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Exploring Natural Bridges National Monument is a Great Utah Camping Experience

Natural Bridges National Monument is located in Utah northwest of the Four Corners boundary. The three bridges the Monument is known for are named Sipapu, Kachina, and Owachomo, which are all Hopi names. These bridges formed through erosion over millions of years. As water eroded against the rock, it eventually cut its way underneath and through it, and over time, gravity and water erosion open the hole up more and more until a natural bridge was left. In most cases, the bridge eventually collapses. There is evidence of at least 2 collapsed bridges inside the Monument. The three bridges were left standing, though, and are a testament to the power and beauty of nature, making it a wonderful Utah camping destination.

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Natural Bridges National Monument is located in the Colorado Plateau, meaning it is a high desert region with wide fluctuations in temperature. Spring and fall are the most popular times to visit the park seeing as how they are the most temperate. Daytime temperatures range between 60 and 80 degrees. Summer temperatures, on the other hand, often exceed 100 degrees, making it difficult to do any strenuous activities, such as hiking. Late summer is the monsoon season and thunderstorms can be sudden and violent. Even just a quarter inch of rain can cause flash floods! Winters are cold, with highs in the 50’s and lows as low as 0 degrees. Snow isn’t common, although it can fall. The Monument is open year round, save for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. There is a $6 vehicle entrance fee which is valid for seven days. An annual pass costs $25 and grants access into Arches, Hovenweep, Canyonlands, and Natural Bridges. An annual inter-agency pass is $80 and grants access to most national parks.

While Natural Bridges National Monument is best known for the three bridges, there is plenty to do while visiting the Monument. There is a beautiful scenic drive that is open year round and offers many spectacular overlooks with breath taking views. This scenic road also offers access to all three bridges. Even though the scenic drive is beautiful, the best way to experience the park is on foot. Many trails lead to the bridges from the scenic overlooks from the road. None are longer than 1.5 miles round trip, and the .5 mile trek to the Owachomo Bridge is the shortest and easiest. The trails to the Sipapu and Kachina bridges are more strenuous and require climbing steep sections of rock. The Loop Trail passes all three bridges and is a terrific way to experience the park. The beauty of the bridges is something everyone should see, making it a stupendous Utah camping destination!

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