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Natural Bridges National Monument is about 40 miles west of Blanding, 60 miles northwest of Bluff, 43 miles north of Mexican Hat, and about 50 miles east of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area's Hite or Halls Crossing marinas.

Getting There

The national monument is located in southeast Utah, off scenic Utah 95 via Utah 275. From Monument Valley, follow U.S. 163 north to Utah 261 (just past Mexican Hat); at Utah 95, go west to Utah 275 and the Monument. Beware, though: Utah 261, although a very pretty drive, has 10% grades and numerous steep switchbacks. It's not recommended for motor homes, those towing trailers, or anyone who's afraid of heights. The less adventurous and RV-bound should stick to approaching from the east, via Utah 95.

Make sure you have enough fuel for the trip to Natural Bridges; the closest gas stations are at least 40 miles away in Mexican Hat or Blanding. In fact, no services of any kind can be found within 40 miles of the monument.

Information/Visitor Center

For a park brochure and other information, contact Natural Bridges National Monument, HC 60 Box 1, Lake Powell, UT 84533-0101 (tel. 435/692-1234; www.nps.gov/nabr).

A visitor center at the park entrance, open daily from 9am to 5:30pm with some seasonal variations, has exhibits and a video program on bridge formation, the human history of the area, and the monument's plants and wildlife. Rangers are available to advise you about hiking trails and scheduled activities. The visitor center is the only place in the monument where you can get drinking water.

Fees & Regulations

Entry to the monument is $6 per vehicle or $3 per person on foot, bicycle, or motorcycle. Regulations are similar to those in most areas administered by the National Park Service, with an emphasis on protecting the natural resources. Be especially careful not to damage any of the fragile archaeological sites in the monument; climbing on the natural bridges is prohibited. Overnight backpacking is not permitted within the monument, and vehicles may not be left unattended overnight. Because parking at the overlooks and trail heads is limited, anyone towing trailers or extra vehicles is asked to leave them at the visitor center parking lot. Pets must be leashed and are not allowed on trails or in buildings.

Seasons/Avoiding the Crowds

Although the monument is open year-round, winters can be a bit harsh at this 6,500-foot elevation; the weather is best between late April and October. Because trail-head parking is limited and most people visit in June, July, and August, the best months to see the park, if your schedule permits, are May, September, and October.

Ranger Programs

Guided hikes and walks, evening campground programs, and talks at the visitor center patio are presented from spring through fall. Schedules are posted at the visitor center.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.