The drive to Bluff was short from Moab, but no less beautiful. We had more mountains to see, a little less desert, but all still very nice views. The park we stayed at in Bluff, The Cadillac Ranch, was small and perfect. A family has owned and run the park for the better part of at least 20 years; there are only about 12 sites here. The park is in the middle of the canyon that the San Juan River has carved out and is still flowing nicely though this area.
We set up the RV and it was early so we headed to the Four Corners region. Let’s just say we saw it. There is a nice little area of descriptions and the actual steel plaque in the ground at the site for a photo, but that is about it. One of those places that I can say we went to, but never need to go back. We finished the afternoon off with a short stint down at the river, and then back to the MoHo for Taco’s.
The next day we set off early to the Natural Bridges National Monument – part of the National Parks system, but not designated as a NP. We got a tip from Dee Dee (family friend) to drive a road in the area. We looked it up, and with some additional research, decided to give this a try. The first part of the journey was on the Valley of the Gods dirt road. This 17-mile trek through the Monuments area of southern Utah was spectacular! This road is surrounded by massive canyon walls, dried out washes and shrubs, a truly awesome back road. It took us about 1.5 hours to drive this portion of the road, pictures, and slow on the dirt/gravel, but just awesome. The road eventually ties back into Hwy 261, and this is called the Moki Dugway portion of the Hwy. It climbs about 1,200-1,400 feet in three miles, and gave us the view back into the valley we just drove. Again, Utah amazed us with the openness and distances we could see from here. This is one of those roads you never will forget. If you ever get in the area, make sure to take this highway but do make sure you come in from the south and go uphill, I could not fathom driving downhill on that road!
We arrived to the Bridges N.M. and checked into the visitor’s center – free maps and water – a must in these parts. We hiked down to the first of the bridges, Sipapu Bridge, the second longest natural land bridge in the world. Until you stand underneath it, it seems so simple and small from a distance. Then you realize the massiveness that remains and wonder how in the world it is still standing. We returned to the car, hiking back up the 500 feet, and decided to just take pictures of the second bridge (Kachina). The last bridge, Owachomo, we decided to hike down to and this one was much younger, and a lot more delicate. It felt that if the wind kicked up hard, this could come down at any time. I caught myself thinking many times that George Lucas must have used this place as inspiration for some of the settings and structures for the Star Wars movies. We were lucky that there were very few people here so we could enjoy the area without anyone on top of us. This has been great at the smaller parks, and I think we have enjoyed them more because of the quietness. We headed back to the MoHo for steaks and a nice bottle of JM Cellars vino and watched Episode 1 of the Star Wars series. Off to Ouray, CO next!
Here are more pics!