Natural Bridges National Monument is a United States National Monument located in the Canyon Country of southeastern Utah, showcasing three natural bridges within its boundaries. Natural Bridges became the first first International Dark Sky Park in 2007.
The area has been inhabited since the Archaic period, nearly ten thousand years ago. Ancestral Pueblans inhabited this area for several hundred years, followed by Navajo and Paiute tribes.
The region was rediscovered by prospector Cass Hite in the late 1800s and made famous by National Geographic in 1904 before becoming Utah's first National Monument in 1908.
Lying just south of the Manti-Lasal National Forest, the Natural Bridges landscape is consistent with southeastern Utah's Canyon Country.
Natural Bridges is approximately 35 miles west of Blanding, Utah. Nearly all visitors drive to Natural Bridges, although bicycling is a popular alternative. No bus or commercial transportation is available to Natural Bridges itself.
From Moab, take U.S. 191 south past Monticello and Blanding. Turn right on Highway 95, then watch for signage directing you to Highway 275 and Natural Bridges.
From Bluff, travel north on U.S. 191 to its intersection with Highway 95. Turn west on Highway 95 and watch for signage directing you to Highway 275 and Natural Bridges.
The Monument showcases three natural bridges, Sipapu, Kachina, and Owachomo. Each bridge is visible from overlooks not far from parking areas.
Each bridge's name originates in Hopi culture.
"Sipapu Bridge is the second largest natural bridge in the world."
Natural Bridges also protects Horsecollar Ruin, an ancestral Puebloan cliff dwelling visible from an overlook.
A nine-mile loop road provides access to overlooks for each bridge.
Connect yourself to the land by hiking the trails to the base of each natural bridge, or take the Loop Trail to view all three bridges.
As the first International Dark Sky Park, Natural Bridges provides extraordinary opportunities for astronomy.
No concessionaire operates within Natural Bridges National Monument. Although packaged snack food may be available at the bookstore in the visitors' center, food for meals should be purchased in Blanding or Mexican Hat before your visit.
Remember, Natural Bridges National Monument is in a remote desert environment. While limited water may be available at the visitors' center, visitors should provide their own water.
The nearest hotels are in Mexican Hat, Blanding, or Monticello.
Natural Bridges has 13 year-round sites in its campground, available first-come, first-served for $10/night. Campers and RVs 26 feet or less are allowed. Bring your own firewood.
Overflow camping is only available outside of the Natural Bridges boundaries.
The visitor center and its bookstore are open 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. each day (except Thanksgiving Day, December 25th, and January 1st).
As with any desert locale, take water, stay hydrated. Should you venture onto the trails, protect yourself from the sun.
The $6 vehicle fee includes all occupants for seven days. A traveler planning to visit Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, and Hovenweep National Monument should purchase the one-year Local Passport for $25.
The Moki Dugway road isn't for the faint of heart or those travelling in an RV, but is well worth the trip for extraordinary views. Take Highway 95 west, then south on State Route 261.
Kayenta, the Navajo Nation, and Monument Valley are to the south.
Hovenweep National Monument, Canyon of the Ancients National Monument, Four Corners, and Mesa Verde National Park are to the east.
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Ezra, Ryan Holliday.
This travel guide also includes text from Wikipedia articles, all available at View full credits