Natural Bridge Trail, Death Valley

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If you’re in the mood for another short hike, you can take a dirt road up to the trailhead for the Natural Bridge trail. Before leaving the parking area, climb up the mound of dirt behind the restrooms and take in the view.

Death Valley National Park - Natural Bridge Trail

Death Valley National Park - Natural Bridge Trail

It takes about a half mile hike to reach this trail’s namesake, the Natural Bridge. But it’s a tough half mile, uphill the entire way. You’ll be glad you brought a bottle of water.

Death Valley National Park - Natural Bridge Trail

The trail continues (still uphill!) past the bridge. Go far enough and you’ll find a couple of dry waterfalls.  I chose to turn around.

Death Valley National Park - Natural Bridge Trail

You should hike just a few hundred feet past the natural bridge, if only for the view. Look under the bridge and you can see the Panamint Mountains in the distance.

Death Valley National Park - Natural Bridge Trail - Wildflowers

If you don’t keep a close eye on the trail as you hike down from Natural Bridge, you might end up in the wrong place.  Near the parking lot, the trail separates from the wash.  I didn’t realize where I was until I saw the parking lot in the distance.  I didn’t mind, though.  Because of my mistake I found a spot where wildflowers were springing up everywhere.

Death Valley National Park - Natural Bridge Trail - Wildflowers

These are just a few of the flowers I found flourishing in the dry wash.  Of course, I’m sure it wasn’t dry a few months earlier, during the heavy rains of 2004 and 2005.

Death Valley National Park - Natural Bridge Trail - Wildflowers

Death Valley National Park - Natural Bridge Trail - Wildflowers

Death Valley National Park - Natural Bridge Trail - Wildflowers

Death Valley posts updates on the wildflower bloom every spring.  You can reach that website by clicking here.  Generally, the bloom starts on the valley floor around mid-February.  By the end of April those flowers are mostly gone, but by then, wildflowers in higher elevations should be in full bloom.  Above 4,000 feet, the bloom can last until early June.

Note: This trip was first published in 2005.  I spent much more time in Death Valley during the Superbloom of 2016.

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