Natural Bridge Trail

Death Valley National Park, California 92384

Distance2.3mi
Elevation Gain643ft
Trailhead Elevation390ft
Top878ft
Elevation Min/Max390/878ft
Elevation Start/End390/390ft

Natural Bridge Trail

Natural Bridge Trail is a hiking, biking, and horse trail in Inyo County, California. It is within Death Valley National Park. It is 2.3 miles long and begins at 390 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 1.4 miles with a total elevation gain of 643 feet. The Natural Bridge Parking is near the trailhead.

Natural Bridge Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"An easy, sloped canyon leads to a natural bridge that arches over the trail. The geological phenomena—faults, slipfaulting, chutes and dry fall, natural arch formation—are explained at the trailhead exhibits. Death Valley’s fascinating geologic history is featured on the kiosk at the trailhead of the Natural Bridge hike. Bedding and slipfaulting are explained on the board, and understanding the process makes the canyon’s display even more impressive.

Likewise, differential erosion is explained and illustrated, preparing you for the bridge. Fault caves, metamorphic layers of the Artist’s Drive Formation, and mud drips are other topics covered in this condensed version of physical geology. The kiosk is worth a lengthy pause before embarking on the hike. The canyon floor consists of loose gravel; that feature plus its sharp slope suggests this is a relatively young canyon."

"Death Valley’s fascinating geologic history is featured on the kiosk at the trailhead of the Natural Bridge hike. Bedding and slipfaulting are explained on the board, so the canyon ’s display is even more impressive. Likewise, differential erosion is explained and illustrated, preparing you for the bridge. Fault caves, metamorphic layers of the Artist’s Drive Formation, and mud drips are other topics covered in this condensed version of physical geology. The kiosk is worth a lengthy pause before embarking on the hike. The canyon floor consists of loose gravel; that feature plus its sharp slope suggests this is a relatively young canyon. The Death Valley floor continues to subside while the Funeral Mountains rise. Geologic forces are still busy here. The trail begins through deeply eroded volcanic ash and pumice canyon walls. The canyon gradually narrows. At 0.4 mile the bridge stretches over the canyon bottom. An ancient streambed is visible to the north of the bridge, where the floods swept around this more resistant section of strata before the pothole beneath it gave way to form the natural bridge."

"A gently sloped canyon leads to a natural bridge that arches over the canyon bottom. The geological phenomena—faults, slip faulting, chutes and dry falls, natural arch formations—are explained at a trailhead exhibit.

Death Valley’s fascinating geologic history is featured on the informational kiosk at the trailhead of the Natural Bridge hike. Bedding and slip faulting are explained on the board, so the canyon’s convoluted display is even more impressive. The canyon floor consists of loose gravel; that and its sharp slope suggest a relatively young canyon. Death Valley’s floor continues to subside while the Funeral Mountains rise. Dynamic geologic forces are still active here."

"This outing is one of the most rewarding short hikes in Death Valley National Park. It features an exciting walk into a precipitous canyon that leads to a rare natural bridge, an arch of stone that spans the narrow canyon. The short hike to Natural Bridge visits a rare rock span that arcs across the narrow, shady defile of lower Natural Bridge Canyon, one of myriad precipitous gorges on the west face of the Black Mountains in the southeast reaches of Death Valley National Park. The brief stroll to the bridge is an excellent leg stretcher for families touring the park, and hikers with extra energy are urged to hike as far as the impassable dry fall 1.0 mile from the trailhead."

Natural Bridge Trail Reviews

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12/26/2010
This is more of a walk than a hike. Narrow canyon that squeezes down, easy walking as this is a popular site, the trail is actually a graded road. The bridge is made of what appears to be hardened mud, not like what you see in Utah Arches NP or other parts of the country. Popular attraction, lots of tourists.
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3/17/2010
A nice simple hike with a lovely natural bridge along the way.
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1/1/2009
Very easy hike for all. The trail is a wash through a narrow canyon with some loose sandy spots. The natural bridge is impressive but continuing the hike further back to the dry falls is well worth it. Interesting sheer cliffs and evidence of past water falls provide beautiful scenery along the way through the canyon. This is short enough in distance and time that provisions normally taken on a hike can be left behind if desired.
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7/19/2008
My partner and I did this trail around noon, which is the hottest time to do anything, and we had a blast. The view of the bridge is perfect with the walls of the canyon closing in on you. It has a steady climb that would be no problem under ideal conditions, but with the heat and lack of air movement made it a difficult hike. We suggest you bring double the water on this trek to be safe. On the way down you can see for miles and it is breathtakingly beautiful.
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11/17/2000
This is a very simple hike to an enormous Natural Bridge that makes for great picture taking especially if you have someone stand under the bridge to accentuate its size. This hike travels up a deep flood channel that formed the bridge. If you travel past the bridge you can see beautiful basalt walls formed by the rushing water. I wouldn't want to hike this canyon under threatening skys.
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9/6/2000
Don't hike it in the middle of the day in the summer. The hike is very short (0.5 mile one-way) but the terrain lies 190 feet below sea level, which makes it rather difficult. However, it is the shortest and still probably easiest hike in the whole valley that get's you inside the walls and canyons of this magnificant place.
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Natural Bridge Trail Photos

Trail Information

Death Valley National Park
Nearby City
Death Valley National Park
Parks
Furnace Creek Visitor Center; (760) 786-3200; www.nps.gov/deva
Local Contacts
NPS Death Valley Visitors Map; Trails Illustrated Death Valley National Park Map; USGS Devils Golf Course-CA
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Jul 2018