Upper Hidden Bridge Canyon is an extremely challenging hike to see beautiful slot narrows and major dry falls in the most inaccessible portion of Hidden Bridge Canyon to reach. Difficulties encountered on the hike include figuring out the location of the canyon, route finding to use one of two different routes to get into Upper Hidden Bridge Canyon, and figuring out seven different bypasses if using the same route that our group did. Route maps and GPS coordinates are not provided in order to avoid a large amount of increased visitation to this area and to protect fragile formations.
Upper Hidden Bridge Canyon was a destination that I kept in mind for almost 2 1/2 years before visiting. I originally had hiked out to Lower Hidden Bridge Canyon (which contains Hidden Bridge itself) in March of 2009. That hike was extremely hard in view of the long distance required to reach it (about 10 miles each way). The area is shrouded in secrecy in an effort to protect and preserve Hidden Bridge. While a few hikers have found it in the past couple of years by studying maps and exploring the southern Cottonwood Mountains, all those who have found it have thankfully kept the location a secret and not published maps detailing how to get there. While studying Google Earth in preparation for this trip, I spotted what looked like an alternative route into Hidden Bridge Canyon. This new route would explore a couple of seldom (if ever) visited side canyons, which would connect and eventually lead to central Hidden Bridge Canyon. I had extremely high hopes for the rest of Hidden Bridge Canyon above the 1st major dry fall (which is located directly behind Hidden Bridge itself), mainly because the very short set of narrows at the bottom of the canyon are so spectacular and made up of beautiful polished rock. After hiking the two side canyons, which proved to be very interesting themselves (especially with the arches and Bighorn sheep that we found), we eventually made it up to the ridge overlooking central Hidden Bridge Canyon. Far below us we could see some spectacular deep slot narrows. This canyon was going to be a major success, we could tell already. Especially when we could hear our voices echoing off of the walls of the narrows when we shouted from above them. Then we ran into the challenging part. We struggled to find a bypass that would drop us into Middle Hidden Bridge Canyon to see the narrows we had spotted from above. We tried several different routes which all burned up a lot of time on the short December day. We ended up dropping into the upper canyon finally and hiked it down as far as we could. But we were stopped by a major dry fall that looked like it was about 30 feet high. We couldn't find any way around this, so we had to face the reality of our hike. We would only be able to see Upper Hidden Bridge Canyon. Middle Hidden Bridge Canyon would have to wait for another day. It was hard to take, I must say, but in the end I'm glad it worked out that way. Because now we have a reason to head back one more time to this spectacular area, which will be happening very soon. Upper Hidden Bridge Canyon also had some very nice narrows and very interesting side canyons, which you will see in the included pictures. On the hike back, we looped back to our vehicle by dropping into an alternate canyon which starts near the head of Hidden Bridge Canyon. We dropped in very close to a formation I named 5 Mile Rock, which we had passed by back in the Spring of 2011 when we used this canyon to access Upper Big Fall Canyon. I call this place 5 Mile Rock Canyon. Please keep in mind that this is a very advanced hike that requires excellent bypass skills and navigational abilities. It would be easy to get lost on this route or cliffed out if a hiker doesn't know what they are doing. Of all five hikes in this area -- Upper Hidden Bridge, Middle Hidden Bridge, Lower Hidden Bridge, Upper Big Fall, and Lower Big Fall -- this one is the most difficult to accomplish. Our hike took place on December 8, 2011.
Many more photographs taken during our visit are available for viewing for this destination. To see all of them, choose one of the two options presented below. The two options are Slideshow viewing and Trip Report viewing. The Slideshow option allows for viewing larger images with an autoplay option and a full screen option (available on most browsers). This option works very well for large computer screens and tablets. The Trip Report option allows for viewing smaller pictures in a standard scroll-down format and enlarging of any panoramic photos taken during our visit. Click on the option of your choice to view all of our photos from this destination. The Slideshow format opens in a new browser window and the Trip Report format uses the same browser window for viewing.
TRIP REPORT FORMAT