With only a day to spare, my husband and I made sure we got to see the two famous natural rock arches in Capitol Reef —
Hickman Bridge & Cassidy Arch
I’m actually not surprised that Hickman Bridge is the most famous hike in Capitol Reef. Just an easy 2-mile round trip hike with an elevation gain of 400 feet, and you end up under a 300-foot natural arch. Easy and rewarding hikes are the best!
From the parking lot the trail takes you through the side of a huge rock wall, right next to the Fremont River. (Be careful because rock fall is very common in this area. Do not stay long in one place.) It will then take you all the way up and into a flat land, which then leads up to a canyon.
All the rock formations surrounding the place are magnificent. Everywhere you look, you would always get a picture-perfect scene!
The trail from the Grand Wash all the way up to Cassidy Arch is only 3 miles round trip, with an elevation gain of 950 feet. It involved scrambling through rocks and boulders, and walking close to the edge of a cliff, which makes it a thrilling hike. We even found a snake along the trail, which also added more thrill! haha!
As we were making our way up, one hiker warned us about a thunderstorm passing. We also came across two other hikers who didn’t complete the hike because it started drizzling. Because of this, we were very hesitant to move on with the hike because of possible lightning strikes. We contemplated for a bit, but then saw the clouds moving away from where we were, so we trusted our instincts and moved on. We definitely didn’t stay too long after reaching the arch though, just to be extra safe.
With a worried mind, it was such a relief to finally see Cassidy Arch at a short distance. We raced to it at this point, and I would say that it was worth every single step. I also made sure I didn’t miss the opportunity to walk on top of the arch!
Driving through Capitol Reef reminded me of big castles, but made of huge red rocks. If Mars had kingdoms and people living on it, I think this is what it would look like. This place is definitely out of this world!
I will definitely try to stay longer the next time I visit. This was probably one of the less-crowded parks i’ve ever been to, and it was nice to experience it that way.
NEED TO KNOW
Location: Capitol Reef National Park is located in Utah’s south-central desert.
Highlights: Famous for its multi-colored sandstone cliffs & domes, as well as some natural rock arches.
Camping: Fruita Campground ($20/night) – available all year-round, first-come first served.
Fees: $10 to travel through the Scenic Drive. You can also purchase the America the Beautiful Pass for $80, which gives you, and everyone inside your vehicle, access to all National Parks and other federal recreation sites, for a whole year.
If you’ve been to Capitol Reef National Park before, what other natural rock arches did you see? Let me know so I can take note for my next visit!