Sipapu Bridge At Natural Bridges National Monument
Sipapu Bridge is located in Natural Bridges National Monument near Lake Powell, Utah.
It holds the title as the second largest natural bridge in the United States. It is the largest bridge in the park with the following dimensions:
Height: 220 feet (67 meters)
Span: 268 feet (82 meters)
Width: 31 feet (9.5 meters)
Thickness: 53 feet (16 meters)
Over the years this bridge has also been known as President and Augusta bridge.
It was given it’s current name in 1908 by William Douglas. Sipapu is a Hopi term for the opening between worlds. To put it’s size into perspective the opening of this bridge would almost house the dome of the United States Capitol.
A viewpoint is available off the main scenic drive of the park to view the bridge.
The trailhead to walk to the bridge is located just down the road. This 1.4 mile roundtrip hike has about 450 foot elevation gain. No pets are allowed on any of the trails in the park.
It’s not an easy trail to hike and is the steepest in the park.
From the canyon rim to the base of the bridge, you will descend a total of 436 feet. You will have to traverse three wooden ladders, two flights of metal stairs, and numerous rock and wooden stairs. The wooden ladders may look a little sketchy, but trust me they are quite sturdy.
There are a number of switchbacks which help, but it’s still a strenuous climb back to the top. There is a amazing overlook of the bridge about halfway down you won’t want to miss. A sign will point the way.
To get under the bridge the last part of the hike involves traveling over somewhat steep slickrock while holding on to occasional metal handrails and descending a wooden ladder.
I have a mental issue with walking up and down slickrock I deem too steep. I’m very clumsy and always think I will slip and roll to my death so I skipped this part.
Jamey on the other hand really wanted to reach the bottom so you have him to thank for those pics.
A grove of Gambel’s oak has made it’s home beneath the bridge. Jamey informed me the entire area was lush with greenery and quite pretty. When you are done admiring the beauty of this structure simply turn around and start your long trek back to the top.
Though walking the trail requires a bit more physical effort rock cairns guide you through the Cedar Mesa Formation sandstone making it easy not to lose your way.
The viewpoint for the bridge is nice, but if you are able to you really should hike the trail. The views are great and seeing the bridge up close puts it in a whole new perspective.
There is practically no shade on the trail so make sure you bring plenty of water.
We went early in the morning, but still it was early June and it doesn’t take long for the temps to start rising in this desert landscape. As long as you take your time and watch your steps near those canyon ledges you should have a great hike.