Just one day after my first visit down to the canyon floor to ogle up at Kachina Bridge, I was back the next afternoon. I did the north loop hike in the park.
At Natural Bridges you can hike down to each of the three mighty stone bridges, turn around and go back up the way you came down. Or you can do loop hikes, which are longer, which allows you to see even more.
So yesterday was my first time doing the north loop hike, down from the rim of White Canyon to Sipapu Bridge, then following the unmaintained trail route down the mostly dry streambed to Kachina Bridge. From there it was back up to the rim and over the top via the Mesa Trail back to where the vehicle was parked.
Unlike the previous evening with its soft overcast light, this day was back to a classic Utah high country Indian Summer kind of day. Achingly blue clear skies, low humidity, maybe a slight breeze. Best of all, the cottonwood and boxelder trees growing along the stream course were pretty much at peak fall color. It won’t be long now. As I approached the bridge from upstream the late afternoon sun lit up the yellow autumn foliage from above and behind, making it glow.
Later, back at the Visitor Center, someone that I had met that morning had stopped back in to get directions to their next stopping points south. He summed up the day perfectly when he said: “You’re right, this place is a hidden gem!”
Photo location: Kachina Bridge, in White Canyon, Natural Bridges National Monument, San Juan County, southeast Utah.