In my youth, I thought Natural Bridges National Monument was boring. No long hiking trails, just three bridges in a small canyon. Now that I'm older and have the photo bug, it's become one of my favorite spots in Utah's Canyon Country. The bridges are fairly accessible, and the trails have character. And, the bridges are spectacular.
The Monument is near Blanding, Utah, in a somewhat remote location just south of the new Bears Ears Monument. To me its remoteness is part of its charm, few tourists and a better chance of getting a spot in the small campground.
The three bridges, Sipapu, Kachina, and Owachomo, are reached from the Monument's Scenic Drive, and while the hiking trails are steep, they are short, about a half-mile average. A trail in the canyon bottom allows one to walk from one to the other without coming back up, but it is a 10 mile loop to visit all three in one hike.
The first, Sipapu, is the biggest in height, and in my opinion has the most interesting trail.
The next one is Kachina, the youngest and broadest. The hike down to this one is also a trip, with ladders to climb and interesting stone work. There is also an old native ruin nearby if you look around near the base of the bridge.
Owachomo is the oldest and thinnest, a ribbon of rock, and is by far the easiest to access. Just a short hike gets you under its thin span. This ease of access makes it my favorite to visit after dark.
If you're planning on visiting the Utah desert country, consider making a trip to Natural Bridges. Here's a link to the Monuments web site:
Keywords: Bob Fergeson, Kachina, Natural Bridges, Owachomo, Sipapu, Utah, arches, bridges, hiking, landscape photography, mountains, nostalgiawest, stars, trails, trees
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