4256546mN

N38° 27' 25" W110° 42' 17"

Dirt Road Jct - Right

12S 526607mE 4257841mN

N38° 28' 07" W110° 41' 42"

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