This national monument offers some spectacular views and if your intention is to visit each bridge via your car and view them from the overlooks you will probably rate it higher than an average. However I would still recommend you at least walk down to each bridge as they each look far more spectacular when viewed from below rather than above. If however you want to hike the park there is a 8.6 mile loop trail which starts at Sipapu Bridge parking area. The 0.6 mile trail down to the bridge is steep, but has steps,ladders and rails - at the bottom the views are awesome. The trail then meanders alongside the stream, crossing it several times. The route was not well defined and in a number of places seemed to just disappear. If you persevere you will in 2.3 miles be rewarded with views of the Kachina Bridge - again spectacular. The trail goes under the bridge and up the left side of the canyon. It appears you are walking out towards the Kachina trailhead, but the trail does kick right back down into the canyon, this time following the stream in Armstrong Canyon. Again it meanders alongside the stream, crossing several times, it is not well defined and has very limited cairns. After about 1.5 miles the trail plunges into a deep part of the stream (thigh high the day we hiked) as we hadn't really been prepared for it and wasn't wholly sure this was the correct route we searched for alternatives for a while before turning back and exiting at Kachina trailhead. On our way back towards Kachina we passed a German family and advised them of the lack of defined trail and deep stream. They continued. We then visited the last bridge after making our back to Sipapu trailhead to collect our car. The hike down to Owachomo Bridge is short and relatively easy although I wouldn't recommend flip flops! Again the views are magnificent. At the bridge we met the German family who had waded thigh high through the stream, got lost a bit more and finally made it to the last bridge.
The fee for this park is $6 which is great value but a more maintained trail would have gotten this park at least a four rating. At no time did the ranger in the visitor centre advise us the route was not clearly defined nor that there was a deep stream crossing. In fact the day before our hike we called in to the park to check out the route and the ranger asked if were going to hike that day - it was 4.30pm and raining and she had said we should give ourselves up to 6 hours - even I know coming from a cooler more reserved country that you don't start a hike in a canyon in the rain at 4.30 in the afternoon. We hike Americas National Parks and expect trails to be difficult at times particularly after rain but this park needs to improve a) the trail cairns and b) the knowledge of their rangers. Whilst this is a very small park it could learn lots from others such as Canyonlands where we were advised cairns had been washed away so it may be difficult to find the trail.
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