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Hike to Massacre Natural Bridge

Platina, California

based on 1 reviews



1 miles

Route Type



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

Hike to Massacre Natural Bridge Reviews

It was not on my list of places to see, yet locals asked if I had been to "The Bridge" constantly during my 1st year as a newbie. After a year I became a local and it was insult to not visit the bridge but I was not interested. I've seen many sights during my 7 years in missoula and a 70 foot bridge ain't that big or grand. But then a new girl moved to town who was way too good for me but her pickins was real slim up there and she chose me even though I was an oddball local, half Japanese, all swarthy and unkept, living my mountain lifestyle unemployed. We had only been together a couple months when she told me that she wanted to see "The Bridge" since before she moved to Wildwood. That she wanted me to take her to it. I thought to myself, "what a waste of time" but said Yea, Let's go! because every time I saw her raw natural beauty a kindness rose in me. About ten day later we snuck away at dawn just the two of us. I picked her up and during the slow drive thru 25 mph roads she talked about her past and family. At some point she joked about how much I like her "big knockers" and blonde hair. I blushed and said, "No, I like your skinny butt and blue eyes". After the pause she started talking about mom and told me her mom is half O'Sage indian and that her uncle is the current chief of the tribe. That her uncle is gay and childless, that her mother had no sons and that her 1st born son will become chief of the O'sage. That it's her duty to visit sacred sites,.... then she laughed about how I thought she was a white girl. We had been under the bridge, in the creek and given up trying to find hidden caves when we walked up the hill to the top of the bridge and crept out to the most dangerous cliffs when she began to speak. She told me of Fremont and his men, that in their vengeance drove an entire village to this point where we now stand. That one by one they chose to jump rather than surrender or fight. We stood there for a long time. looking,.. pondering, wondering if we held the same courage. As I look back on my life, that day was one of the most heart wrenching and moving days of my past.

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!


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