In addition to its impressive array of national parks, Southern Utah boasts many national monuments as well. Although usually not as large as national parks, national monuments are no less spectacular. In fact, many of Utah’s national parks started out as monuments. One of our favorite national monuments in Utah is Natural Bridges.
Natural Bridges National Monument is actually Utah’s first national monument. It was designated a national monument in 1908 by President Theodore Roosevelt. Natural Bridges protects over 7,000 acres of desert wildlife, and geological formations. The monument also preserves thousands of years of Native American archeology.
The main attraction of Natural Bridges National Monument is, coincidently, three of the world’s largest natural bridges. The longest of these three bridges spans 268 feet (82 meters.) These bridges are formed by countless years of water and wind erosion.
Another feature that makes Natural Bridges worth visiting can only be found at night. Natural Bridges National Monument was named the world’s first International Dark-Sky Park for its clear, unpolluted views of the night sky. We at the Lodge at Red River Ranch encourage you to spend the night at the campground in the monument. Also consider taking advantage of the many ranger-lead astronomy tours that occur throughout the year.
When visiting Natural Bridges National Monument, be sure to check out the visitor center. The visitor center doubles as a museum for some of the Indian artifacts that have been unearthed in the monument. If you like to hike, you will find an abundance of trails to explore.
Natural Bridges is located about 40 miles north of another of Utah’s great monuments – Monument Valley. You can access Natural Bridges from highway 95. The monument charges a nominal fee of six dollars per entering vehicle.
We at the Lodge at Red River Ranch encourage you to get out this summer and visit one of Utah’s best national monuments. Spend the night stargazing, hike through the desert and admire the forces of nature. You won’t be disappointed.
For more info, check out Natural Bridges National Monument web site here.