Hickman Bridge is a natural bridge (not arch – bridge caused by water erosion) that sits at an elevation of apx 5700 ft above sea level. A short hike of 2.2 miles albeit the trip out is all climb to reach the bridge. The bridge is 133 feet across and 125 feet above the ground. A nice bridge to visit because you can travel under the bridge as well as climb above for a view from the top of the bridge.
Strenuous hiking today with several miles of moderate to steep climbing but well worth the effort with tremendous views. We first climbed to Cassidy Arch and then continued the hike to the highpoint of apx. 6400 ft on the Frying Pan Trail.
Sunday’s weather provided a beautiful backdrop for our drive and hike within the Waterpocket Fold District within CRNP. Our drive began with a thirty mile trek down the sandy and occassionally muddy Notom Road which provided spectacular views of the Reef and the Henry Mountains. We turned east at the junction with the Burr Trail to drive the incredible switchbacks to the top of the Reef. We then left the Burr Trail to journey up the 4WD track to the Strike Valley Overlook trailhead. After hiking up to see the impressive view of the full length of the valley we hiked back down and then hiked the Upper Muley Twist Canyon stopping at the Saddle Arch before returning to the jeep and back down the wash to the Burr Trail. The Burr Trail becomes paved after several miles and winds its way through numerous canyons ending at Rte 12 in Boulder. Boulder is an impossibly small town 40 miles from any other town but fortunately is the improbable home to a highly rated Zagat restaurant – Hell’s Backbone Grill. We had a great dinner and bottle of wine before heading north over the 9600 ft elevation of Deer Mountain within Dixie National Forest. A great way to celebrate Stephen’s birthday with a beautiful day and a wonderful dinner.
Today we hiked the Cohab Canyon to the North Overlook and a portion of the Frying Pan Trail. After a challenging initial climb consisting of 22 switchbacks and a 20% grade over a quarter of a mile we explored the canyon which included multiple slot spurs and a further climb to the North Overlook. We then made another climb up Frying Pan Trail which is completely on the Kayenta Formation. From there we retraced our steps back to the trailhead.
Today we hiked the Capitol Gorge Trail from the trailhead to the boundary of the park. Beautiful day with temperatures in the high fifties – perfect for hiking. After the hike we drove to Pleasant Creek on a 4wd track.
With rain in East Glacier and our need to head to Kalispel for our last night we opted to hike in West Glacier on the west slope of the Continental Divide where the weather was forecast to be dry and a good ten degrees warmer than East Glacier. We chose the Flathead Ranger Trail to give us a close up pespective of the Flathead River.
The weather was as projected and we had good last hike through burned forest area that provided a full 360 panoramic view of all the surrounding mountains including the Teakettle Mountains. The hike also provided a birdseye view of the confluence of the two forks of the Flathead River. Also, a great birding area and we saw many bluebirds along the trail above the river.
The Flathead Ranger trail is less well know so we had the trail to ourselves for the entirety of the eight mile roundtrip.
A sunny and cool day with no wind. A perfect day for our longest hike of the trip – 10.4 miles. The Iceberg Lake trailhead is located at the very end of Many Glacier Road. From there we climbed up to the lake which sits at 6200 feet. The entire hike provides spectacular vistas of mountain peaks, glaciers and the valley to the west. We crossed numerous waterfalls along the way and were fortunate to see several Mule Deer up close on the trail as well as Big Horn Sheep grazing above the trail.
Mt Wilbur and Iceberg Peak rise 3000 feet from the lake surface forming a cirque which surrounds the lake making for a most impressive experience at the end of a long climb.
We met a lovely British couple – Tony and Hilary – at the trailhead parking lot after completing the hike. They have been touring the west for the last three weeks – starting in Seattle and driving east through Washington and Idaho before finishing their trip in Montana. We have met several retired couples on this vacation who are on extended road trips and enjoying the experience immensely. Their experiences continue to fuel our desire to be “On the Road”.
Drove to Logan Pass on the Continental Divide. Hiked from visitors center to Hidden Lake overlook, then proceeded down to the lake, took a lunch break and headed back up as the weather changed to hail and gusty winds. A grizzly bear and her two cubs were sighted by other hikers, but we were too late to catch a glimpse of them. We did, however, spot two hoary marmots. Continued down the Going to the Sun Road to St. Mary. Stopped along the way to view Jackson Glacier.
A fairly strenuous eight mile hike with a 1900 foot elevation gain. A mix of sun and clouds on the ascent with a brief hail storm thrown in for good measure. Did not see a single person for the first 90 minutes of the climb and had the lookout to ourselves before some other hikers arrived. A picnic lunch provided a much needed rest before heading back to the trail head.
Heading up to Logan Pass tomorrow to hike to Hidden Lake. After the hike we will complete the drive on The Going to the Sun Road and spend the next three nights in St Mary.