Top 8 Natural Bridges and Arches to Visit in Utah (2022)
If you have never been to the red rock state of Utah before, you have truly missed out on seeing some of the most beautiful golden arches the state has to offer. Utah boasts of an architectural marvel that is a sight to behold. These sky-spanning natural bridges and arches are so spectacular that you will forever remember the moment you first laid eyes on them. Not only are these natural bridges and arches a stunning work of nature, but their varying shapes, sizes, and the dramatic landscape surrounding them make them appear out of this world. In fact, you would be forgiven to think that they are from the planet Mars, especially due to their reddish color. Exploring these natural bridges and arches is well worth the adventure.
Top 8 Natural Bridges and Arches to Visit in Utah
Here are some of the best natural bridges and arches that you must visit in Utah.
1. Rainbow Bridge
Famous for being the largest natural bridge in the United States, the Rainbow Bridge in Utah is one of its kind. Located near the mesmerizing Lake Powell and the Navajo Mountain, the Rainbow Bridge spans 275 feet and has a fantastic height of 246 feet. The bridge is one of the most gorgeous natural wonders of Utah, and it is also the best landmark for walking and exploring the backpacking trails nearby. If you are not able to walk around the entire surroundings, there are also boat tours of the lake available that give you a perfect view of the bridge and are also ideal for taking pictures of this famous natural bridge.
In the past, this bridge used to be very remote, and visitors had to hike long distances through the rugged canyons to visit this landmark location. Today, there has been a lot of development that makes it easy to visit the Rainbow Bridge.
2. Delicate Arch
Located inside the famous Arches National Park near Moab in Utah, the Delicate Arch is a natural wonder to behold. This is a spectacular formation that formed over millions of years. Over these years, weathering from rain, wind, and sand carved out this freestanding natural wonder. There are two ways you can reach Delicate Arch. The first trail is 2.5 miles long, but it is covered with steep terrains and slick rocks. The other, shorter trail, is also not that easy to hike. It is an entirely uphill trail. However, you will be glad you took the trail as the sight of the arch standing at a delicate balance is genuinely mind-blowing when you come up close to this natural formation.
The arch was formed in Entrada sandstone and has been standing here for much longer than any of us.
3. Sipapu Natural Bridge
The Sipapu Natural Bridge in Utah is one of the three you can find at the Natural Bridges National Monument in Utah. The natural bridge dates all back to at least 5000 years ago. Sipapu and the other two bridges, Owachomo and Kachina, came into existence much later than the other natural bridges in Utah through wind and erosion. However, the actual process that carved out the Sipapu Natural Bridge is believed to have started around 260 million years ago when the area was actually a beach. Today, this is a popular hiking area, and you get to see some stunning views from the top of the bridge.
4. Owachomo Natural Bridge
Also located at the Natural Bridges National Monument, Owachomo Natural Bridge is the smallest and the thinnest of the three natural bridges here. It is also believed to be the oldest of the three bridges. The Owachomo Natural Bridge is one spectacular feat of erosion that is a must-see when you are in Utah. Having a height of 106 feet and spanning 180 feet, the sweeping vistas you can see from the top of this natural bridge are stunning.
5. Natural Bridge
Located inside the Bryce Canyon National Park, this is one of the most accessible natural bridges in Utah. While you can view the bridge from your car as well while driving through Bryce Canyon, but you will only get the real idea of its magnificent height and formation when you come near the bridge. Once you come close to the bridge, you will realize that the name is a bit misleading because Natural Bridge is not just one bridge. It is made up of several natural arches to create a beautiful scene at the viewpoint. This arch was sculpted from some of the reddest rock you can find at the Claron Formation. It stands in stark contrast to the surrounding dark green of the Ponderosa Forest that peeks out from underneath the arch and the canyon below.
The Natural Bridge in Bryce Canyon is a prime example of arches that are like the famed hoodoos of Utah and are at constant risk of destruction due to the forces of erosion that continue to wear the rock away.
6. Landscape Arch
Located inside the Arches National Park, the Landscape Arch is the longest of the many natural rock arches located in the Arches National Park. The arch can be found amongst the many others in the Devils Garden area towards the northern side of the park. The Landscape Arch was named by Frank Beckwith, who explored this area in 1933-1934 as the leader of a scientific expedition to the Arches National Monument. A 1.3-kilometer long graded gravel trail can easily access the arch.
According to the Natural Arch and Bridge Society (NABS), the Landscape Arch is believed to be the fifth-longest natural arch in the world. The span of the Landscape Arch was measured at 290.1 feet in 2004. The most recently recorded rock fall event at this arch occurred in the 1990s when a large slab of rock fell in 1991. Two additional large rock falls also took place in 1995. After the rock falls, though, the trail that goes directly under the arch has been closed off.
7. Corona Arch
This is the most famous arch for adrenaline junkies. So much so that there had to be laws put in place to prevent adventure seekers from using ropes to swing from the arch. Formerly known as Little Rainbow Bridge, the Corona Arch is a natural sandstone arch near Moab. You can reach the arch from a 2.4-kilometer long hiking trail known as the Corona Arch trail from the Utah State Route 279 (Potash Road). The arch is located within the same rock formation as the bowtie Arch and Pinto Arch.
8. Mesa Arch
This is by far the most photographed arch in Utah. Sitting inside Canyonlands National Park, the Mesa Arch is perched onto a cliff that towers 1000 feet above the rest of the rust lowlands of the national parks. The Mesa Arch is a stunning natural stone arch that offers spectacular views of the canyons, Washer Woman Arch, Monster Tower, and La Sal Mountains in the distance. You can access the arch through a relatively easy hiking trail, which is just half a mile long from the Park Road.
The best time to visit Mesa Arch is during spring and fall. Sunrise and sunset are the two most popular times in the day for photographers, who try to catch the rays of the sun at the horizon or the sun peeping from underneath the arch.