Just two miles east of the Capitol Reef visitor center, the trailhead to Hickman Bridge offers hikers an easy, spectacularly scenic trek up to a large natural arch. The trail is not particularly long or steep, but it provides access to some amazing sites, including the large arch itself, as well as a smaller arch, and a Fremont pit house ruin and nearby granary.
Trail Type: Hiking
Length: 2 miles round trip
Hickman Bridge Parking Lot
The parking lot along Highway 24 marks the trailhead to the Hickman Bridge Trail.
The trail pushes east along the river for a tenth of a mile before beginning up the lower slopes of the Waterpocket Fold. At the top of the switchbacks, hikers will find a spur trail that runs 25 meters to the east, ending at a small Fremont pit house ruin. Only a little way past the pit house is a granary used by the same people.
One hundred yards after the granary, the trail crosses paths with a miniature arch, called the Nels Johnson Natural Bridge.
One of the better known sites of Capitol Reef, this natural bridge sits over 300 feet above the Fremont River and Highway 24, though still below the heights of the surrounding Waterpocket Fold.
Fremont River Overlook
The trail passes underneath the arch, and then swings south, heading down to the bluff overlooking the Fremont River. A nice viewpoint looks across the road to Fruita, and the mouth of Cohab Canyon.