Natural Bridges National Monument was the one place I kept telling myself I was going to go to last year and I never did. This year on our way home from camping in Bears Ears we finally decided to stop. I mean, they are on the same road so we didn’t really have an excuse to not go. So go, we did.
The first bridge we came to was Sipapu so we decided we might as well hike down to it. Little did I know (just kidding, I actually knew) it was the steepest hike in the park with an elevation change of 500 feet. Only 500, but it feels like a lot more than that on the way up, let me tell you that now. AND it’s the second largest natural bridge in the US right after Rainbow Bridge on Lake Powell. If you happen to be going from Moab to Lake Powell or are taking the scenic way to Capitol Reef, which I would highly recommend, this is the perfect stop to break up the drive.
Back to the hike, the way down was good, nice and not tough. At the bottom, we wandered around a little in the wash that goes under the bridge (making it a bridge, not an arch) before heading back up. We found a dead lizard in the water being eaten by tadpoles. I saw a cactus with a bright yellow flower, which I never see out here, and get really excited about it. We found a lens hood thing, too. I really enjoyed it down there and got so many pictures of the bridge above. I love those.
Then, unfortunately, it was time to go back up. It wasn’t the worst hike up ever, but it certainly was tough. It doesn’t help that I’m not in the best shape I could be. I had to stop more than I would have like and it didn’t help that it was like, a thousand degrees, blazing sun, with no wind. But, I did make it up, and it was glorious getting back to the parking lot and climbing into the 2000 degree car. We continued on to the next bridge, the Kachina bridge. This one was harder to spot and looked more like am amphitheater type thing. We skipped the hike down to this one and kept going.
The final bridge was Owachomo. This one is pretty thin at only 9 feet thick at the middle of the bridge. This one has the most possibility to collapse, but it’s hard to say when. It’s really cool to see things like this, these huge bridges and arches that can stretch hundreds of feet across and hundreds of feet high. Obviously, some are cooler than others, but I think they’re all pretty impressive. Overall, I liked the park and am definitely glad I went, but I’m not dying to go back. I thinks it’s an awesome place to stop between other parks and to see some pretty cool bridges.
Tips for visiting Natural Bridges:
- Bring lots of water because it gets real hot here. Like, real hot.
- If you have a whole day, head into Bears Ears right next door to do some exploring.
- If you hike down to Sipapu, know the hike back up is pretty tough. The hikes down to the other bridges are shorter and less strenuous.
- The hike to Sipapu Bridge is probably the coolest and if you can only do one in the park, I’d recommend this one.
- If you’re going from Moab to Capitol Reef or Lake Powell, take Highway 95 for the scenic drive and stop here.
- There is no phone service here. Or food. Eat in Blanding or head over to Bluff after for some Navajo tacos or fry bread french toast.
Have you been to Natural Bridges? What did you think of it? What’s the coolest arch or bridge you’ve seen?