Natural Bridges National Monument

Next stop, Natural Bridges National Monument.  The weathered canyons and arches here are beautiful. Best of all, since theres not much around in any direction to get here theres virtually no people!  Our private little National Park.

Taking a break from the road and doing our daily hiking.  We were doing 3-4 miles of hiking a day through all the national parks we stopped at.   We learned its critical to stay along the (vaguely) marked trails and not wander off on your own.  Much of the surface is coated with a living bacterial soil crust that gives nutrients to the plants and important in the control of erosion with its soil binding properties.  One false step can destroy 100’s or 1000’s of years of growth.

Its a ways down there, but eventually we walked around a ledge in the above shot along the canyon walls to wind up with this view.  Wow!

Warning!  No railing and smooth rock leading up to a few 100 ft cliff!  Don’t be an idiot and fall off!     Who says we live in a nanny state?

We stopped and talked to a couple who were coming out of the canyon while we were going down and they kindly took our picture (I wish the nice arch was visible to one side though!)  The lady said that they had been to almost all of the national parks in the continental US but Natural Bridges is her favorite.  She says there’s never anyone here, there’s way more hiking and trails and exploring to do than anyone could do in a few months, and each time they’ve come back and spent a week camping here they find new things.  There’s lots of Indian Ruins and Cliff Dwellings scattered throughout the park and petroglyphs that nobody has discovered yet.  She says they have found some nice ones that even the rangers who’ve been here for a year didn’t know about and weren’t in any of the guide books.   She described it as like a cross between Arches National Park and Mesa Verde National Park with none of the crowds.

One of those Indian Ruins we walked past.

Natural Bridges is very isolated and virtually no people there, we had the place to ourselves.  Old wooden ladders to get up and down some of the cliffs.  Cece decided these were a piece of cake after the ones at Mesa Verde National Park a few weeks earlier.

Yep you’re on your own here.  In a few places the trail of rocks that you are supposed to follow or the steps to guide you over bare rock were well weathered and nearly gone.

They said this was the biggest natural bridge in the world. Big enough to fit the US capitol bulding under it.  Those are giant cottonwood trees down below for scale.

Playing with a bit of photography on these yellow prickly pear blooms with the dead stump behind.

Next trail we hiked, more cactus blooms!

This was a long dead spruce tree, I think.  It was just a straight pole sticking up, all the branches having long since weathered away. I’ve never seen wood weather with a tight spiral all the way up the trunk like this, cool.

Cool texture in this block of mudstone.

A shot of the petrified sand dunes that weathered to create this wonderful landscape.

1 comment to Natural Bridges National Monument

Leave a Reply