In Southern Utah off the Bicentennial Highway, this smaller NM has a
lot to offer! Jamie and I hiked into upper White Canyon in July 2002, and
though it was a pretty hot day we found good refuge in the midday shade
offered by these magnificent natural bridges. Offering not just shade,
we also found that each bridge served as a natural venturi of sorts to
funnel in cool breezes where they did not otherwise exist.
What distinguishes a natural bridge from an arch is that while an arch is largely formed by wind and weathering action, bridges are eroded over time by water. So bridges are suspended only above canyon bottoms, with ribbons of water and riparian canyon growth beneath.
On this loop hike of NBNM's section of White Canyon, no less than three of these bridges can be visited, and we visited two of them before climbing out and hitching a ride back to the car. At the 2nd bridge we found a ruin and profusion of rock art.
On the rim of White Canyon. The descent into this canyon is over slickrock, and even involves downclimbing two ladders.
The trail drops off the rim before traversing along this high ledge.
Jamie climbing down one of the ladders
Looking at Sipapu Bridge, it's too big to get all in a picture
From directly beneath, Sipapu Bridge makes a great photo
Taking advantage of a shady alcove along the way
Further downcanyon we rested in the shade of Kachina Bridge
Under the bridge is an old ruin; my guidebook says the anthros don't exactly know what to make of this, but it may be strictly ceremonial
A few handprints on the wall behind