Natural Bridges National Monument is a unique destination in Utah that we visited and are happy we did. The day we spent there was quite enjoyable and one of the highlights of our five week road trip.
Located halfway between Canyonlands and Corral Reef National Parks, the Natural Bridges Monument is off of Highway 275 just west of the Bears Ear National Monument.
The park has three natural bridges that visitors can see from scenic viewing areas or hiked to. We saw only two of the three bridges because we simply ran out of time.
The two bridges we hiked to were quite impressive. We chose the Sipapu to Kachina bridge loop trail.
Sipapu Natural Bridge
Because the Sipapu Bridge is the second largest natural bridge in the world we chose to visit it first.
The way down to the Sipapu bridge is very steep. The trail includes a staircase and three ladders that hikers must navigate. Halfway to the bridge, there is a walkable ledge in the bluff that allowed us to see the lush canyon below us as well as a perfect elevated view of the Sipapu bridge.
Once we were in the canyon and at the base of the first bridge, we quickly looked around to get our bearings and find the next section of the trail.
The path from the Sipapu bridge to the Kachina bridge was basically following a dried river bed through the canyon. We meandered our way through a sand and small rock canyon.
As we walked along, the walls of sandstone cliffs on either side of us guided our way. We were in awe of all the towering rock formations and natural wonders on the path. This section of the trail was quite easy and pleasant to hike.
As a word of caution, this park is located in a desert! It’s important to carry plenty of water on the hiking trail. We did encounter some hikers who were struggling because they were not well prepared.
Kachina Natural Bridge
Once we arrived at the Kachina bridge, we ate lunch, took a few pictures and started our climb out of canyon. The bridge is massive because of its span and is thought to be the “youngest” of the bridges in the park.
The climb back up from Kachina was equally steep as our earlier descent and we were happy to get to the top. We were certainly reminded that descending is easier than climbing.
Horsecollar Ruin Overlook Trail
We also hiked the short tail to the Horsecollar Ruin Overlook before leaving the park. This trail leads over the mesa top to the edge of the White Canyon. From this vantage point, we could see the remains of an ancestral Puebloan cliff dwelling in a large alcove near the bottom of the canyon. The ruins include two granaries and a kiva which was used as a meeting and ceremonial room.
We throughly enjoyed our day at Natural Bridges National Monument. It is a great park that is less busy than the national parks, yet boasts incredible natural structures and beauty.
For other Utah stories go to: