Thursday, May 7, 2015

Natural, and Other, Bridges

April 19 -- I left my Comb Wash boondock location, heading west, stopping at Natural Bridges National Monument. Even though it was very few miles, I thought I might stay there and do some hiking, but their 13 space campground is limited to 26’ total length, and in a quick drive through, it was clear that my 30’ overall wasn’t going to fit! Plan B called for more miles and less hiking.

The loop road, aka Bridge View Drive, is a very nice one way road. I was comfortable pulling the trailer, but glad that it wasn’t very busy. Very nearly all of the parking at the viewpoint trailheads is angled. Some of the spaces at each location were deep enough for me, but an RV with a toad would have a challenge. None of the spaces were marked except for ADA, so the Cadillac driver always parked in the longest space. Go figure…

The bridges were a bit challenging to photograph from the viewpoints since the tops of the bridges would blend into the canyon walls in the background. The NPS says that Sipapu Bridge is the second largest natural bridge in the world, exceeded only by Rainbow Bridge in Glen Canyon.

The same bridge from the trailhead to hike down to the creek below the bridge. “A staircase and three wooden ladders aid in the descent.” Apparently early visitors to Natural Bridges climbed down a tree to access the bottom of this bridge.

There are ruins and pictographs in the canyons between the bridges. The Horsecollar Ruin can be viewed from the rim at a dedicated viewpoint. The ruins span from the left edge to nearly the right edge of this photo. (As always, you can click to enlarge.)

The ruin is named for the horsecollar shaped doorways in the granaries at the right hand side of the alcove as you face it.

There is another alcove with a very nice set of structures viewable from the same point.

The Kachina Bridge is considered the youngest of the three bridges because of the thickness of the span. The trail to the base of this bridge lacks wooden ladders. There is a trail in the bottom of the canyon that links the bridges together.

The third bridge on the loop is the Owachomo Bridge. It has the thinnest span and hides in the background.

The trail to the base of this bridge is the shortest at ¼ mile each way and only 180’ elevation drop.

Someone had done a lot of work cutting and fitting stone steps for much of the Owachomo trail.

While the park wouldn’t be too comfortable for rigs pulling a toad, longer trailers, or beast-sized RVs, there are a couple places near the park where larger rigs can camp or park. One is east of the park entrance about ¼ mile southeast from the intersection of Highway 95 and 261 where rigs congregate around the corral. The other is south of the park on 95 between mileposts 87 and 88. It’s a long piece of old road alignment with two or three separate entrance driveways and room for dozens of rigs.

If natural bridges weren’t enough, I couldn’t resist adding a picture of the bridge over the Colorado River (since the lake is very low) at Hite.

Home for a couple nights was a large parking lot with a couple outhouses just west of the intersection of Temple Mountain Road and Goblin State Park road. There were at least 8 of us there, nicely spread out, watching the storm clouds build.

This post was uploaded and scheduled using wifi at my site at Sand Creek RV Park in Torrey, Utah.


  1. If I'm not mistaken, we were at Natural Bridges a year ago today. You sure have the memories boiling over.

    1. And good memories they are, I presume. I'm certainly looking forward to going back.