Brimhall Natural Bridge is a pothole-style double arch hidden deep within the recesses of Capitol Reef National Park’s Brimhall Canyon, a tributary of Halls Creek down in the Waterpocket Fold. The arches are counted as favorites of many of the outdoorsmen and women that are willing to tackle the challenging route that picks its way down from Halls Creek Overlook on the edge of Big Thomson Mesa.
Trail Head: 37.74519, -110.909915
Trail Type: Hiking
Length: 4.6 miles round trip
Brimhall Canyon sits on the west end of the Waterpocket Fold, between Halls Creek Overlook to the east and Deer Point to the west. Halls Creek Overlook is located on the west end of the Big Thomson Mesa, which one can reach by taking the Burr Trail east through Capitol Reef, and then south once the road exits the park.
The Burr Trail swings south toward Lake Powell after passing through Capitol Reef, and 7.5 miles past the border of the nation park visitors will turn right at the Big Thomson Mesa Road.
This overlook owns an impressive view of the Waterpocket Fold, the geological formation that has given Capitol Reef its amazing and unique shape. Visitors can actually see deep into Brimhall Canyon from the overlook, and if they are alert enough, can catch a glimpse of the arches themselves from this point.
A steep switchback trail drops over 800 feet in the mile and a half that it takes to reach the streambed at the bottom of the Waterpocket Fold. The entance to Brimhall Canyon is only a few hundred yards south of where the trail descends into the drainage.
Less than half a mile from the bottom of the drainage, the canyon takes a right turn to the north, climbing up a partially hidden, rubble-strewn slope. Just at the top of the slope, the canyon makes another right-angle turn, this time to the left, heading west. The canyon here is narrow full of potholes that are often full of water.
The trail quickly becomes almost impassable—those who are not too confident in their hiking skills should consider it as such. The trail dead ends at a cliff that is directly across from the double arch. It is possible to hike around the right or the left side of the cliff, and so ascend up to the arches, but it is a tricky route that requires patience and skill.