Heat and Sun
During the summer, expect high temperatures, intense sunlight, and low humidity. Eat plenty of food and drink at least one gallon (4 liters) of water each day. Drink water and eat salty snacks while hiking. Wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing and a wide-brimmed hat. Apply sunscreen to all exposed skin. Reapply sunscreen every two hours and reapply more often if you are sweating. Consider saving strenuous activity for early mornings or evenings.
Learn more about Natural Bridges’ weather.
Hydration is essential in the desert, even in winter. Drink 1 gallon (4 liters) of water per day. You should plan on bringing enough water for your entire hike. Water is available at the visitor center.
Natural Bridges National monument an isolated and rugged environment. You may have to drive more than 50 miles (80 km) to find food, gas, lodging, or medical facilities. Make sure you have plenty of fuel, food, and water before entering the park.. Do not rely on cellular telephones - cell service is not available within and around the monument. Don’t rely on car GPS because they may not work in some areas. Instead, carry an up-to-date paper map with you.
Wear sturdy shoes with enough tread to give you good traction. Do not hike in smooth-soled shoes or boots. Some trails cover uneven terrain and follow rock ledges. Plan to bring most or all of the "ten essentials" with you.
Lightning and Flash Foods
Storms and flash floods can be powerful and sudden. When lightning is present, there is no safe place outside. Return to your vehicle or get indoors. If you can't get indoors, avoid lone trees, cliff edges, and high ridges. Crouch low to the ground. Never try to cross a wash that is flooding.
Climbing and Scrambling
Be careful near cliff edges, especially when conditions are wet or icy. Avoid loose rock when traversing slopes and remember that slickrock is much easier to climb up than down.
Winter temperatures can drop well below freezing. Hypothermia is a hazard in late fall, winter, and early spring. When hiking during these times, carry extra layers of clothing, foul-weather gear, and a flashlight. Shoe spikes or other traction devices and an emergency blanket are highly recommended. Avoid wearing cotton - wear wool or synthetic clothing to stay warm and dry. Even a few inches of snow can hide cairns and trails or make slickrock areas impassable.
Stay with companions while hiking, as separation can mean getting lost. Do not count on a cellular phone to get help - service will not reach into many areas. If you become lost, stay where you are and wait for rescue. Wandering will endanger your life and make finding you difficult. When traveling alone, always tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return. Do not rely on GPS units to guide you because GPS signal can easily be lost in canyon country. Familiarize yourself with your map and compass before beginning your hike.
Late spring and early summer is biting gnat season.
Wild animals often carry deadly diseases. They may become aggressive without warning. Always view wildlife from the safety of your car or from a distance. Do not approach animals to take photographs and teach children not to chase or pick up animals. Never feed wildlife.
A few venomous animals live in Colorado Plateau parks, including midget-faded rattlesnakes, scorpions, and black widow spiders. It's unlikely that you'll see these animals. If you do, they will generally flee when approached. While a scorpion sting is likely to be mild (like a bee sting), anyone bitten by a black widow spider or rattlesnake should seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Black bears are known to wander into Colorado Plateau parks from nearby mountains. Although unusual, be prepared for the possibility of encountering a black bear at Natural Bridges.