in Natural Bridges National Monument,
are natural stream-carved bridges situated in such close
proximity. Three of the 10 natural stone bridges in the
world are in Natural Bridges National Monument and they
are three of the largest! A nine mile loop drive takes
visitors past immense Sipapu, massive Kachina,
and delicate Owachomo bridges. Trails lead down
to each bridge or they may be viewed from overlooks a
short distance from parking areas. The loop drive connects
pullouts, overlooks and trailheads. Moderate to difficult
trails, some with metal stairs or wooden ladders, provide
closer access to each bridge. A longer trail follows the
stream bed beneath all three bridges.
Bridges National Monument, the first National Park Service
unit established in Utah, encompasses 7,636.49 acres.
Natural Bridges National Monument is a pinyon and juniper
covered mesa that is bisected by deep canyons, exposing
the Permian Age Cedar Mesa Sandstone. Where meandering
streams cut through sandstone walls, three large natural
At an elevation of 6,500 feet above sea level, Natural
Bridges National Monument is home to a wide variety of
plants and animals. Plants at Natural Bridges range from
the fragile cryptobiotic soil crusts to remnant stands
of douglas fir and ponderosa pine. Natural Bridges National
Monument includes hanging gardens in moist canyon seep
springs, large cottonwoods on the canyon floors, and a
wide array of flowering plants in the spring. Animals
in Natural Bridges Monument range from a variety of lizards,
toads, and an occasional rattlesnake, to peregrine falcons,
mountain lions, bobcat and black bear.
These relatively abundant resources in Natural Bridges
National Monument made this an ideal home for ancient
people as well. Over 200 archaeological sites are known
in Natural Bridge National Monument, including cliff dwellings
of early Puebloan people, mesa top habitations, and remnants
of corrals left by more recent cowboys.
Bridges National Monument is 42 miles west of Blanding.
The visitor center and primitive campground are open year-round.
Natural Bridges facilities are solar powered and the large
solar array is accessible to visitors.