Hickman Natural Bridge, Hickman Bridge Trailhead, Capitol Reef National Park, Utah
Hickman Natural Bridge - 2.05 miles
Hickman Bridge Trailhead
|Round-Trip Length:||2.05 miles (includes loop under arch)|
|Start-End Elevation:||5,315' - 5,660' (5,692' max elevation)|
|Elevation Change:||+345' net elevation gain (+522' total roundtrip elevation gain)|
Hickman Natural Bridge - 2.05 Miles Round-Trip
Hickman Natural Bridge is a 133' long and 125' tall rock span carved from the Kayenta Formation. It's named for Joseph Hickman, a local school administrator and Utah legislator who was an early advocate of the Capitol Reef area.
Natural bridges are a type of natural arch distinguished by having had a current of water (such as a stream) play a significant role in its formation, and may now have or once had running water through the opening. Other observable (anthropomorphic) traits include a flat top over the opening that could be used as a bridge (vs a fully rounded top such as Delicate Arch).
Hickman Natural Bridge is located .95 miles from the Hickman Bridge Trailhead on Highway 24, 1.8 miles east of the Capitol Reef Visitor Center. The trail follows the Fremont River before rising away across varied terrain to a short loop that passes under the arch.
An interpretive brochure is available at the trailhead, and describes 17 points of interest that include archeological remains, solution cavities and large black boulders of basalt and andesite that originated on mountains west of the park 20M years ago:
The trail runs level below cliffs along the Fremont River before turning up to the Hickman Bridge and Rim Overlook - Navajo Knobs Trail split (.3 miles : 5,455'). The Hickman Bridge Trail veers left across a grassy terrace littered with large, black boulders.
These basalt and andesite boulders of volcanic origin came from the the cliffs of Boulder and Thousand Lakes mountains west of the park, and were carried here by debris flows.
The trail crests at .5 miles (5,560') and drops into a wash with walls dotted by solution cavities. It rises out to the loop split (.8 miles); turn right to reach the base of Hickman Natural Bridge (1.0 mile : 5,660'). The loop continues through the arch to high points with great views, and back to the main trail (1.25 miles).
- N38 17.326 W111 13.657 — 0.0 miles : Hickman Bridge Trailhead
- N38 17.366 W111 13.589 — .3 miles : Hickman Bridge - Navajo Knobs Trail split
- N38 17.437 W111 13.723 — .5 miles : Reach crest, drop into wash
- N38 17.417 W111 13.974 — .8 miles : Loop split to arch
- N38 17.489 W111 14.048 — 1.0 miles : Hickman Natural Bridge
- The Waterpocket Fold is a 100-mile long warp - or monocline - in the Earth's crust. The rock layers on the west side of the Waterpocket Fold have been lifted more than 7,000' higher than layers on the east. This dramatic 'tilt' in the land is very obvious and visible throughout the park.
- Capitol Reef National Park derives its name from two distinct features: rounded Navajo Sandstone domes that resemble the domes of capitol buildings throughout the US, and the impenetrable nature of the rugged monocline that limits passage, like a coral reef.
Rules and Regulations
- Dogs are not permitted on trails in Capitol Reef National Park.
- Writing on rocks is strictly prohibited. Fines apply.
Directions to Trailhead
The Hickman Bridge Trailhead is located 1.8 miles east of the Capitol Reef National Park Visitor Center on Highway 24 (north side of road).
Capitol Reef National Park
16 Scenic Drive
Torrey, UT 84775