Scenic USA - Utah

Owachomo Natural Bridge

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Owachomo Natural Bridge - Natural Bridges National Monument, Utah

Photos by Rob Jones
Rob's Trip Report

   An area first discovered by prospector Cass Hite, Utah's Natural Bridges National Monument Petroglyph was established just a few years before the creation of the National Parks Service, now celebrating its 100th anniversary. Catching the attention of President Theodore Roosevelt, the park was established to protect three very large natural bridges and countless artifacts. The General Land Office renamed the park's three bridges with Hopi Indian names, Owachomo, Sipapu and Kachina. The natural sandstone bridges, created by ancient active streams, span distances of 180 to 268 feet. Natural bridges are usually formed differently than natural arches. While bridges are formed by running water, the arch structures are created by a slow process of seeping moisture, frost wedging and wind-blown sand.
   The Kachina Bridge was erroneously named for similar rock art symbols seen today on Hopi Kachina Dolls. Shoe Panel - Rock Art, Natural Bridges This fragile evidence, including petroglyphs and stone tools, provide hints of early habitation during the archaic period from 7000 BCE to 500 CE. Pictured here is the Owachomo Natural Bridge, meaning rock mound, the oldest of the three bridges. Spanning Armstrong Canyon, Owachomo is the last site on the park's one way loop road. Short hikes lead to the base of each bridge. Other unmaintained trails follow both the Armstrong and White canyons, connecting the three bridges.

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