Visiting Natural Bridges National Monument

Located in southeastern Utah, when visiting Natural Bridges National Monument you’ll see stunning views of majestic natural bridges carved by eroding water over millions of years.

Be sure to add Natural Bridges to your list of places to visit in Utah if you’re near Moab or in the Four Corners area. You can view the three bridges from the overlook or hike down the canyon to see them from below!

tips for visiting Natural Bridges National Monument

With three different bridges standing at heights ranging from 30 to 90 feet, the most breathtaking photographs are taken from ground level looking up.

Natural Bridges is a wonderful location for stargazing and camping too!

Use our Utah Packing Lists to make sure you have the right clothing and gear for visiting Natural Bridges any time of year! Grab your free printable packing checklist by clicking the image below!

Utah packing lists for spring summer fall and winter
This site contains affiliate links which means WE may receive commissions for purchases made through these links. We only provide links to products we actually use and/or wholeheartedly recommend! As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Read the full Disclosure Policy.

Visiting Natural Bridges National Monument

Natural Bridges National Monument is a protected area in southeastern Utah. The park covers approximately 7,636 acres and is managed by the National Park Service.

Founded in 1908, it preserves three natural sandstone bridges formed by water erosion over millions of years:

  • Sipapu Bridge: spans 268 feet and stands 220 feet high, making it the largest and most famous of the three bridges.
  • Kachina Bridge: or the “middle bridge”, spans 204 feet and stands 210 feet high
  • Owachomo Bridge: spans 180 feet and stands 106 feet high

Along with the bridges, the park is also home to juniper trees, prickly pear cacti, mule deer, and coyotes.

Natural Bridges Entrance Fees

  • Natural Bridges National Monument entrance fee is $20 per vehicle, $15 per motorcycle, and $10 per person for those entering the park by foot, bicycle, or other non-motorized means.
  • It also accepts the America the Beautiful Pass, which lets you go to all national parks and federal lands for a year.
  • There is no charge for youth under 15 years old.

Can you see Natural Bridges without paying?

This Utah National Monument can only be viewed with an entrance fee. Entrance fees help fund the park’s maintenance and upkeep, which the National Park Service manages.

The entrance fees for all National Park Service sites, including Natural Bridges National Monument, are waived on the first day of National Park Week in April and National Public Lands Day in September.

Natural Bridges Operating Hours

  • The park is open year-round, 24 hours a day.
  • The visitor center is open daily from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.

Natural Bridges Goods and Services

  • The visitor center provides information about the park’s history, geology, and wildlife.
  • There is a campground in the park and picnic areas, hiking trails, and scenic overlooks.
  • Food and gas are unavailable in the park, so visitors should bring enough supplies.
  • Check the park’s website or social media pages for the latest information on road conditions, trail closures, and weather alerts.

Natural Bridges Weather

  • Natural Bridges National Monument weather varies by season.
  • Summers are hot and dry, with temperatures ranging from the 80s to the 100s.
  • Winters can be cold and snowy, with temperatures below freezing at night.
  • Spring and fall offer milder temperatures, but visitors should still be prepared for sudden weather changes and bring appropriate clothing and gear.

How Much Time is Needed for Natural Bridges? 

The park is relatively small and easy to see all three bridges in about 1 hour. If you’re really short on time, plan to drive and visit the overlooks only.

For a half-day we recommend adding in the short hike to Owachomo Bridge that adds about 1 more hour.

To explore the park thoroughly and hike some of the longer trails you’ll need a full day.

Owachomo Bridge
Owachomo Bridge

Things To Do at Natural Bridges National Monument

The monument features three natural stone bridges carved by water over thousands of years. 

Aside from admiring the stunning geological formations, Natural Bridges National Monument offers the following activities:

Natural Bridges Scenic Drive

The park has a scenic drive that takes visitors to overlooks and trailheads. You can see stunning rock formations, canyons, and mesas along the way.

Sipapu Bridge at Natural Bridges
Sipapu Bridge

Natural Bridges Hiking Trails

Several hiking trails in the park range in difficulty from easy to strenuous. Pets are not allowed on the hiking trails.

Plan ahead and be prepared with:

There are short walks to a viewpoint to see each of the three bridges from above. Plan about 10 minutes to walk and see each viewpoint. The Horse Collar Ruin can be viewed from an overlook as well.

In order to see the bridges from ground level, or the ruins up close, you’ll need to take one of these moderate to strenuous hikes:

Sipapu Bridge Hike – 1.4 miles RT and takes 1-2 hours. This trail is steep and requires using three wooden ladders, a long set of metal stairs, rock stairs, wood stairs, and switchbacks to descent 436 feet to the canyon floor. You’ll return back up the way you came!

Kachina Bridge Hike – 1.4 miles RT and takes 1-2 hours. Be prepared for a wooden ladder, rock stairs, wooden stairs, and switchbacks to descend 462 feet. At the base look for petroglyphs up the bridge’s side. You’ll return the way you came.

Kachina Bridge Natural Bridges National Monument
Kachina Bridge

Owachomo Bridge Hike – 0.5 miles RT and takes 20 to 60 minutes. The trail descends 188 feet along wooden and rock stairs.

Horse Collar Ruin Hike – 0.6 miles RT and take 30-45 minutes. Visit one of the best-preserved Puebloan sites in the area! The trail has 57 feet elevation loss and 35 feet gain one way. There is uncertain footing in areas, and steep canyon edges.

Horse Collar Ruin
Horse Collar Ruin

Natural Bridges Stargazing

Located in a remote area with minimal light pollution, Natural Bridges was certified as the first International Dark Sky Park in 2007! It’s an excellent spot for stargazing and astrophotography.

Natural Bridges trails are open day and night allowing you to enjoy stargazing anywhere in the park!

Visitors can attend astronomy programs hosted by park rangers in the spring and summer.

Natural Bridges Camping

The park has a campground open year-round and offers 13 sites on a first-come, first-served basis. It’s best to get there early to get a campsite, especially in the peak season (March to October).

RVs and trailers are allowed with a combined max length of 26 feet.

The campground is located near the visitor center. The following are some things you should know about camping in Natural Bridges National Monument:

  • Campground amenities include picnic tables, fire rings, and vault toilets. Water and camping equipment is provided, but no running water or electricity is available.
  • Campground rules: Park visitors are expected to keep a clean campsite, store food properly to avoid attracting wildlife, and respect quiet hours from 10 pm to 6 am.

Utah Travel Guides & Maps

Utah guides and maps

Things To Do Near Natural Bridges National Monument

Utah Bucket List

To help make your trip planning easier, we’ve compiled this comprehensive list of must-do activities that belong on every Utah Bucket List: things to see, do and taste all around the state! Grab the free download by clicking the graphic below!

utah bucket list - grab the free packet

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *