Hickman Bridge: One of the Top Hikes in Capitol Reef

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If you’ve been looking into National Parks in the U.S., you’ve most certainly already heard about Capitol Reef National Park. In my opinion, Capitol Reef is Utah’s most underrated national park. The canyon views, the colors, and the sounds of the river make this one heck of a place! More so, adding some hikes in Capitol Reef is simply a MUST!

hickman bridge trail in utah
Canyon Views in Capitol Reef National Park

Oh, how the light hits differently here! It’s so lovely! Certainly, I can reassure you that this park deserves a space in your itinerary.

As for my own itinerary, I covered Capitol Reef National Park on day 5 of my trip. So, here’s how I did it.

>> 9-Day Itinerary for Utah’s Mighty Five National Parks <<

1st Day: Arrive in Salt Lake City

2nd Day: Antelope Island State Park and drive to Moab

3rd Day: Arches National Park and Wilson Arch

4th Day: Canyonlands National Park and Deadhorse Point State Park

5th Day: Capitol Reef National Park

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6th Day: Bryce Canyon National Park

7th Day: Zion National Park – Day 1

8th Day: Zion National Park – Day 2 and Red Hollow Slot Canyon

9th Day: Parowan Gap Petroglyphs and drive back to Salt Lake City

Let me know in the comment section if you would like an in-depth post on my trip itinerary to Utah!

fremont river in hickman bridge trail in utah

Best Hikes in Capitol Reef National Park

Personally, I think one of the best hikes in Capitol Reef National Park is Hickman Bridge. It’s actually one of the most popular ones, too.

For starters, the Hickman Natural Bridge stands at 133 feet long and 125 tall.

hickman bridge best hikes in capitol reef
The Hickman Bridge during an early morning

Although it’s not huge, it is absolutely beautiful! Surrounded by breathtaking canyon views and rock formations, this trail is one to take your breath away.

Hiking the Hickman Bridge Trail

The Hickman Bridge trailhead is located east of the visitor center. You’ll begin the hike parallel to the Fremont River and shortly, you will begin a short climb.

I really need to mention that this is a sun-exposed hike.

fremont river on hickman bridge trailhead in capitol reef national park
This is the beginning of the Hickman Bridge Trail
best hikes in capitol reef

Meaning, that there are hardly any shaded areas along this 2.2-mile roundtrip trail. Therefore, wear a hat and use sunscreen–reapplying often.

fremont river in capitol reef national park
Fremont River, Utah

Along the trail, you will find many incredible spots where you can just sit and soak in the views.

The plants and prickly pear cactus, the white Navajo sandstone, and walking through a wash are some of my favorite highlights from this hike.

canyon views in utah's national parks
Capitol Reef National Park, Utah
prickly pear cactus in capitol reef
Prickly Pear Cactus

Just about halfway down the trail, you will see a small natural bridge below the trail. This bridge is actually evidence of the erosive power of water.

If you walk under the bridge and turn around facing the bridge, you’ll catch an amazing view!

best hikes in capitol reef
Soak in the views!

Even more, if you catch the rays of sunlight peeking in. It’s one heck of a feeling to stand still and let it all in. Natural beauty at its finest!

The Hickman Bridge Fork – Right or Left?

hickman bridge trail in capitol reef
The Hickman Bridge Fork

When you finally arrive at the fork with the sign that says Bridge, you have two choices. It is a loop that goes around the bridge but you can begin either to the right or to the left.

Go right to enjoy the canyon views before getting to the bridge. In this case, once you’re here, you’ll want to walk past the bridge and turn around for the most impressive view.

hickman bridge trail in utah

Or, go left and hike through plants and different rock formations until you arrive at the bridge. In this case, the bridge will provide you with its most beautiful view!

Then, walk under it to catch the canyon views on your way back.

hickman bridge trail in utah
The Hickman Bridge Trail is beyond beautiful!

Which way to go at the fork will all depend on your preference, but your choice will definitely define your experience in this amazing hike.

And at this moment, with the Hickman Bridge right in front of you, you will totally get why this is one of the best hikes in Capitol Reef National Park.

hickman bridge in capitol reef national park
The Hickman Natural Bridge, Capitol Reef National Park

Hickman Bridge Trail | Distance: 2.2 miles roundtrip | Difficulty: Moderate | Elevation Gain: 400 ft

best hikes in capitol reef national park
The way back is just as beautiful!

What to Wear for Your Hikes in Capitol Reef National Park

The majority of this trail is through sand and slick rocks. Pay attention to your steps and wear adequate hiking footwear.

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1. Hiking Boots or Sandals

For this hike, I went in my hiking sandals and it was the best decision ever! Although I do love my hiking boots, for some reason, I find that my hiking sandals give me a more stable grip on rocks.

Find what works best for you, and stick with that.

2. Hiking Socks

If you decide on wearing hiking boots, make sure to wear hiking socks instead of regular cotton ones. You’ll thank me later!

This is one of the most beautiful hikes in Capitol Reef National Park! Check it out! #capitolreef @capitolreefnps #hiking Click To Tweet

3. Hats

As for the hat, I went with just a regular one, but if you have a brimmed hat that would be perfect!

canyon views in capitol reef

4. SPF shirt

One of my favorite things to wear on hikes is an SPF shirt. These are great because they protect you from the sun and you don’t have to feel all sticky from sunscreen while you’re hiking.

Most of all, pack salty snacks and plenty of water for this hike, especially in the warmer months.

Would you love to hike the Hickman Bridge Trail in Capitol Reef National Park? Let me know in the comments!

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best hikes in capitol reef national park in utah
Yanitza Ninett
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Yanitza is one 1/2 of the Next Stop Adventures dynamic duo with 15+ years of hiking experience and adventure travel. As a PADI-certified Scuba diver, she's also passionate about ocean conservation. When she's not exploring the great outdoors, Yanitza obsesses over The Vampire Diaries and dreams of traveling to Spain.

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