I am in love with hiking, National Parks, and photography. Capitol Reef National Park provided all three things in abundance. We only had half a day to visit the park when we went back in May 2018. Because of that, we wanted to see as much as we could in as little time as possible. This meant that my dream of hiking and photographing the slot canyons at the South Eastern side of the park needed to be put on hold. At least for now:) Thankfully, the Hickman Natural Bridge hike satisfied all three of my loves and was easy to do in a few hours. The hike to Hickman Natural Bridge includes stunning canyon vistas, a moderate hiking path and a beautiful view of both sides of the 133 ft natural wonder! If you can only do one thing at Capitol Reef National Park, I highly recommend this hike. After hiking to the bridge, we drove down scenic drive and did some more hiking in a wider slot canyon near Pioneer Register. Overall it was a very full, but fulfilling day!
Finding the Trail Head to Hickman Natural Bridge
The Hickman Bridge trail head is fairly easy to find. It is located on Utah State Route 24 in Capitol Reef National Park, just past the Visitor’s Center and Petroglyphs. We found parking available as well as a glorified port-a-john bathroom. I don’t know how deep the sewage goes in that bathroom, but when a breeze blew through the canyon, I could feel it. Just dig deep, go, and be grateful for your privacy:)
The entrance to the Hickman Natural Bridge trail starts right next to the parking lot. The trail goes for .9 miles each way and does a loop through the bridge.
You actually get to hike directly underneath this massive arched rock formation, which is pretty cool.
Hiking the Hickman Bridge trail transports you to a different world
While hiking the Hickman Natural Bridge trail, I felt like I was coming out of a scene from the California coastline. Sandy trails and what appeared to be meticulously manicured bushes and small trees dotted the landscape.
It felt like a master gardener had come and left his signature on the vast landscape.
On several spots along the Hickman Bridge trail, the footpath turned into a light sand. A gentle breeze blew constantly when we hiked and I seriously had to remind myself I was in the desert. I can see why they named the National Park Capitol Reef. It’s like you are in an ocean reef above water.
The Hickman Natural Bridge Hike, while moderate, is easy enough for children to do
I loved hiking to Hickman Natural Bridge with my children. While moderately difficult, my kids had no trouble navigating the rustic pathways and finding the bridge.
We made sure to take breaks often, as well as leaving time for a little bit of fun along the way! My kids had a little bit too much fun at times as they scaled rock walls, and my heart skipped several beats. Thankfully no one got hurt:)
I especially loved finding this natural tunnel along the side of the trail. It had a rock window on top. My family loved peering up through the hole until the shone poked out from behind the clouds, blinding them.
Stunning vistas and photography opportunities dot the Hickman Natural Bridge Trail
I packed my camera gear with me and was glad I did. The Hickman Natural Bridge trail was filled with beautiful photography opportunities, much to the dismay of my kids! (They just wanted to play and hike.)
Capitol Reef National Park has a unique kind of rustic beauty and charm.
From the Hickman Bridge Trail, you can see Capitol Dome (the white Navajo sandstone formation after which the park was named – see photo below).
As well as Pectols Pyramid (see photo below).
My favorite location, of course, was arriving at the Hickman Natural Bridge itself at the end of the trail.
Approaching Hickman Natural Bridge
During the hike, the path splits and does a loop. We veered off to the right and hiked until we reached the bridge.
When we first approached Hickman Natural Bridge, I almost didn’t see it. The formation blended into the landscape behind it. It wasn’t until we got closer that I realized that we had arrived.
We spent some time playing and then I spent some time photographing the bridge.
Thankfully a kind stranger took our family portrait for us!
The Hickman Natural Bridge Trail forms a loop
We passed under the bridge and then continued around until we met up with the original hiking path back towards our car.
Because of cloud cover and a light breeze, our pleasant hike wasn’t too strenuous.
The path, while quite rocky in places, was easy to follow and full of cool rock formations.
I imagine it would be a geologist’s dream to study!
In conclusion, if you ever get a chance to visit Capitol Reef National park, try fitting in the hike to Hickman Natural Bridge. It was well worth the trip!
I hope you’ve enjoyed learning more about hiking the Hickman Bridge Trail in Capitol Reef National Park! Thanks for reading and sharing my adventures with me!
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