Kachina Bridge Ruin

Round Trip Distance: 2.8 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation: 5633 - 6005 feet
Cellphone: 0 bars
Time: 1 hr. 30 mins.
Trailhead: Kachina Bridge
Fee: $20/vehicle
Attractions: cliff dwelling, rock art

The Kachina Bridge Ruin is located in the Natural Bridges National Monument west of Blanding, Utah near Kachina Bridge and the confluence of White Canyon and Armstrong Canyon. The ruin includes an interesting circular structure that has pictographs painted on its interior wall. Numerous petroglyphs and pictographs cover the back wall of the alcove in which the ruin sits while many boulders beneath the overhang are also etched with petroglyphs and display deep grooves where things like seeds and corn were ground.

After finding your way to the Natural Bridges National Monument Visitor Center, where you can pay the required entrance fee, load up on drinking water, and gather current information, proceed around the Bridge View Drive to the Kachina Bridge trailhead.

From the parking area follow the paved trail toward the overlook to where the more primitive trail begins on the left that leads down into the canyon to Kachina Bridge.

Hikers will find a well constructed trail that includes many stone stairs, handrails and even a ladder that make the steep descent into the canyon more of a pleasurable adventure. The scenic views of Kachina Bridge and the surrounding cliffs and canyons are a treat to the senses creating a pleasurable experience that won't soon be forgotten.

This photo will give an idea of the location of the destined ruin and rock art. White Canyon drains through Kachina Bridge where upon this side it is met by Armstrong Canyon and turns sharply to the west. The ruins are on a low bench beneath an alcove a few hundred feet from the opening of Kachina Bridge itself.

As you approach down the wash go to the left just before passing beneath Kachina Bridge.

Just to the left of the bridge is a very sandy bench where you should be able to notice some faint Barrier Canyon Style pictographs and a large number of petroglyphs. Just below the pictographs in this photo are what look like a couple of bear paws.

There is normally a large pool of water in the mouth of the canyon to the left. To avoid the water and get up to the ruins requires a short scramble. The route is sandy and has a lot of loose rocks but it is very short.

The Park Service has put up a chain barrier to keep visitors back from the ruins. Everything about them is visible and easy enough to photograph from between the chains. Notice the long red lightening like streaks that come down the wall right behind the circular structure. They have a profound appearance even today and due to the location of the circular structure appear to have had maybe even a mystical aspect back then.

The trapezoidal shaped pictographic images that decorate the interior of the structure look to be more of a Fremont Style.

There is something cute about this granary that makes use of a boulder for much of its walls.

There are quite a few painted hand pictographs and a few that are anthropomorphic like this knife wielding warrior dude.

Many of the petroglyphs seem to be of a newer date than that of the pictographs but that might not be the case. On the back of the alcove they are mixed in with the painted images but they seem to have sole claim to the images found on the many boulders.

Deep grinding grooves are also found on a few of the boulders within the alcove.

The majority of visitors that hike down to Kachina Bridge come within 100 feet or so of the Kachina Bridge Ruin without ever knowing it is there. That was us included on our first trip to Kachina Bridge. If it is your first trip you will also find some rock art around the east side of the opening of Kachina Bridge. Be sure to treat the ruins and rock art with your greatest respect remembering not to touch any images or the area of the rock around them as the oil from your skin will actually dissolve the rock and images. If you would like to see the Kachina Bridge Ruins and rock art for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.