60 miles NW of Bluff, 360 miles S of Salt Lake City
Utah's first National Park Service area, Natural Bridges was designated primarily to show off and protect its three outstanding natural rock bridges, carved by streams and other forms of erosion beginning some 10,000 to 15,000 years ago. You can see the bridges from roadside viewpoints, take individual hikes to each one, or hike a loop trail that connects all three.
Giant Sipapu Bridge is considered a "mature" bridge. It's 220 feet high, with a span of 268 feet, and is believed to be the second-largest natural bridge in the world, after Rainbow Bridge in nearby Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. Owachomo Bridge, which appears to be on the brink of collapse (then again, it could stand for centuries more), is the smallest of the three at 106 feet high, with a span of 180 feet. Kachina Bridge, 210 feet high with a span of 204 feet, is the thickest of the monument's bridges at 93 feet. All three bridges were given Hopi names: Sipapu means the "gateway to the spirit world" in Hopi legend; Owachomo is Hopi for "rock mound," so called for a rounded sandstone formation atop one side of the bridge; and Kachina was named as such because rock art on the bridge resembles decorations found on traditional Hopi kachina dolls.
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