Natural Bridges National Monument‘s “three majestic natural bridges invite you to ponder the power of water in a landscape usually defined by its absence. View them from an overlook, or hit the trails and experience their grandeur from below. Declared a National Monument in 1908, the bridges are named ‘Kachina,’ ‘Owachomo’ and ‘Sipapu’ in honor of the Native Americans that once made this area their home.” (From the park’s website)
Plan to spend at least two to three hours exploring Natural Bridges National Monument. Start at the visitor center and view the short film which provides an overview of the natural forces that created the Natural Bridges. Then tour the paved, one-way Bridge View Drive (9 miles) with overlooks of all three bridges and the Horse Collar Ruin. Several short hiking trails offer closer inspection of these remarkable formations, while longer trails follow the canyon bottom or mesa top connecting all three. Each overlook and trailhead has limited parking; if you are towing a trailer, unhook it and leave it in the visitor center parking lot.
Sipapu Bridge’s tremendous span inspires and awes the imagination. The second largest natural bridge in the United States is an incredible natural feature. As an aside, the largest natural bridge in the United States is Rainbow Natural Bridge in Arizona which can be accessed from Lake Powell (via boat) or a hike across tribal lands.
Named for the petroglyphs on its side, hiking to the base of Kachina Bridge is taking a trip back in time. Gain new perspectives as you stand beneath the widest, and probably youngest, natural bridge in the park.
The Owachomo viewpoint provides sweeping vistas of the smallest, and perhaps oldest, bridge in the park. This trail is good for any time of day or season. As the final stop along the loop road, Owachomo Bridge is the perfect conclusion to your visit at Natural Bridges National Monument.
Horse Collar Ruin can be viewed from the mesa-top overlook. A short hike over slickrock provides the chance to ponder what life may have been like 700 years ago. From the overlook, see the remarkably-preserved ancestral Puebloan structures and the surrounding canyon country.
The entrance to Natural Bridges National Monument is at the end of UT 275, which is roughly 35 miles west of Blanding, Utah, on UT 95. Driving time from Blanding is roughly 45 minutes. This park borders Cedar Mesa/Grand Gulch BLM Area and Bears Ears National Monument.
Fees for Natural Bridges National Monument: Private Vehicle – $15.00, Admits one private, non-commercial vehicle (15 passenger capacity or less) and its occupants; Motorcycle – $10.00, Admits a private, non-commercial motorcycle and its riders. Per Person – $7.00, Admits one individual with no car, typically used for bicyclists, and pedestrians. Youth 15 and under are admitted free. Natural Bridges is managed by the National Park Service and accepts National Park passes such as the Annual, Senior, and Access passes.
We visited here while staying at Goulding’s RV Park located off of UT-163 in Monument Valley, Utah, about 62 miles from Natural Bridges National Monument. Goulding’s also offers a lodge, restaurant, gift shop, gas station, and grocery store. While staying here we also visited: Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, Canyon De Chelly National Monument, the Navajo National Monument, Goosenecks State Park, and toured areas of Bears Ears National Monument and the Cedar Mesa/Grand Gulch BLM Lands including the Valley of the Gods. The region is rich in scenic beauty and has many ruins from the Ancestral Puebloans (formerly known as Anasazi).