If you are looking for a secluded and unique hike Yellowstone National Park, look no further than the Natural Bridge Trail. The trailhead is located just south of the Bridge Bay Campground on the Grand Loop Road with another trailhead leaving from the campground.
We were camping at Bridge Bay so we hiked the 2.8 mile round trip trail one afternoon right after we had dinner. The trail is mostly flat and takes you through the trees for .7 miles where the tree cover helps the winter snow not melt well into summer. After that the trail met up with an old service road that we followed most of the way there. The trail forks with the service road going to the left and the trail going right and in between was a small pond. There were some ducks floating around on the water and a huge porcupine drinking on the edge. We tried our best to get a good picture but once it realized we were there it took off with quills ready to fire. I don’t think I had seen a porcupine before this one so I’m not sure if they are all giant but this one was larger than a toddler.
Maybe 50ft after the fork in the trail we reached the natural bridge. It was quite impressive with a water falling flowing through it and it something we had seen anywhere else in the park.
There was a very cool but somewhat old sign that humbly compared this arch to two of Utah’s largest arches (Rainbow and Landscape).
The trail continues to the top of the bridge and gives you the only part of the trail that isn’t flat. At the top you could easily stand on top of the natural bridge (but you really should not because it will likely break). There is also what looked like the remains of a stone bridge over the creek to go look at the other side but it appeared to have washed away at some point.
After taking some pictures and enjoying the solitude of the trail (we had seen nobody else there) we hiked back and kept an eye out for our porcupine friend. Much of this trail seemed somewhat rundown and dilapidated as if it had once been a very popular attraction but fell into obscurity. We really enjoyed this hike and was one of the few we got to do in our short time in Yellowstone. Whenever I get to return to Yellowstone I will probably be hiking this trail again!
Thanks! – Josh