Camping and hiking information
with tips for parents
Camping and hiking information
with tips for parents

Natural Bridges National Monument

This park is not very large as National Monuments go, but it's certainly worth an overnight visit if you plan to get out of the car and walk a bit. The park road is only 10 miles (or 15.8 kilometers) long and the road is a loop that will return you to the entrance.

This park qualifies as a four Roo site.
For information on the Roo rating system just click on the Roos!

The Ranger Station is located at the entrance to the park. There is no kiosk, so you need to go into the visitor center for park information (and to pay entrance fees). There are some nice displays explaining the formation of the bridges. There is a wonderful 8.2 mile hike that goes through all of the bridges - and you'll want to get information on this hike here.

There aren't any real picnic areas here but you'll find many nice spots to pull over around the park.

There are three natural bridges here. Each bridge can be accessed from the roadway by well maintained trails. The road through the park is a one-way loop.
The first bridge along this loop is Sipapu. This trail is the furthest into the canyon and is the biggest climb out.
Next you'll come to a turn-out for the Horsecollar Ruin Overlook. This is a .5 mile hike round-trip and is not strenuous at all. The ruins are some distance away and can't really be seen without binoculars.
Kachina bridge is next. This is a medium decent to the river bed and the bridge.
Owachomo bridge is the final bridge on the loop. This bridge has the shortest descent.

Hiking the Area: If you want to hike the valley floor instead of going down and then up at each turnout.
I suggest the following hikes. Each hike can be done most easily with a driver who stays above but a loop trail at the top will take you to any of the turn-outs so you can return to your car on foot.
A relatively short hike is from Kachina bridge to Owachomo bridge. This hike is around four miles long and is not strenuous. There are many footpaths and the trail is not well marked to be prepared to backtrack a bit here and there.
The hike to all three bridges is best started at the Sipapu bridge as this bridge has the biggest descent and the bridge you end with (Owachomo) has the shortest ascent. This hike is a bit over 8 miles. Be aware that the trail between Sipapu and Kachina involves many stream crossings and you are bound to get a foot wet sooner or later.

This trail is not for young children who would be unwilling to cross a stream in chilly water. I carried my son in a backpack, but I just waded across the streams instead of trying to jump rocks for safety's sake. It is a lovely hike - but do not try it if you suspect fowl weather. This hike is not strenuous and if you can't make it you can quit at Kachina. If you don't have someone to pick you up at Owachomo I recommend that you park at Owachomo and hike the trail across the loop to Sipapu - it will add 2 miles to your hike but it is not a difficult hike.

The campgrounds are located less than a mile from the visitor center. The campground has only 13 primitive sites, but due to the park size we had little trouble getting a nice site at 11:30 a.m. The sites are all dirt but many are big enough to accommodate a good sized R.V. All of the sites come with a sand pit to set your tent up. I put my tent in another area and used the sand area as a sandbox for my son.

There is water available only at the Ranger Station. Always bring plenty of water if you plan to hike. I would recommend carrying plenty in your car even if you only plan to go into the canyon from the pull-outs as the hike back up to your car may surprise you.

There are many wonderful sites in this area. The Horsecollar Ruin Overlook gives a great view if you bring binoculars. If you take the full hike to all three bridges, you'll see plenty. Between the Sipapu bridge and the Kachinka bridge there is an overhang on your right just before a stream crossing with faint hand prints on the rock wall.
When you reach Kachina bridge, you want to be on the other side of the river from the parking area trail. If you go up to the bridge on this side you'll see many faint images. If you are facing the underside of the bridge with the images - go to your left. You will see an easily climbable series of rocks leading up into the canyon along the rock that makes up the bridge. Just climb up 20 feet and you'll find some wonderful ruins.
Between the Kachina bridge and the Owachomo bridge you will find more fantastic petrogliffs on your right if you just keep your head up.


Located in Southeastern Utah, The nearest town is Blanding, Utah which is about 40 miles away. I recommend you get your gas elsewhere as it is high in price here. Blanding is located on U.S. highway 191. From Blanding you go south to state route 95, east until you reach state route 275 north. There are some neat places to stop on the 95 with Native American ruins.

If you continue on 95 east you will come to the Lake Powell National Recreation Area which offers camping and all sorts of water recreation.

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