Natural Bridges National Monument

Please click on the following link for the official Natural Bridges National Monument Junior Ranger web page:

http://www.nps.gov/nabr/forkids/index.htm

The Natural Bridges Junior Ranger Program booklets are free and available at the visitor center. A Natural Bridges Junior Ranger Badge is awarded to children who finish the required number of activities for their age group.

Ages 4 to 6 complete at least 3 activities with the Modest Mouse symbol
Ages 7 to 9 complete at least 4 activities with the Rockin Raven symbol
Ages 10 and up complete at least 5 activities with the Cool Coyote symbol

In addition to the activities in the Junior Ranger Booklet, watch the park video or attend a ranger led program. The activity booklet includes several activities that are age appropriate for the age categories above, including: word search, bridges bingo, word scramble, bridge formation, what’s wrong/what’s right, cryptic code, poem creation, crossword, connect the dots, matching animal tracks, drawing art and interviewing a ranger.

My family visited Natural Bridges National Monument on March 29, 2010. Both Alyssa and Samantha completed the Junior Ranger Program. There were not any Ranger led programs offered during our visit. Prior to venturing out, we watched the park video. After the video, we got a few suggestions for hikes and headed out. Natural Bridges National Monument has a one-way paved road with several view points along the way.

There are three bridges you can hike to: Sipapu Bridge, Kachina Bridge and Owachomo Bridge.

All of the bridges have trail heads or if you want to hike all three, there is a loop trail which is 8.6 miles long. During our visit, the trailhead to Sipapu Bridge was closed due to snow damage. Instead of hiking the loop we hiked to the Kachina Bridge trail and the Owachomo Bridge trail.

We first hiked the Kachina Bridge trail, which is 1.2 mile trip with a 348 foot elevation change. Here is a picture of Angela, Alyssa and Samantha under the Kachina Bridge.

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It is not mentioned in the Visitor Guide, but when you get to the bridge, walk across the water, but do not go under the bridge and go to your left. Along the cliff wall are remains of ancestral Puebloan dwellings and pictographs and petroglyphs on the walls.

Our second hike was to the Owachomo Bridge, a much shorter hike of .4 miles with a 125 foot elevation change. You could walk under both of the bridges we hiked to. Both of the hikes had some amazing views.

After we finished our last hike, we returned to the visitor center where Alyssa and Samantha were awarded Natural Bridges National Monument Junior Ranger Badges and certificates.

 

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