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16 Free Natural Bridges National Monument Boondocking Locations

Last updated on May 10th, 2022 at 12:56 am

 

Natural Bridges National MonumentMy husband and I decided to take a trip to the Natural Bridges National Monument in Utah, and it was quite the experience. It is amazing to see what water can do over the course of thousands of years, and how it managed to sculpt what is now this national park with three natural bridges and what seems to be never ending, beautiful landscape.

Whether you’re looking to take a break away from the fast-paced lifestyle, or you’re just someone who wants to be surrounded by natural scenery with a rich history, I highly recommend planning a trip to this park. Visit the Natural Bridges National Monument visitor center for more information.

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 History of the Natural Bridges National Monument

The Natural Bridges National Monument is a place that has been inhabited and abandoned by people time and time through history, and the people who lived there definitely left their marks on the territory. Traces of tools and rocks indicate that people first began using the area during what is known as the Archaic Era (as far back as 7000 BC).

200 years after this group left, around 700 CE, the ancestors of the Puebloan people lived along the Mesa tops and left when they saw changes occur in the environment of the area. Puebloan farmers returned a few hundred years later and built the homes out of sandstone and mud that you can see the ruins of today.

Other artifacts that were discovered in the area indicate that the land was also inhabited by people from the Mesa Verde region, the Kayenta region, the Fremont culture, the Navajos and Paiutes tribes, and more. The Natural Bridges National Monument now stands as a remarkable place to preserve and honor the history of people who lived on this land.

16 Free Natural Bridges National Monument Boondocking Locations

Click the buttons below for a customized map of   Natural Bridges National Monument boondocking or hiking trails.

1. Natural Bridges National Monument Boondocking – Human Panted Rocks in Burch Canyon

Address
Lake Powell, Utah
GPS: 37.610409, -109.929119
Elevation: 6811′

Management Public – Bureau of Land Management (Official)

The road in is Dirt and 6 miles from a paved road. There are 1-5 campsites at this location. Cool little prepared spot on public lands great for tent camping (and you can pull your RV in Nearby)

2. Natural Bridges National Monument Boondocking Locations – Burch Canyon Road

Address
Road 254
Utah
GPS: 37.601438, -109.923472
Elevation: 6998′

Management Public – Forest Service (Official)

You may stay 14 days at Burch Canyon Road. About 3 miles outside of Natural Bridges National Monument UT, look for a sign for Deer Flat Rd. Turn onto that road. Smaller sites on the left in the trees just as you turn into the road (Burch Canyon) and a larger site (large turnaround area) about a half mile up the road.

3. Natural Bridges National Monument Camping Spots – Grand Gulch

Address
Utah 95
Blanding, Utah
GPS: 37.582931, -109.893541
Elevation: 6772′

Management Public – Bureau of Land Management

The road in is 4×4. Free Dispersed camping in the Bureau of Land Management Monticello District. No reservations. First come, first served. It is recommended that you have 4×4 and high clearance to reach this free camping area.

4. Natural Bridges National Monument RV Parking – Jct 95 – 261

Address
Unnamed Road
Blanding, Utah
GPS: 37.570671, -109.882549
Elevation: 6801′

Management Public – Bureau of Land Management

Free Dispersed camping in the Bureau of Land Management Monticello District. No reservations. First come, first served. About a half mile off of the paved road. Downhill going in, not bad. I made it fine with my jeep liberty and homemade utility trailer camper. comes out a a large flat area covered in pea gravel. Plenty of room.

5. Natural Bridges National Monument Hiking – Salvation Knoll

Address
Blanding, Utah
GPS: 37.561635, -109.813721
Elevation: 7021′

Management Public – Bureau of Land Management (Official)

The road in is Dirt and 1 miles from a paved road. There are 6-15 campsites at this location and the maximum RV length is 35 feet. This campsite is just east of Salvation Knoll on the south side of highway 95. This is about 4 miles east of highway 261. Lots of campsites along the road starting close to highway 95 and then much further in. Will accommodate everything from tents, campers, and RVs.

6. Natural Bridges National Monument Boondocking – Manti-Salal National Forest

Address
Utah
GPS: 37.5859, -109.785
Elevation: 6936′

Management Public – Forest Service

You may stay 14 days at Manti-Salal National Forest. Lots of sites throughout the park, easily visible from road. This particular location shows several sites with fire rings overlooking the canyon. Very scenic.

7. Natural Bridges National Monument Boondocking Locations – County Road 236 Boondock

Address
Blanding, Utah
GPS: 37.524635, -109.748459
Elevation: 6100′

Management Public – Bureau of Land Management (Unofficial)

The road in is Dirt and 1.5 miles from a paved road. There are 1-5 campsites at this location and the maximum RV length is 30. You may stay 14 days at County Road 236 Boondock. Turn south off of Route 95 onto CR 236 (Balley S Lower Road). Travel through a juniper and pinyon pine forest for about a mile before coming to open range land.

8. Natural Bridges National Monument Camping Spots – Hammond Canyon Overlook

Address
Utah
GPS: 37.681236, -109.767778
Elevation: 8058′

Management Public – Forest Service (Official)

The road in is Dirt and 15 miles from a paved road. Hammond Canyon Overlook is open April to early December. There are 6-15 campsites at this location and the maximum RV length is 15 feet. Elk Ridge Road itself is a good quality gravel road.

9. Natural Bridges National Monument RV Parking – Edge of the Beyond

Address
Blanding, Utah
GPS: 37.560255, -109.658227
Elevation: 5745′

Management Public – Bureau of Land Management (Unofficial)

The road in is Dirt and -10 miles from a paved road. Edge of the Beyond is open All Year. There are 6-15 campsites at this location and the maximum RV length is 35 feet. You may stay 14 days at Edge of the Beyond. Choice cliff edge spots on the crest of the northern portion of the iconic Comb Ridge. Hiking with ruins in upper Butler Wash.

10. Natural Bridges National Monument Hiking – Arch Canyon

Address
Comb Wash Rd.
Blanding, Utah
GPS: 37.50959, -109.654022
Elevation: 4840′

Management Public – Bureau of Land Management (Official)

Arch Canyon has Pit Toilets. Access through Comb Wash, 2 miles from UT-95.

11. Natural Bridges National Monument Hiking – Fry Mesa

Address
Lake Powell, Utah
GPS: 37.622705, -110.083528
Elevation: 5843′

Management Public – Bureau of Land Management (Unofficial)

The road in is Dirt and .2 miles from a paved road. There are 1-5 campsites at this location. Just off the 95 down a short dirt road, there were a few fire rings set up.

12 Free Natural Bridges National Monument Boondocking Locations – Jacob’s Chair

Address

Utah 95
Lake Powell, Utah
GPS: 37.706954, -110.23939
Elevation: 4849′

Management Public – Bureau of Land Management

Free Dispersed camping in the Bureau of Land Management Monticello District. First come -> First Camped. Reservations not accepted. I was parked on the rim of the canyon with great views in all directions! I had the site to myself most of the time with the occasional motorcycle or jeep going up the trail to Jacobs Chair.

13. Natural Bridges National Monument Boondocking – Blue Notch Road BLM Boondock

Address
Hanksville, Utah
GPS: 37.763397, -110.293869
Elevation: 4823′

Management
Public – Bureau of Land Management (Unofficial)

The road in is Dirt and .5 miles from a paved road. There are 1-5 campsites at this location and the maximum RV length is 40+. You may stay 14 days at Blue Notch Road BLM Boondock. It’s a 4 wheel drive road that leads to the lake but the first half mile is in good condition and can be driven by any vehicle. The camping spot is 1/2 mile in on the left hand side in a cleared area with a stone fire ring.

14. Natural Bridges National Monument Boondocking Locations – White Canyon Overlook

Address
Lake Powell, Utah
GPS: 37.798324, -110.304595
Elevation: 4610′

Management Bureau of Land Management (Unofficial)

West of Natural Bridges National Monument on Hwy 95, just a large pullover site at MP 62.5, but beautiful views of the canyon and not much traffic on Hwy 95 so pretty quiet. There is another larger area about 5 miles east of here as well – both on the canyon side of the road.

15. Natural Bridges National Monument Camping Spots – Muley Point Overlook

Address
Muley Point Road
Bluff, Utah
GPS: 37.235187, -109.992233
Elevation: 6343′

Management
Public – National Park Service

The road in is Dirt. The maximum RV length at Muley Point Overlook is 15 feet. This is a dispersed campsite and not a campground. No facilities (toilets, water, trash) provided. If that’s your kind of thing, prepare to be amazed! The views here are stunning. On a good day, you can see Monument Valley, the Four Corners, Valley of the Gods, and the Goosenecks.

16. Natural Bridges National Monument RV Parking – Valley Of The Gods, Bluff & Mexican Hat, Utah

Address
Valley Of The Gods Road
Bluff, Utah
GPS: 37.316864, -109.850533
Elevation: 5034′

Management Public – Bureau of Land Management (Unofficial)

Website The Valley Of The Gods is a personal favorite. It is called “the little Monument Valley”, and it is, but with very few visitors in contrast to the big valley to the south. This is desert boondocking at it best! It is a great boondocking site for an overnight between Monument Valley/Grand Canyon/ Canyon Lands/Arches Nat’l Parks.

 

Top 10 Trails to Hike at Natural Bridges National Monument

Natural Bridges National Monument Hiking #1. Sipapu Bridge

1. Sipapu Bridge

This trail was a little challenging, yet still an incredible hiking experience for us. The combination of ladders, railings, and steps helped with the climb quite a bit, especially with the possibility of having to walk through water. It was a gorgeous trail with at least a dozen different wildflower species to get a glimpse at. No matter which side of the trail you choose to hike, it seems both sides pose a challenge of their own.

If you don’t pay close attention while in route, you may overlook the Horsecollar ruin; we almost walked right past it. Overall, the experience was thrilling, and I would love to be able to visit again when it’s a little drier and easier to walk through. If you can handle the trail, it is a “must hike” when visiting the Natural Bridges National Monument.

Length: 5.8 mi
Elevation gain: 990 ft
Route type: Loop

Natural Bridges National Monument Camping, Hiking, Walking, River, Views, Wildlife, Rocky, Fee, No dogs

Natural Bridges National Monument Hiking #2. Sipapu Bridge to Kachina Bridge Loop

2 Sipapu Bridge to Kachina Bridge Loop

This hiking trail was fantastic! The path is very well maintained, and the hike was only moderately challenging. There are two steel ladders along the hike, but aside from those two there were stairs and handrails to assist along the way of the trail. It did rain before we began our hike, so the canyon was muddy during our walkthrough, and some of the trail was washed away, but the presence of running water in the area made everything that much more beautiful.

This may be one of the best hikes I’ve ever been on, and I plan to return to the National Bridges National Monument to hike it again. Perhaps in a different season so that I can see the trail in a different element.

Length: 5.8 mi
Elevation gain: 990 ft
Route type: Loop

Natural Bridges National Monument Camping, Hiking, Walking, River, Views, Wildlife, Rocky, Fee, No dogs

Natural Bridges National Monument Hiking #3. Owachomo Bridge Trail

3. Owachomo Bridge Trail - Natural Bridgest National Monument Hiking

This bridge was the easiest of all to access and the trail was fairly short. We hiked this trail on the last day of our stay and enjoyed the descent down, as well as the view from under the bridge itself. It seems to be a popular spot in the evening for pictures of the Milky Way galaxy and we actually saw a few photographers preparing to take some shots of the views. Worth the hike.

Length: 0.7 mi
Elevation gain: 216 ft
Route type: Out & back

Kid friendly, Hiking, Walking, Bird watching, Views, Wildflowers, Wildlife, Rocky, Snow, Fee, No dogs

Natural Bridges National Monument Hiking #4. Under the Natural Bridges Loop

4. Under the Natural Bridges Loop

First off, this was a spectacular trail to hike. However, secondly, I find it hard to believe that this trail was only 8.2 miles. According to my tracker, the trail is at least 9 miles in distance. Spikes come in handy during the initial descent into the trial, but they aren’t really needed after that. By the time you reach the steep part, there are handrails leading you to the second ladder, and you’re fine to hike the rest of the way.

The trail was marked well despite not necessarily being maintained. It took us six hours to complete the trail, and I would not recommend going in the summer. Thankfully, we went during spring, and the weather was perfect. My only warning is if it rains, the rocks may be a little slick, so be careful! Nevertheless, it was a fantastic hike and if you feel up to the challenge, you should give it a try.

Length: 8.2 mi
Elevation gain: 994 ft
Route type: Loop

Hiking, Views, Wildflowers, Wildlife, Rocky, No shade, Fee, No dogs

Natural Bridges National Monument Hiking #5. Kachina Bridge Trail

5. Kachina Bridge Trail

For this hike, we had the option of seeing the bridge from the overlook or descending into the canyon to see it from underneath. The trail has a fork in it. The right path takes you to the overlook, which is flat, and it looks paved over with concrete. The left path is the one that takes you down into the canyon. It starts out with some pretty steep steps, and as your make your way around a huge boulder that appears to be shaped like a mushroom, the path will start to level out.

This boulder in particular is the one you stand on for the overlook. The trail then turns back into a steep decline, which we decided not to go any further down due to how slippery and wet the area was. As we made our way back up the trail, we tried to get as many great pictures as we could from the more leveled area. I would love to go back when it’s not so wet to get the full experience.

Length: 1.3 mi
Elevation gain: 406 ft
Route type: Out & back

Hiking, Walking, Bird watching, Views, Wildflowers, Wildlife, Rocky, Fee, No dogs

Natural Bridges National Monument Hiking #6. Horsecollar Ruin Trial

6. Horsecollar Ruin Trial

There wasn’t much that was special about the trail itself. The hiking path was relatively flat, until you started to get to the viewpoint. It’s a little rocky and there is a small descent, but there is railing, and the view at the end is what made it special. This path leads to a viewpoint of the Pueblo Ruins, and what we saw was worth every step!

Length: 0.6 mi
Elevation gain: 55 ft
Route type: Out & back

Kid friendly, Hiking, Walking, Views, Historic site, Fee, No dogs

Natural Bridges National Monument Hiking #7. Kachina Bridge Overlook7. Kachina Bridge Overlook

We came here after hiking through the White Canyon from the Sipapu Bridge. It is a nice flat area that is easily accessible, and it has a great overlook of the surrounding landscapes and distant bridge. It’s perfect for those with limited time or limited abilities. However, if you are able to, I insist you hike through the area and experience it up close.

Length: 0.3 mi
Elevation gain: 42 ft
Route type: Out & back

Wheelchair friendly, Kid friendly, Stroller friendly, Walking, Paved, Views, Wildflowers, Wildlife, No shade, Fee

Natural Bridges National Monument Hiking #8. Natural Bridges National Monument Drive

8. Natural Bridges National Monument Drive

This is the nine-mile one way loop that is considered the main road, and it is most commonly driven, so my husband and I decided to spend a day driving it. It is $20 per car, but the drive was definitely worth it! The area is remote, and the crowds are smaller.

The main road does have pull-off as mentioned earlier, and the park ranger that we met suggested that we stop at every pull-off that had a rock with a name on it, so we did. If you’re going to visit, I highly recommend that you take the time to do the same! Being that this is a one-way road, if you decide to pass a pull-off, you cannot turn around to go back to it.

Length: 9.0 mi
Elevation gain: 761 ft
Route type: Loop

Scenic driving, Views, Fee

Natural Bridges National Monument Hiking #9. Collins Spring to The Narrows

9. Collins Spring to The Narrows - Natural Bridges National Monument Hiking

Technically this trail is not within the boundaries of the Natural Bridges National Monument. However, it was still a great hike, even in the midst of the rainy season. The trail seems to be a little difficult to find at times, but we managed. There are some beautiful views of the canyons on this path. There’s also a river that flows along the path that contributes to the beauty of the hike, and it’s easy enough for someone new to hiking to enjoy.

Length: 3.9 mi
Elevation gain: 544 ft
Route type: Out & back

Kid friendly, Hiking, Walking, Bird watching, Running, River, Views, Wildflowers, Wildlife, Fee, No dogs

Natural Bridges National Monument Hiking #10. Sipapu Bridge Viewpoint

10. Sipapu Bridge Viewpoint

Well, I’m not sure if I would call this a hike. It was a very short walk, but I will say that it leads to a beautiful view of the Sipapu Bridge. It is the second largest natural bridge in the world, and the rock coloring is quite unique.

Length: 0.1 mi
Elevation gain: 3 ft
Route type: Out & back

Walking, Views, Fee

Places and Things to Do and See with Descriptions in Natural Bridges National Monument

Hiking/Auto-Touring

Of course, the most obvious and natural thing to do while visiting the Natural Bridges National Monument would be to hike a trail, or two or three. There are several trails and viewpoints to walk through along the nine-mile loop that is the park’s main road, which counts as a trail worth experiencing itself.

Some people also like to do what is called auto-touring when it comes to this road, which is driving and sightseeing, as opposed to hiking through the area. The main road is a nine-mile long, one way route that consists of pull-offs for you to stop and sight-see or walk around.

It was recommended to us to drive through every pull-off that we encounter along the way because it is a one-way road, so you cannot go back to any that you pass along the route without going back to the start point.

Bird Watching

I’m not sure if the Natural Bridges National Monument is known for its variety of bird species, but there are over 200 different birds that live in or travel through the monument. If you keep your eyes peeled, you may be able to find some lesser seen birds resting in the area. To my surprise, we actually managed to spot a little duck resting in a pool of water, on the canyon floor.

Later on, we learned it was likely a green-winged teal, and that they are sometimes found in the ephemeral pools that rest at the bottom of the canyon. If you want to know what other birds to watch for at the Natural Bridges National Monument, they have books and other materials available for purchase in the visitor center bookstore.

Camping

There are campgrounds at the Natural Bridges National Monument for those who enjoy nature enough to sleep outdoors overnight. Each campsite is surrounded by juniper trees to create a sense of solitude, and they’re equipped with a picnic table, fire grill, and tent pad. There is no running water, and it is illegal to gather wood while you’re there, so be sure to bring your own water and firewood.

You are also allowed to bring a trailer, which was the option my husband and I chose on our trip to the monument. Nevertheless, we made sure to get a view of the beautiful sky each evening, which is probably the best reason for spending the night in the Natural Bridges National Monument.

Natural Bridges National Monument Stargazing

With the Natural Bridges National Monument having virtually no light pollution, it’s the perfect place to go and star gaze at night. In fact, you can see the Milky Way light up the night sky, and it’s a clear difference from what you might see at night when you look up in an urban area. Natural Bridges is officially recognized as an International Dark Sky Park, meaning there is a goal in place to preserve the sky and keep people educated about light pollution and ways to reduce their contribution to it.

All in all, our trip to the Natural Bridges National Monument was one to remember. We got to learn a bit of history, see the Milky Way, and witness the beauty and power of water in the formation of the bridges, the canyon, and the ruins. The only thing I would do differently is go during a season where the chance of rain is not so high, so that we don’t have to be so cautious of the slippery paths. However, the rainy season provided it own sense of beauty to the area.

If you ever need a sight to see, visit the Natural Bridges National Monument!


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