Hike to Massacre Natural Bridge

Rate this Adventure 1 miles  - Loop Trail

Added by Becky Eldredge

This is a short hike to a 200 foot archway of limestone over 50 feet tall carved out by water. Explore the caves and rocks underneath, go rock climbing/bouldering, or just learn about the history of the Wintu Massacre that occurred here in 1852 nearly wiping out that entire band/tribe.

Natural Bridge is a historic/geologic site located near Hayfork, CA off Wildwood Road near Chanchelulla Peak in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. To get there take Hwy 36 or 299 to Hwy 3/Hayfork, then take Wildwood Road to Forest Service Road 31N19 (unpaved)- Natural Bridge is a mile or two off this road on the left.

There is a small parking area and 2 picnic tables at the trailhead, no water is available in the area except for very small (sometimes dry) creeks, and no restrooms. The hike is very easy & short, but impressive.

Start following the trail through the woods, it will eventually turn a bit and lower in elevation and you will see the opening to Natural Bridge. Follow the trail along the creek bed underneath the natural bridge & explore the rocks & caves under this 100 foot wide, 50 foot tall, limestone archway which is over 200 feet (created by the water flow). Go a little earlier in the season and the creek flowing underneath & through the archway should be higher but is mostly dry or trickling during summer.

Once you have explored to your hearts content (secret caves anyone?) follow the trail loop out of the other end of natural bridge. There is a small trail next to the outside exit to the right that looks to go up to the top of the bridge but is very steep- use caution. Follow the main trail into a loop back to the trailhead and parking/picnic area.

Note: as with all our norcal national forests, use caution when exploring during the late summer months due to illegal grow sites.

HISTORY/CULTURAL SIGNIFICANCE:The local Wintu native american tribe which inhabited much of Trinity County before the Gold Rush, say that Natural Bridge was formed when a mystical man, bearing a huge bundle of hides, came down Bridge Gulch. Tired and hungry, he slipped the bundle from his back and it rolled into the creek. The Indians called the bridge “Kok-Chee-Shup-Chee”, or “Bundle of Hides,” because of the texture and color of the walls.

This was the site of an Wintu Indian Massacre on April 23, 1852. A local by the name of JR Anderson was killed by Wintu's in 1852, the county sheriff & 70 other men were in hot pursuit of the killers for days. They finally setup camp at Hayfork Creek and scouts were sent to locate the Indians, and the scout was able to locate the wintu rancheria from atop natural bridge. Th sheriff & his men closed in at daybreak and masscred all 150+ of that Wintu tribe, men women and children. All that remained were 3 children that managed to escape. The Wintu that were massacred by the Sheriff & his men were not the same band of Wintu that had killed JR Anderson.

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Rock Climbing
Dog Friendly
Family Friendly
Picnic Area


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