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The Natural Bridges National Monument is the picture-perfect spot to take a break if traveling through Utah. This natural monument allows you to either hike around to the bridges if you want to stretch your legs—there are some trails that provide metal stairs to help you get there. Although, if you would rather drive around to view the bridges, they offer a nine-mile scenic drive that over looks the bridges, canyons, and ancient Puebloan ruins. The bridges in the park are sandstone originally formed by windblown sand. A process where the river would form a looping meander and almost circle back on itself and created the thin rock wall that forms the bridges. Today, the river continues to shave down the rock enlarging the hole. Natural bridges are temporary and thin out overtime. Natural bridges were first used mainly for shelter around the Archaic period from 7000 B.C. to 500 A.D. Cass Hite was a man who came over to the White Canyon area to look for gold, but instead he found the three natural bridges in 1883. Then in 1904, National Geographic publicized the bridges in one of their magazines. Eventually, Theodore Roosevelt announced that it was a national monument.


  • Owachomo bridge
  • Sipapu bridge
  • Kachina bridge

The bridges have been named multiple times over their lifetime. The first set of names given to them were "President", "Senator", and "Congressman" by Cass Hite. Then other explorer groups decided to name them "Augusta", "Caroline", and "Edwin". Eventually, the boundaries were expanded and through that process they decided to name the bridges Hopi names. The first bridge at the entrance is named "Sipapu" and this means the place of emergence. The Hopi people believed this was the entry for their ancestors. Next is "Kachina" and this means dancer. Kachina was named after the rock art that was left on their by the people. Finally, the last rock is "Owachomo" and it means rock mound.

Sources:
http://www.nps.gov/nabr/historyculture/index.htm
http://www.visitutah.com/parks-monuments/monuments-recreation/natural-bridges/
http://www.nature.nps.gov/geology/parks/nabr/