Thursday, May 24, 2012

Natural Bridges - Owachomo Bridge

Owachomo Bridge at Natural Bridges National Monument

Owachomo ("rock mound" in Hopi) was our last stop at Natural Bridges.  We walked first to the overlook, then continued on a short hike to the bridge itself.  I am glad we took the time for the hike.  The view from the overlook isn't nearly as good.  However, the overlook walk is paved, only 220 feet long, and completely accessible. 

Paved trail to the overlook.

Owachomo blends in with the background from the overlook.

After seeing the view from the overlook, we started down the trail to the bridge.  Owachomo looks more delicate than the previous bridges we viewed.  Perhaps it eroded more quickly. The river that formed it no longer runs beneath it.  The trail was not too steep, and also not very long.  The trail sign indicates this trail is two-tenths of a mile, and only has a 180 foot elevation change.  It is suitable for a variety of ages and abilities.

Sign showing the trail to the bridge continuing to the right.

Not very far down the trail, the view of Owachomo was improving.  We were eager to reach the bridge.

View of Owachomo from the trail.

The sun was out, and as we descended we got some protection from the wind.  Still, we were grateful for sweatshirts.  We continued on to the bridge, and then spent some time beneath its wide expanse taking in the view and listening for the canyon wrens that are supposed to be common in this area.

Yellow flowers by the trail.

Once you reach the bridge, you can sit on the rocks, or wander a bit further to the river bed.  You can easily walk to see the bridge from the other side.  Owachomo is the oldest bridge in the park, and it was very calming to sit under its 180 foot expanse.  

Sun over Owachomo bridge.

We took photos and walked around for awhile.  This hike is not long, and you could easily visit this bridge in about half an hour.  The views are worth the effort.

Another view of Owachomo.

We headed back up the trail.  By now we had seen all three bridges at the monument, and everyone was getting hungry for lunch.  Because it was still cold and windy, we opted not to eat at a picnic area, but instead made lunches out of the cooler in the back of the van, and ate in the protective warmth of the vehicle.  This was a nice little trail, and visiting the Mule Canyon Ruin and Natural Bridges was a great way to spend the morning.   Owachomo was my favorite of the three bridges, maybe because it is the only one we hiked to!

View of the Owachomo Bridge trail looking back toward the overlook.

After lunch, we packed up, made one last stop at the visitor's center to refill our water jug, use the restrooms, and do a little souvenir shopping, and then we left on our drive to Monument Valley.  It was a beautiful morning at Natural Bridges!  Someday I hope to do the hikes to their fullest, but I was glad we could at least do a little bit this morning!

Uglydoll Dave Darinko enjoys Owachomo Bridge.

Check out our other stops from this day trip:

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