Visiting in Spring and Fall

yellow and orange fall color on Cottonwood trees below Kachina Bridge
The desert comes to life with radiant color in spring and fall. In fall, Cottonwood trees change color, like these below Kachina Bridge.

NPS Photo

Visitors flock to Natural Bridges for the moderate temperatures and wildflower blooms of spring (March to May) and fall (September and October), making spring and fall the busiest times of year. However, even during the busy season, Natural Bridges is still quieter than many other national parks.

 
fishhook cactus with yellow bloom
Many cacti and wildflowers bloom in spring. Other plant, like rabbit brush, bloom in early fall.

NPS Photo by Jacob W. Frank

What You Need to Know

Spring and fall have unpredictable weather. Weekends in the fall and spring bring larger crowds, but weekdays are usually quieter.

Weather

Rain showers support spring’s wildflower bloom. Spring can also be very windy. In the fall, September marks the end of monsoon season– afternoon thunderstorms are possible. In both seasons, temperatures can vary as much as 40 degrees between day and night. Snow showers and hail are possible. Check the weather forecast frequently and bring plenty of extra layers, including warm winter layers and water-resistant shells. Learn more about weather at Natural Bridges.

Spring is biting gnat season! From mid-May to mid-June, be prepared with long-sleeves, pants, and bug spray. Learn more about biting gnats.

Trail and Road Conditions

Trails become slick and muddy after rain showers. Check at the visitor center for the latest conditions.

Water

Water is available in the visitor center and from the water spigot in the visitor center parking lot. Water is not available at trailheads or in the campground.

Visitor Center

The visitor center hours may change in spring and fall. Check our hours page for current times.

Camping

The campground is open year-round and is first-come, first-served. The campground usually fills by 10 am every day in spring and fall. We recommend visitors plan to arrive early on a weekday for the best chance of getting a site. Check the fees page for camping fees.

In spring, heavy winds can blow over tents. Tent campers should stake down tents and put heavy rocks on tent corners.

Avoid Crowds

Those looking for quieter trails should plan their visit for weekdays. If planning to come on a weekend, arrive early (8 – 9 am) and finish hiking by the afternoon. Hikes in the canyon may also be quieter and less crowded. Visitors seeking true solitude should consider visiting in winter, when visitation is much lower.

 
steep metal staircase along side of canyon
Some trails, like the trail to Sipapu Bridge, have staircases and ladders that become treacherous when wet.

NPS Photo by Andrew Kuhn

Things to Do

Hiking

Trails may be muddy in spring and fall, especially at the end of monsoon season in September. The hike to Owachomo Bridge is the most popular trail in the park because it is the easiest, and often driest, trail. The hikes to Sipapu Bridge and Kachina Bridge require at least an hour and offer very little shade. Sipapu Bridge, Kachina Bridge, and all loop trails may be slippery - hiking poles are recommended. The ladders on the Sipapu Bridge trail and the Kachina Bridge trail may also be slippery.

Stargazing

Temperatures may reach below freezing at night and skies may be overcast. If the night is clear, stargazing is a must at Natural Bridges, the first International Dark Sky Park. Visitors are welcome to stargaze from their campsite, the visitor center parking lot, or on trails. The more adventurous can hike to Owachomo Bridge to see the Milky Way behind the bridge’s silhouette. In May and September, rangers may give astronomy programs, depending on staffing. Check our stargazing page for more information and events.

Other Activities

Kids (and adults!) can earn a Junior Ranger badge by completing activities in the Natural Bridges Junior Ranger Booklet [1.5 MB PDF file]. Booklets are also available in the visitor center.

The 10-minute park film is available upon request in the visitor center.

Ranger talks and walks are may be offered in spring and fall, depending on staffing. Call the visitor center for programs and times.

 

Suggested Trips and Activities

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    Last updated: February 15, 2018

    Contact the Park

    Mailing Address:

    HC-60 Box 1
    Lake Powell, UT 84533-0001

    Phone:

    (435) 692-1234 x16

    Contact Us