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Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Guided tours
No
Backcountry camping
No
Lodging
No
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Utah's first national monument, Natural Bridges was created all the way back in 1908 by President Roosevelt, who agreed the three large sandstone bridges were in need of long-term protection. Still one of the most remote parks in the country, you can find America's darkest night sky here after the sun sets. Multiple trails and overlooks allow people to easily see the bridges from above or below. Several of the trails are hair-raising experiences that take you along steep cliff sides with stairs, ladders and handrails present for assistance. Kachina, Owachomo and Sipapu are three massive sandstone structures that sit relatively close to each other, which allows a one-way looping road to access each of the amazing structures.

Along with the soaring bridges you can see the Horsecollar Ruins from the overlook or from below while hiking along the 10-mile unmaintained trail deep in the sandy washes of Deer and Armstrong Canyons. You can cut this trail in half in a more popular 5-mile version that takes you to Kachina and Sipapu Bridges. There are petroglyphs on the base of Kachina Bridge as well as other places in untold number. Wildflowers in spring and summer abound, and giant cottonwoods line the water ways. A small campground and a nice visitor center are within the park, but there's not too much beyond that. This is a very remote park, so you will need to plan your food and gas properly. 

Within the park's boundaries you can find a wide array of animals at sunrise and sunset, but less frequently in the middle of a hot day. Pinion jays, canyon wrens and crows fly above while coyotes, mule deer, mountain lions and bobcats prowl below. There are some small black bears occasionally reported but rarely seen. There are a large number of tree species to be found from ponderosa pine, pinion pine, juniper, cottonwood and Douglas fir. The trails are often unmarked, so you will be doing a certain level of bushwhacking. Make sure to stay off of the cryptogamic soil while doing so. This crunchy black layer of crust is the early stages of life on the harsh terrain, so be careful not to harm it.

It takes a certain level of preparation to do this area properly. The nearest food and regular lodging is in the town of Blanding, which is over an hour away. You will need to make sure to have plenty of food and ways to protect yourself from the sun with sunscreen, hats and long sleeves. Facilities are far away, so having a first aid kit on you during your hikes is a great idea.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

National Park Pass

Pros

Amazing geology and unusual landscapes. Darkest night sky in the Lower 48. Good access to all features.

Cons

Very remote. Not many amenities. Can get incredibly hot in summer. Flash flood danger.

Features

Geologically significant
Amphitheater
Campgrounds + Campsites
Historically significant
Flushing toilets
Rock climbing
Potable water
Picnic tables
Waterfalls
Bird watching
Wildlife

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Adventures

Nearby Lodging + Camping

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