Negro Bill Canyon (aka Morning Glory Canyon & Natural Bridge) was our second hike on our quick weekend camping trip in Moab. We hiked this the day after Slickrock Trail, and I was glad we had a shorter hiked planned since my legs were a little tired after our 10.5 mile adventure. I have been to Moab probably five times, have always passed by this trailhead, but never really interested to hike here. My main reasoning was because the parking area was always packed, and I like to stay away from the most popular trails. Since we were here in February, we figured it wouldn't be too crowded so on our way out of town, we stopped here for a quick hike.
I don't think anyone is fond of the canyon name, but it is named after a black prospector and rancher who grazed his cattle here in the late 1800s. The trail follows a perennial stream, along tall Navajo Sandstone, through an oasis of cottonwood and willow trees. Most people say it's not about the destination, it's the journey getting there that is more rewarding. I beg to differ with this trail. The payoff at the end is the spectacular Morning Glory Natural Bridge, which spans 243ft, and is the 6th largest natural bridge in the U.S.! This is one trail the whole family will enjoy. In Summer, bring your water shoes as crossing in the stream will feel refreshing. In Winter, you may want to bring microspikes, since most of the trail is shaded by canyon walls.
From SLC head south on I-15, and take exit 257 for Spanish Fork Canyon. Drive past Price, UT, then take I-70 East towards Green River. Take exit 182 for Moab. Drive south on HWY 191 for 29 miles. Turn left onto UT 128, and drive just past the 3 mile marker, and you will see the black BLM sign for "Grandstaff Trailhead" and parking lot on the right side of the road. Overflow parking is available on the left side of the road. I highly recommend getting here before 10am to get a spot and to see less people. There is one restroom at the TH. Here's a driving map if coming from Moab town center.
Distance: 4 miles RT
Elevation gain: 300 ft
Time: 2-4 hours
Dog friendly? Yes, off leash!
Kid friendly? Yes
**Be aware of poison ivy along trail**
The parking area.
Official Trailhead! The day we hiked was overcast, and temperatures had warmed to 55F the day before so the trail was a bit muddy.
Entering Negro Bill Canyon.
Lots of stream crossings and water for the dogs to drink from.
Along the hike you'll see tall canyon walls made from Navajo Sandstone.
Icicles form on the left side. The weather is never too cold for Charlie to take a quick dip!
The last 1/2 mile was my favorite part of the hike, as you enter a section of the canyon that leads to the natural bridge. It was so pretty!
Nice view of the canyon, with a glimpse of Morning Glory Natural Bridge at the end.
Just before you reach the natural bridge, if you veer off the trail to the left a little, you'll find a resemblance of a slot canyon. This part was only about 10-15 ft long, but just think what it will look like in thousands of years!
After about an hour, we reached Morning Glory Natural Bridge, well, in all it's glory!
Another angle of Morning Glory Natural Bridge
My favorite photo of the day, taken by @iboyer.
View of the map looking East.