Kachina Bridge Trail At Natural Bridges National Monument
Kachina Bridge is located in Natural Bridges National Monument near Lake Powell, Utah. It was by far my favorite bridge in the park and we spent a lot of time just sitting beneath it. Below are a few dimensions on this natural bridge:
Height: 210 feet (64 meters)
Span: 204 feet (62 meters)
Width: 44 feet (13 meters)
Thickness: 93 feet (28 meters)
The bridge has had a couple other names over the years including Caroline and Senator. It’s current name was given to it by government surveyor William Douglas. He based the name on the petroglyphs and pictographs depicted on the base of the bridge. He believed the figures carved on the sandstone represented Kachina dancers and thus a name was given.
This 1.5 mile roundtrip hike to the widest and youngest, natural bridge in the park has over 400 feet of elevation gain. Though not as physically taxing as Sipapu Bridge trail it’s still a 462 foot descent from the canyon rim to the base of Kachina Bridge.
Be warned there are like a million stone steps. I mean that may be an exaggeration, but it felt like there was. Make no mistake about it though there are still hundreds and hundreds of steps to walk up and down.
The viewpoint and trailhead for Kachina bridge is located halfway along the scenic loop drive. The viewpoint is nice, but if you can I highly suggest making the trek down to the bridge. It is so much more impressive standing under this beauty and looking up. No pets are allowed on the trail.
Starting from the trailhead you will travel down a series of switchbacks of dirt and slickrock and down all those stairs I mentioned earlier. You will arrive at a large slab of slickrock that takes you down to the canyons bottom.
It was not nearly as steep as the slickrock you had to travel across at Sipapu Bridge so I braved the descent this time. There is one wooden ladder you must use on this section though as well as a metal handrail.
Until you are standing under Kachina Bridge you cannot truly comprehend how massive this baby is. I spent a lot of time staring up in awe and enjoying the feel of sand between my toes. Ah yes did I forget to mention the ground beneath the bridge is a sandy oasis. I highly recommend taking off your shoes and walking around. I felt so miniscule walking beneath this incredible work of nature.
In 1992 approximately 4,000 tons of rock broke off from the bridge. You can still see this pile of sandstone rubble under the far side of the bridge.
The petroglyphs the bridge is named after can be found on the right side of the bridge as you walk up to it. These images were carved into the rock by ancestral Puebloans over 700 years ago. Besides the Kachina dancers petroglyphs and pictographs of animals, humans, and handprints can be scene.
Once you are done admiring the bridge go back the way you came and start that hike back to the top. There are so many stairs awaiting your return (yeah I really didn’t like those stairs)!
At times a small creek still runs through the ravine and there are flash floods through the canyon. There is also a small waterfall that can be scene when the water is flowing that would of been amazing to witness. With the massive drought this year the only water we saw was a small pool under the spot where the waterfall would of been falling.
We hike a lot and this was one of my favorite hikes this year. Natural Bridges National Monument doesn’t seem to be well known which is a real shame, because it’s a great little park with some amazing hikes. If you ever get the chance to visit you should and the Kachina Bridge Trail should be the top thing on your list of things to do.