Hickman Land Bridge – Capitol Reef NP

Distance1.9 mi
Elevation Gain443 ft
My Time51 min
DifficultyModerate
Closest TownTorrey
Food NearbyPioneer Kitchen

Hickman Land Bridge

I loved all of my hikes at Capitol Reef and the Hickman Land Bridge was no exception. This trail had a bit of everything with a river, steep hike up a cliff, rock formations and even sand that felt like a beach!

Getting Started

Hickman Land Bridge is located on Utah 24 just a little ways past the visitor center at Capitol Reef National Park. There is a smaller parking area but a lot of people also park down the road. The hike itself actually starts with a great little walk near the Fremont River.

This was the first running water that I remember seeing in Utah so it seemed a little special.

The Climb

Once you start walking past the river the trail will do a bit of a switchback and you will begin the main climb of the hike. It isn’t terrible but it is consistent. In a third of a mile the trail will elevate about 200 feet with a consistent grade of about 12% incline. Not the worst but something to keep in mind. After this short climb the trail becomes a little less steep.

The steep section towards the beginning of the trail to the HIckman Land Bridge.  This is a dirt trail that is a pretty consistent 12% grade with rocks on either side.

The Sand

When you clear the steep section you will come to a junction between the Hickman Bride Overlook trail and the Hickman Bridge trail. If you want to get close to the bridge, make sure you stay on the bridge trail. I did not take the overlook trail.

Once you start down the Bridge trail you will come to an area that seems like it was a river at one point. There are trees and some shade and the trail becomes deeper sand. It is like walking on a beach in the middle of Utah.

The Hickman Bridge Trail turns to sand in the middle section of the trail. Green trees hug the left side of the gully with sand at the base and steep rocks to the right.

The sand only lasts for maybe a quarter mile before you end up back walking on rocks but it was very interesting to me.

The Bridge

The trail gets a little trickier as you get closer to the bridge itself. It is mostly walking on large boulders. They make for a decent path so it isn’t too challenging but they do get a little narrow which makes passing a little tough.

You will be able to see the bridge right where the trail splits into a loop. If you continue straight on the trail it will take you along the back side of the loop. If you head over the rocks to the right it will take you directly under the bridge.

The Hickman Land Bridge stretching from the top of the screen to the bottom directly across the center with blue sky on either side.  The picture is taken from directly under the bridge that you can walk under.

The nice thing about being able to walk under the bridge is that you get a chance to see it from all of the different perspectives. As you are walking up to it, from under it and as you pass it. After seeing it in all those perspectives, I am not sure why this one isn’t considered an Arch while all the other ones I saw were!

The view from behind the Hickman Land Bridge.  The bridge looks a lot like the arches I had seen in the parks in Utah with an arching underside and a flat top.

The Loop

So many people just walked out to the bridge and then headed back the same way but if you finish the loop I think it gives some of the best views in the park. Here is a quick look at the backside of the loop.

Elevation and Distance

If you don’t have the AllTrails app you might want to check it out, I really love mine. It records your progress and is a great way to search for hikes that are nearby and gives you difficulty measurements. According to AllTrails today’s hike was around 1.9 miles and had a total elevation gain of about 443 feet including undulations. That put the high point at around 5,735 feet. I was also moving for a total of 51 minutes.

Effort

The Hickman Land Bridge hike starts with a pretty steady incline that levels out after about the halfway point. For the second half of the hike there are some spurts of incline but nothing as difficult as the initial hill. One of the most challenging parts of this hike is dealing with the terrain changes.

Terrain

A couple of different terrains to deal with on this hike. The trail is well defined for the most part. It will start as a hard packed dirt trail that will transition to soft sand in the middle section. The sand gets a little deep like walking on a beach but doesn’t last long. Towards the land bridge, the trail will get more rocky and you will have to walk on top of some slickrock. The trail will transition back to harder dirt for the loop around the bridge.

Access

The Hickman Land Bridge trail head is located about a half mile east of the visitor center on Utah 24 at Capitol Reef National Park. There is parking for about 15 cars at the trailhead. On a busy weekend when I was there cars were parked up and down the side of the road as well. There is a pit toilet at the trailhead. Capitol Reef is part of the national parks system and there is a $20 fee per vehicle. An annual or lifetime national park pass is accepted as well.

Wrapping up Hickman Land Bridge

I really enjoyed this park. It was my last stop at the park and I really wish I would have stayed longer and done the overlook trail as well. Being able to get so close to the arch and actually walk under it was also very cool.

The trail surprised me with the river, the sand and the all of the rock formations. It was like the best of all worlds in the middle of Utah. While the park was crowded it felt less crowded than the parks in Moab so the hikes were that much more enjoyable.

I have added this hike and all of my hikes to the interactive map page you can find here. If you have any suggestions for hikes or comments feel free to email me at fatmanlittletrails@gmail.com. You can follow me on any of the below social media platforms. Happy Hiking!

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