Hikes National Parks/Monuments

Covered Wagon Natural Bridge

(Last Updated On: July 28, 2016)

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Covered Wagon Natural Bridge is a rock formation located in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. There is a short hike (quarter mile round trip) down to the bridge, and a grotto on the other side.

 

You can tell that Covered Wagon is a natural bridge because it is located in a dry wash. This means that it was formed by water. Arches, like the one just down the road called Cedar Wash Arch, are formed by wind. This means that when you arrive at the trailhead, you need to drop down into the wash. This can be a bit tricky as there are many trails down (trails are generally unmarked in this national monument). We chose a trail that looked straight, and we ended up coming out right on top of the natural bridge. We were able to cut back and climb down into the wash that runs right under the Covered Wagon Natural Bridge. If you choose any trail that drops down from the parking lot and head left (up) the wash. It is a very short walk, so it would be difficult to get lost.

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This is the sign post with no sign. Park here.

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We followed this trail that seemed the most traveled, but we needed to cut down to the wash sooner than we did. Once in the wash, head to your left.

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There are quite a few sandy trails to follow.

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This is where we came out, right on top of the Natural Bridge. We had to climb back a little so we could get down underneath it.

The path goes up the wash under the bridge, so be sure to stop for a photo or two. If you continue under the bridge for another 50 yards, you’ll find yourself in a wet, cool grotto carved out of the sandstone. This grotto runs for about 50 more yards, and it is definitely worth checking out. One amazing thing to try is picking up a piece of sandstone. Even the rock that is an inch thick can be easily broken in your hand! We loved how cool and shady it was in the grotto, especially after a hot day exploring in Grand Staircase Escalante.

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It is really fun to walk underneath the natural bridge.

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Make sure to walk under the bridge and back to the grotto. I’m standing underneath Covered Wagon Natural Bridge as I take the picture.

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You will see this nice, shady fun place to explore as you come around the bend.

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It was perfect for cooling off on a hot summer day.

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We couldn’t believe how much room there was in the grotto.

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The boys loved that they could break the sandstone rocks, even pretty large ones. They felt like Superman!

Directions: There are two ways to reach Covered Wagon Natural Bridge. The easiest is to get on Center Street in Escalante, reset your odometer, and drive south for 3.5 miles. Here the road turns to dirt, but shouldn’t give you too much trouble. At 4.6 miles the road becomes Cedar Wash Road, and at 7.7 miles you will pass the sign that you are entering the Grand Staircase National Monument. Follow the road until the 9.0 mile mark where you will come to a small pullout with a signpost (no sign though). This is the trailhead parking lot. The second way to access this trail is to take the turnoff of Hole-in-the-Rock Road. We didn’t explore this way, so we don’t have all the details, but we did see a sign for Cedar Wash Arch Road and confirmed it on the map.