• Activities:

    Photography, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Beginner

  • Season:

    Spring, Summer, Autumn

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    1.84 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    400 Feet

Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Scenic

This short but scenic hike offers amazing views of Hickman natural bridge and the surrounding area at Capitol Reef National Park.

Starting at 5350' in elevation, the hike to Hickman natural bridge is one of the best hikes in Capitol Reef National Park for families with small children. The hike is just under two miles round trip and doesn't include any steep or exposed sections.

You'll begin your hike next to the Fremont River, surrounded by towering sandstone cliffs. The path is well defined and cairns make it easy to follow. This area is rich in desert vegetation, which makes for interesting photography when contrasted against the sand and rock formations. While on this hike, keep a sharp eye out for petroglyphs and other signs of the ancient Native Americans that used to live in the area. To the right side of the trail at about .6 miles, there is a hole in the side of the cliff that was used for grain storage in the distant years of the past. If you're tall enough, you can even get a look inside to see the remains of anything that was once there.

As you continue your hike, the landscape opens up more and you can catch amazing views of the rest of Capitol Reef. This area can be particularly well photographed if you use a wide angle lens to capture as much of the landscape as possible.

At .92 miles you will arrive at Hickman natural bridge. The impressive land formation spans 130' and rises 125' above the trail. This spot is especially impressive at sunrise when the warmer light enhances the color of the sandstone.

The trail loops around the backside of the bridge and then continues back on the same path. The trip takes approximately one hour to complete, plus or minus twenty minutes depending on the fitness of the hiker.After experiencing Hickman natural bridge, hikers can explore many more trails, find petroglyphs or pitch a tent at the Fruita campground to stay for the night.

Pack List

  • Hiking shoes
  • Water bottle(s)
  • Camping equipment if staying overnight
  • Camera
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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Reviews

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We just did this hike a few days ago with 5 kids (ranging from 2 to 12 years old). The hike was pretty easy going and the bridge at the end was beautiful. The kids only cried when we told them we had to leave :)

6 months ago
6 months ago

My kids (4 and 7) did this hike a day after doing an almost eight mile hike so I was a little worried. But the hike is really easy with an amazing view. The natural bridge was well worth the trip and is great as a quick in and out or even great to spend some time at the top just enjoying the scenery.

11 months ago
11 months ago

Did this as the second hike of the day to get some awesome pictures under the Hickman Bridge. Great payoff for such a short and easy hike!

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Excellent write-up about this great beginner hike! When we hiked to the bridge, the weather was over 100 F. I would recommend bringing 1 liter of water per person for this relatively short hike, as there is almost no shade on this trail (until you get to the bridge!). Don't forget to stop by the store in the National Park and get a homemade pie or a cinnamon roll, they're delicious!

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Katie Lyons Explorer

Trail running, skiing, and photography enthusiast from Gunnison, CO.

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