Symbol Bridge Trail
ElevationAscent: 106' 32 m
Descent: 0' 0 m
High: 4,686' 1,428 m
Low: 4,580' 1,396 m
GradeAvg Grade: 2% (1°)
Max Grade: 5% (3°)
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“An open, exposed trail leading to two caves with pictographs left by Native Americans.”— QuinTCM TCM
Family Friendly This flat, easy trail leads to pictographs left by Native Americans seeking spiritual enlightenment - kids will love it!
About 3/4 of a mile from the trailhead, a short trail heading southwest leads to Big Painted Cave. More like a large opening than a cave, it is possible to discern pictographs on the surfaces of many of the smoother rocks. A small, dark opening in the back of the cave leads down to a short shoot with an ice floor at its terminus.
Continuing along the main trail, and very shortly after Big Painted Cave, the trail reaches Symbol Bridge. The pictographs at Symbol Bridge are more definite and dramatic than the ones at Big Painted Cave and offer a great opportunity for reflection.
From here, you can either continue underneath Symbol Bridge by scrambling over rocks along a route that appears moderately traveled or turn back the way you came. If continuing beneath Symbol Bridge, after making your way underneath, it is possible to exit the collapsed lava tube by crawling up the wall on the south side and then following a lightly used trail back to the entrance of Symbol Bridge. From here, take the main trail back to the parking area.
The book "Lava Beds Caves" by Charlie & Jo Larson is an excellent resource and guide for exploring the caves of Lava Beds NM. It is available for purchase at the Visitor Center.
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We need help with the following missing trail information:
Photos, ADA Accessible, Need to Know, Flora & Fauna
Land Manager: U.S. National Park Service - Lava Beds National Monument