After our night in Blanding, UT and a visit to the great Dinosaur Museum we headed down Utah 95 looking forward to visit the Natural Bridges National Monument. Yes, we have been hitting a lot of National Monuments lately but we find them so beautiful and less crowded that we keep visiting them. We first stopped at the visitor’s center to find out about some hikes that we can handle. The Ranger was very helpful and pulled out a map and started to circle hikes and write down the mileage for each one.
We decided on 3 hikes; Each one to a different bridge. There were several overlooks that we also wanted to stop by so we better get moving before all daylight is burned. We started off on the one way, 9 mile loop to the overlooks and bridges. Our first stop is Bridge View Overlook.
There is a short paved path to the viewing area. Once at the overlook we were looking everywhere for the natural bridge. We couldn’t see it until finally after staring into the canyon the bridge all the sudden was there. It was hard to see because the light was shining through the opening which was filled trees and looked like a hillside.
We started taking photos and enjoy the view when a couple walked up to the railing and stood there for a while looking. The woman said “Excuse me but where is the bridge?” We pointed it out to both of them and they thanked us. At that point we didn’t feel so bad about missing it ourselves. Back to the rig and off we go to the next stop. The next stop was a closer view of Sipapu bridge which is the largest of the three. We were feeling good so we decided to take the hike to the bridge. Little did we know what kind of adventure we were in for on that hike. It started out as a slight descent into the canyon until we came upon a ladder that took you down to several flights of steps.
At that point we had to make the descision to stay on the ledge overlooking the bridge or descend to the canyon floor. We chose the overlook, as Rick sprained his ankle a few days earlier and didn’t feel stable enough to go further.
After climbing up the seemingly endless steps and ladder we were ready for a little rest once back at the RV. The next stop was at the Horse Collar Ruins which is a .63 mile round trip hike on a fairly level rim trail.
At that moment I said to Rick “Why didn’t I bring my camera with the telephoto lens?” as the dwellings were so far across the canyon that pictures were hard to get with a regular lens. It was a nice easy hike and back. As we wandered to the next bridge the scenery was just beautiful at every turn. Kachina bridge has a hike to the bottom of the canyon but it was a little too steep and too long for us, especially dealing with a still uncomfortable feeling ankle. The view from above was beautiful and you could see people in the bottom of the canyon.
Our last bridge was Owachomo bridge which is the most delicate bridge of the ones mentioned. It’s sad to think that soon this bridge will be gone.
As we headed out of the monument and on to our boondocking spot we remarked what a great day we had at the Natural Bridge National Monument.
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