Natural Bridges National Monument

April 16, 2013 by  

Natural Bridges National Monument, Natural Bridges National Monument features three huge, stream-carved natural bridges as well as a concentration of Anasazi Indian ruins. The multi-colored bridges can be seen from overlooks along an nine-mile paved loop road through the monument. The bridges have Hopi Indian names: delicate Owachomo means “rock mounds,” Sipapu (the second largest natural bridge in the world) means “the place of emergence” and massive Kachina means “dancer.”

Dark Sky Park
Natural Bridges has one of the darkest skies in the US, with almost no light pollution. It is one of the great places to observe the night ski. That prompted the International Dark-Sky Association to designate Natural Bridges National Monument as the world’s first International Dark Sky Park. (More information)

Ancient Ruins
The Anasazi Indians occupied this part of Utah anywhere from 2,000 to 650 years ago. Cliff dwellings and pictographs can be found in the monument.

Trails lead down to each bridge and to key archaeological sites, or they may be viewed by walking short distances to overlooks. The drive connects pull-outs and overlooks with views of each bridge. Moderate hiking trails, some with metal stairs or wooden ladders, provide closer access to each bridge.

Visitor Information
The visitor center is open year-round. It has a slide program, publications, postcards, film and exhibits. Visitors are encouraged to stop by and learn how to visit the monument with minimum impact to the fragile desert environment and the archeological sites. Electricity at the natural Bridges Visitors Center is provided by solar energy. The photovoltaic power system dedicated in 1980 was the world’s largest solar system at the time. Water and flush toilets are available at the visitor center.

During the summer, temperatures reach 100 degrees Fahrenheit, 37.7 degrees Celsius. Morning or evening hikes are recommended.

Natural Bridges National Monument is 42 miles west of Blanding. Accommodations are available in Blanding, 42 miles/68 km west of the monument. The park has a developed campground.

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