Capitol Reef National Park has a great deal to offer even though it is one of the smaller of the national parks in Utah but don’t let that deter you from visiting. Here you can experience many beautiful hikes ranging from easy to quite strenuous going through a variety of stunning landscapes. Let’s get going on the Hickman Bridge Trail here.
Now that we’ve parked our vehicles, used the facilities which are there (if needed), read the map and with trail guide in hand it’s time to head for the steps and upwards and onward to the Hickman Bridge. The flowering plant here is a gooseberry leaf globemallow. As we visited in early May, we got to see many flowering plants and shrubs that were flourishing in what most would call less than ideal soil. Nature finds its way!
Once you go through this first patch of sand , up the steps and just a bit further you round the corner to see that your trail is about to get rocky and climbs upward.
More of the beautiful little wildflowers and those black volcanic boulders. If you look towards the very top of this image there is a blue spot; that’s another hiker and it shows you the beginnings of the many switchbacks.
Still going up as the landscape changes a bit; this is when you begin to hike through a sandstone side canyon with gorgeous high desert views.
The hike takes you through rock, sand and trees. While going over some of the boulders was a bit strenuous, I found that slogging through the sand took more energy. So glad we had on good hiking boots that kept the sand out!
As you near the Hickman Bridge, you have the classic fork in the road scenario as the trail ends in a loop around the bridge. Trust me on this one, take the path to the right for this amazing view of the front of the bridge. It’s at this point many pause to take it all in as well as to take a break and have a snack and hydrate. Hydration is very important! As a fellow hiking friend once told me, if you wait until your’e thirsty to drink – you’ve waited too long!
The bridge spans 133 feet and climbing on it is forbidden. The trail starts at an elevation of 5400 feet and at this point you are around 5700 feet above sea level.
Break time for hikers underneath and behind the bridge.
At this point you can head back down the way you came up or loop around the bridge and take a view from the cliffs which look down towards the Fremont River. I saw a couple with a baby in a carrier taking selfies here. Sigh… I’ll say no more.
By this time on our hike the skies had changed from a beautiful blue to a somewhat ominous grey and we decided it was time to head on down the trail. We did get a bit of rain on us but as a park ranger told us, sometimes here in the high desert the rain comes down but never quite makes it to the ground. We did get rained on a couple of times but mostly it was either a few sprinkles or just watching the clouds go by looking like rain was coming from them.
What hikes up must hike down!
This formation is called Capitol Dome as it resembles the capitol building in Washington, D.C.
Almost to the end of the trail. I can see route 24 from here.
Down and around on the trail and past the Fremont river to the end of our hike.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this hike to the Hickman Natural Bridge. I bet you’ve worked up an appetite so why don’t we head into Fruita for some pie next.