Thursday, April 16, 2009

Hiking in Capitol Reef ~ Hickman Bridge & Rim Overlook

From the Hickman Bridge parking area there are two nice hikes; Hickman Bridge trail leads to a large natural bridge (an arch formed by water) and the Rim Overlook trail leads to a vantage point high above the canyon floor. These two trails were highly recommended, so we combined them into one hike, as they share the same trailhead. Both trails start by sharing a series of switchbacks, which brings you to a plateau where the two trails go off in separate directions.

The Hickman Bridge trail itself is a 2 mile round-trip self guided nature trail with a small, 400’ elevation change. At the start of this hike there is an information pamphlet you can purchase for 50-cents (honor system). Along the hike there are numbered posts that correspond to information telling about the significance about the stop in the pamphlet. Although interesting, we chose not to read as we hiked, and simply headed off to the bridge. From the plateau junction, the Hickman trail heads off to the left and soon follows along a hidden canyon wash. The trail and the wash become one, so you are walking up the wash basically. To the right of where the trail starts heading up and out of the canyon, there is a very small unnamed bridge spanning the wash. Here you can climb onto and underneath giving you up close and varied perspectives. It was fun to take a moment to explore and of course click a few photos. The trail continues up the ridge until you reach another junction which is the starting/ending point of a loop trail that brings you to Hickman Bridge. This loop trail goes under the bridge and loops back to the starting point. It offers many great varying views of Hickman Bridge and interesting terrain to explore.

Getting our photo-fill, we hiked back to the Hickman Bridge and Rim Overlook trail junction and started our Rim Overlook trail trek. This trail starts by walking over a different part of the same plateau and across a bigger wash. After crossing this wash, the trail follows along the wash for about a ½ mile working it’s way up a large ledge along the canyon wall. About half way from the overlook there are vast views of the valley and the snow capped Harris Mountains in the distance – really quite beautiful. Even if you do not want to hike to the rim overlook, going to this point on a clear day is well worth the time.

Continue to the overlook, the terrain consists of many juniper trees, fallen rocks and smooth rock ledges to walk out on to see views along the south scenic drive and the Fruita orchards. There is no sign telling you that you’ve gotten to the “overlook”, and the trail does continue to Navajo Knobs (another 2 ½ miles), so once you are overlooking Fruita, you know you’re there.

This trail was much less used than the Hickman Bridge trail. So if awesome views and solitude is what you are looking for then Rim Overlook trail is the one to hike. Have fun!!


Jerry and Suzy said...

Thanks again for a nice hike!

One Crafty Camper said...

You've got some beautiful pics on your blog, I'm enjoying looking through the posts.
Cheers from Tasmania.

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