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Death Valley - Natural Bridge

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Rocky Canyon, Natural Bridge caused by swift water
Near:Death Valley, CA
Distance:1.5 miles round trip
Elevation Gain:500 ft
Hike Time:1 hours
Trail Condition:OK, but a few difficult spots
HikeType:Out and Back

Summary: This is a short hike on a gravelly pumice-filled wash. The trail is actually an ancient flood channel, as evidenced by the large boulders strewn here and there along the way. You will no doubt be able to tell how this canyon was carved from the surrounding desert. Reading the info at the trailhead kiosk can also give you a heads up as to what happened and is happening in the area of the hike.

The bridge is neat, but not spectacular, and if you only have time for one short hike, I would recommend a different one. A dry waterfall is - yawn - just a dry waterfall. Walking in the pumice isn't as much fun as it sounds, either.

However, the chutes on the sides of the canyon are very neat, boulders stuck in the top are just waiting on a precipice ready to crush what is underneath them. It is neat how the water carves a tube below the rocks.

If you plan to be awed by a natural bridge - go to Utah - Death Valley has better sights.

Trailhead: From the Furnace Creek Visitor Center, take the 190 South for a couple of miles until you reach the intersection with the 178. Turn right and travel South towards Badwater for about 14 miles. Turn left (east) onto the dirt road - it says Natural Bridge, and follow the wash boarded ruts for a mile and a half to the parking area. It may seem a little rough, but my buddy's low to the ground Honda made it just fine. The trail continues up for a short distance, and you'll be walking through rocky sand to your destination.

Visit the kiosk for some really valuable information about Death Valley's geology that will explain some of the weirdness you see on this hike. (Lat:36.2849 Lon:-116.76552)

Trail Guides for Death Valley - Natural Bridge:
Best Easy Day Hikes - Death Valley
by Bill Cunnigham and Polly Burke (Falcon)

Best Seasons: Fall, Spring, Winter,
User Groups: Hikers,
Ranger Contact: Death Valley National Park (760)786-2331
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Allen Riedel, who has posted  123 other hikes on this site. To visit this reporters web site, click here.
Trail Reviews  Submit your own review
Reviewed by David Briggs on 12/28/2006
The wife & I did this hike in February 2005. My parents were with us in which my dad (83yrs young) hike with us to the arch. We stopped their as my mom stayed in the car so we did not want to be gone long. Great hike to see mother nature's work. Traveling through Death Valley at this was great as this was the year with all the flowers blooming from the rains thay had. They said flowers were blooming that had not been seen in 100yrs. Lots of people that year.

Reviewed by Kat Green on 2/27/2004
I hiked it between storms this week and it was really nice with the water running everywhere. Of course, you have to be really, really careful if you hike in canyons during rain, but it's such a short hike, it's easy to watch the sky and be prepared. To make this hike more interesting, go beyond the arch and you can continue hiking up the slopes to the mountain behind -- nice view from on top!

Reviewed by JoelSax on 8/4/2003
I was not much impressed by this destination either. The bridge is more mud than rock. One good flash flood could take it out. If you need to run the wind out of some kids, though, you might consider this hike.

Notice: Traveling in the backcountry can be hazardous. You are responsible for informing yourself about these hazards and taking necessary precautions. Information on this web site comes from volunteer reporters and may contain errors or omissions. A current guidebook and proper equipment are essential for safe enjoyment of the hikes posted on this site.
Keys: California Hiking, California Trails, California Hikes, Inyo County Hiking, Inyo County Trails, Inyo County Hikes

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