After driving through Capitol Reef a couple times and exploring the south end a little bit, it was time for a proper visit to the scenic road in the north. There is the highway that passes through the park and the 10-mile (one way) scenic drive near the visitors center taking you further into the park. Both have a number of hikes and orchards along the way with plenty to do for a whole or half day in Capitol Reef.
Hickman bridge trail is one of the first and easiest hikes in Capitol Reef. It’s not a long hike, but it felt like it took forever. Maybe it’s because it was so hot or I just wasn’t in great shape. I’m not really sure, but it was totally worth it.
The first part of the hike to Hickman bridge is a little uphill with some switchbacks along a wash for some parts, then you start to walk up higher with the wash below. Eventually, the canyon walls start to tower over you and you think you’re never going to make it. Or you don’t. Who knows. After a while, you come to a sign giving you two options to get to the bridge. One isn’t better than the other, you’ll get there either way, but I liked going to the right.
We went right and it was a little shorter that way to actually get to Hickman Bridge. We rounded a corner with a wonderful view of the bridge and spent a little time hanging around up there, catching our breath and rehydrating. The trail continues under Hickman Bridge making a loop back to the sign.
We wandered a bit off trail here to enjoy the view of the rest of the park below. The sky was stormy looking and the breeze was ideal. This was probably my favorite spot in the park so far, but I really enjoy a lot of it. Headquarters Canyon in the Waterpocket Fold is my other favorite spot. Eventually, it was time to keep going and see what the rest of the park had to offer.
I really enjoyed the hike to Hickman Bridge, even if it felt like it took forever. I still think Capitol Reef deserves more visitors, but I’m ok with it not being as crazy as the rest of Utah’s parks. I would love to explore more of Capitol Reef, there’s just so much to it!
Tips for hiking to Hickman Bridge in Capitol Reef:
- The entire Hickman Bridge Trail is about two miles round-trip with 316 feet of elevation gain.
- I would plan 1-2 hours for the hike depending on your fitness level and how much you like to stop.
- Make sure to bring and actually drink lots of water because it gets really hot here. You will be able to find some shade right by Hickman Bridge, but not much on the rest of the trail.
- Wear sunscreen when you visit.
- From the visitor center, you’ll take a right onto Highway 24, then it will be on your left in about two miles.
- If you like Geocaching, there are tons of them on the way in and out of the park along Highway 24.
Have you been to Capitol Reef? Did you hike to Hickman Bridge? What did you think of it? Do you want to go?