Natural Bridges Loop

  • Distance: 8.5 miles
  • Time: 6 hours
  • Elevation gain: 500 feet
  • Difficulty: 2
  • Overall: 8
  • Reference: Southeastern Utah, in Natural Bridges National Monument, about 30 miles west of Blanding.
  • User groups: Hikers, dogs on leashes. Long but good hike for kids. No wheelchair access.
  • Permits: The monument entry fee is $4 per vehicle or $2 per person. Camping only in the campground at $5 per site.

Directions

From Blanding, UT, take US 191 south approximately three miles. Turn west on State Route 95 for approximately 31 miles. Turn north on State Route 275 for about five miles to the visitor center. Continue on the monument road for about a quarter mile, and turn north on Bridge View Drive (a one way road), driving about three miles more to the Sipapu Bridge Trailhead.

Maps

Trails Illustrated's Manti-La Sal National Forest. For a USGS topographic map, ask for Moss Back Butte. A monument brochure describes the trail.

Contact

Natural Bridges National Monument, Box 1, Lake Powell, UT 84533; (435) 259-5174.

Trail notes

Nowhere are natural bridges found as close together as in Natural Bridges National Monument--and the three in the monument are exemplary. From the parking area, the trail descends a stone stairway then hugs the canyon wall, traveling about three-fourths mile to the floor of White Canyon. To the east rises Sipapu Bridge, at a height of 220 feet and a span of 268 feet, the second largest natural bridge in the world. The route follows the canyon downstream about two miles, past a well preserved Anasazi ruin, to Kachina Bridge, 210 feet high with a span of 204 feet. From there you can ascend a trail back to the rim of the canyon, and across a flat covered in pinyon and juniper for less than two miles to the start, cutting the loop to all three bridges short. The third and smallest bridge, Owachomo, lies about three miles further up Armstrong Canyon. From Owachomo Bridge (106 feet high, 180 feet of span), the entire loop can be completed by climbing up the trail to the mesa above, and crossing the mesa about 2.5 miles to the starting point. You can also leave a vehicle on the rim above Owachomo to avoid the last 2.5 miles.

Information courtesy of Buck Tilton, author of Utah Hiking.

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