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Hickman Natural Bridge

Capitol Reef National Park

Escalante - Grand Staircase Area, Utah

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Hickman Natural Bridge

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  • Beautiful rock signs mark major trailheads.- Hickman Natural Bridge
  • Approaching Hickman Natural Bridge from the hiking trail.- Hickman Natural Bridge
  • The moon rises over Capitol Dome.- Hickman Natural Bridge
  • Globemallow grows profusely along the trail.- Hickman Natural Bridge
  • Domed rock shapes tower over the trail in all directions.- Hickman Natural Bridge
  • Black boulders of andesite lava were carried here in immense debris flows caused by melting glaciers.- Hickman Natural Bridge
  • Primrose flowers creep along the sand.- Hickman Natural Bridge
  • Layers of sedimentary rock indicate a neat and orderly geologic past, but the black boulder reminds us of the tumultuous debris flows of the recent past.- Hickman Natural Bridge
  • The trail surface changes from sand to gravel to rock several times along the way.- Hickman Natural Bridge
  • You can't get lost here!- Hickman Natural Bridge
  • The trail passes right below the 125-foot-high bridge.- Hickman Natural Bridge
  • Silvery leaves of buffaloberry plants.- Hickman Natural Bridge
  • With colorful rocks and giant towers everywhere, Capitol Reef is a geologist's playground.- Hickman Natural Bridge
  • Hiking early in the morning or late in the day will guarantee more pleasant temperatures than a noon stroll.- Hickman Natural Bridge
  • In spring several shrubs bloom with bright, yellow flowers.- Hickman Natural Bridge
  • Hickman Natural Bridge.- Hickman Natural Bridge
  • The trail to Hickman Natural Bridge.- Hickman Natural Bridge
  • Hickman Natural Bridge.- Hickman Natural Bridge
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Short, easily accessible hike.
Cons: 
None.
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Region:
Escalante - Grand Staircase Area, UT
Congestion: 
High
Pets allowed: 
No
Net Elevation Gain: 
400.00 ft (121.92 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
2.20 mi (3.54 km)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
5,340.00 ft (1,627.63 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Pro Contributor

The Hickman Natural Bridge Trail provides a great overview of what Capitol Reef National Park has to offer. Its convenient trailhead, short distance, and wealth of notable points of interest make it a must-do hike.

For 50 cents, pick up a trail guide at the start of the trail. It will help you make sense of what you're seeing along the way to the bridge. There are 17 numbered markers on the trail. 

As the trail climbs gently to its namesake bridge it traverses a landscape that is rich with human history. For a thousand years the Fremont people lived along the river at Capitol Reef. Remnants of a Fremont pit house, evidenced by a ring of black stones, can be seen off a short spur trail near the start of the hike. Further along the trail there is a granary tucked high up in the cliffs. The Fremont people constructed granaries to store seeds, squash, corn, and beans.

Hickman Natural Bridge was named after a more recent resident and champion of the area, Joseph Hickman. Hickman was a local school administrator and legislator who recognized the value of the area, then known as "Wayne Wonderland." In 1925, Hickman successfully helped pass a bill setting aside several acres around Fruita as a state park. This paved the way for the eventual formation of Capitol Reef National Park.

The trail terminates in a small loop that travels under the bridge, one of the largest rock spans in the park. Pause to contemplate the erosional forces and time it took to create such a feature, then continue around the backside of the bridge to a beautiful viewpoint overlooking the valley. From there it's an easy walk back downhill to the parking area. 

Updates, Tips + Comments

Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide + Trail Map

Field Guide + Trail Map

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(1 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(13 within a 30 mile radius)

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