100 Days of National Parks: Day 54 – Hickman Bridge, Capitol Reef National Park

As one of the easier hikes in Capitol Reef National Park, the short 2 mile trail to Hickman Bridge is definitely worth the stop, just for the chance to pass under the impressive natural span of sandstone. Other than Natural Bridges National Monument, I’ve never found a place with a more accessible, and stunning display of a natural bridge. Whether combined with a longer hike out to the Rim Overlook, which looks down upon the orchards of Fruita Valley, or as a short diversion when passing through the park, it’s definitely worth the stop.

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Hickman Bridge

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As one of the easier hikes in Capitol Reef National Park, the short 2 mile trail to Hickman Bridge is definitely worth the stop, just for the chance to pass under the impressive natural span of sandstone.  Other than Natural Bridges National Monument, I’ve never found a place with a more accessible, and stunning display of a natural bridge.  Whether combined with a longer hike out to the Rim Overlook, which looks down upon the orchards of Fruita Valley, or as a short diversion when passing through the park, it’s definitely worth the stop.

Continue reading “100 Days of National Parks: Day 54 – Hickman Bridge, Capitol Reef National Park”

100 Days of National Parks: Day 42 – Landscape Arch, Arches National Park

Sometimes the places you visit are so clearly ephemeral and short-lived that being there takes on added meaning. Walking along the Devil’s Garden Trail in Arches National Park and seeing the long, narrow span of Landscape Arch, the longest freestanding natural arch in the world, is just such an experience.

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Landscape Arch

 

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Sometimes the places you visit are so clearly ephemeral and short-lived that being there takes on added meaning.  Walking along the Devil’s Garden Trail in Arches National Park and seeing the long, narrow span of Landscape Arch, the longest freestanding natural arch in the world, is just such an experience.

Continue reading “100 Days of National Parks: Day 42 – Landscape Arch, Arches National Park”

100 Days of National Parks: Day 12 – At the Goblin Gates, Olympic National Park

The Goblin Gates of the Elwha River in Olympic National Park are fairly easily accessible, located just a few miles from the Whiskey Bend Trailhead in the northern part of the park. This dramatic start of the Elwha Gorge is breathtaking in person, as the narrow gap in the rocks funnels the river past in a rushing torrent, the swirling waters outside the “Gates” a dizzying eddy in the impressive, and important, river.
A few miles downstream from this spot, the Elwha passes through another, far deeper canyon, Glines Canyon, where the biggest dam removal project in U.S. history was completed in 2014, allowing access to critical spawning grounds for several species of salmon. This proved to be one of the most important ecological victories of the conservation movement in recent memory, and a testament to the importance of clear waterways. Since the dam’s removal, there has been a significant rise in spawning salmon and trout populations, and the ensuing increase in biodiversity has been directly linked to the removal of the dam. More information about the removal can be found here.
I look forward to my next trip up the Elwha, perhaps later this spring when the melting snow higher in the mountains pushes the flow through the canyon to its heights. It’s really an impressive place, and just one of many spectacular sights in the Olympic Wilderness.

At the Goblin Gates

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The Goblin Gates of the Elwha River in Olympic National Park are fairly easily accessible, located just a few miles from the Whiskey Bend Trailhead in the northern part of the park. This dramatic start of the Elwha Gorge is breathtaking in person, as the narrow gap in the rocks funnels the river past in a rushing torrent, the swirling waters outside the “Gates” a dizzying eddy in the impressive, and important, river.

A few miles downstream from this spot, the Elwha passes through another, far deeper canyon, Glines Canyon, where the biggest dam removal project in U.S. history was completed in 2014, allowing access to critical spawning grounds for several species of salmon.  This proved to be one of the most important ecological victories of the conservation movement in recent memory, and a testament to the importance of clear waterways.  Since the dam’s removal, there has been a significant rise in spawning salmon and trout populations, and the ensuing increase in biodiversity has been directly linked to the removal of the dam.  More information about the removal can be found here.

I look forward to my next trip up the Elwha, perhaps later this spring when the melting snow higher in the mountains pushes the flow through the canyon to its heights.  It’s really an impressive place, and just one of many spectacular sights in the Olympic Wilderness.