Natural Bridges National Monument

Natural Bridges National Monument

While on our Spring Break road trip to 4 of the 5 Utah National Parks, we made a stop at Natural Bridges National Monument near Lake Powell, Utah.

After leaving the Needles district of Canyonlands National Park, we hit the road for our next destination, Capitol Reef National Park. Being as we were driving right past it, we figured we may as well stop. And, even though we didn’t spend very much time here, I’m glad we took the time to catch a glimpse of the park.

Three natural rock bridges make this National Monument special. Prehistoric civilizations settled in this area of Utah as early as 7000 BCE! And even though the three bridges have been given many names throughout the years, in 1909 they were given Hopi names officially, in honor of the Native Americans that once lived here.

We got to the park just before sunset. The visitor center was already closed, so we settled for driving the 9 mile Bridge View Drive through the park. We did not hike while in this park, we didn’t have time. But, we made sure to get out at each overlook for a quick look at each bridge.

The first bridge we saw was Sipapu Bridge.

Sipapu means in Hopi, “the place of emergence.” The Hopi believed that this was a place that their ancestors came into this world through the entryway of the bridge.

Look carefully at the center of the picture and you can find the bridge.

The second bridge overview we got out at was Kachina Bridge.

Drawn onto this arch, are rock art depictions that resemble specific symbols usually drawn onto kachina dolls, hence it’s name. We weren’t able to hike down to see the drawings, but we would have loved to! I guess now we have something to go back to do someday.

The bridge is located in the center right in this picture, where the sage brush is darkest. Pictures just didn’t do these bridges justice from the overlooks, but it’s the best we got.

The last bridge is called Owachomo Bridge. 

Owachomo means “rock mound,” and the bridge is aptly named this because of a rock feature sitting on top of the bridge.

You can see the mound on the far left of the picture below. I think this was my favorite bridge. I don’t really know why, though. I just liked the openness of the bridge itself, and the surrounding landscape, I think.

Although it was a quick stop, it was beautiful! This would be a great park to explore with the kids, with three hikes to try out. So, next time we’re in Southern Utah we’ll stop again!

And, now, here’s a picture of my cute and silly gang 🙂

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Happy Exploring,

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