Natural Bridge

Willcox, Arizona

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A day hike to an overlook of Natural Bridge. This rewarding trail penetrates a hidden corner of Chiricahua National Monument to reach a small stone bridge weathered out of bedrock by centuries of erosion. The path climbs at a steady clip, topping out on a high plateau where piñon pine and alligator juniper rise above a chaparral community of manzanita, bear grass, and yucca. Two buttes faced with cliffs and spires rise ahead as the trail runs westward, and the tawny grasslands of the Sulphur Springs Valley stretch away beyond them. This enchanting woodland of ponderosa and Chihuahua pines occupies a flat basin surrounded by fascinating rock formations. The tall pines fall away as the trail climbs to an overlook spot that marks its terminus. High on the far wall of the canyon, the natural bridge spans a narrow gulch lined by oak trees. This stout, 30-foot span of welded tuff has been weathered out of the bedrock by the passage of water, which eroded the weaker rock beneath the bridge.
Hiking Arizona's Cactus Country

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Hiking Arizona's Cactus Country

by Erik Molvar (Falcon Guides)

A day hike to an overlook of Natural Bridge. This rewarding trail penetrates a hidden corner of Chiricahua National Monument to reach a small stone bridge weathered out of bedrock by centuries of erosion. The path climbs at a steady clip, topping out on a high plateau where piñon pine and alligator juniper rise above a chaparral community of manzanita, bear grass, and yucca. Two buttes faced with cliffs and spires rise ahead as the trail runs westward, and the tawny grasslands of the Sulphur Springs Valley stretch away beyond them.

This enchanting woodland of ponderosa and Chihuahua pines occupies a flat basin surrounded by fascinating rock formations. The tall pines fall away as the trail climbs to an overlook spot that marks its terminus. High on the far wall of the canyon, the natural bridge spans a narrow gulch lined by oak trees. This stout, 30-foot span of welded tuff has been weathered out of the bedrock by the passage of water, which eroded the weaker rock beneath the bridge.

©  Erik Molvar/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Willcox
Distance: 4.8
Elevation Gain: 645 feet
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Moderate to Difficult
Duration: Day hike
Season: Best September to May
Trailhead Elevation: 5,500 feet
Top Elevation: 6,050 feet
Local Contacts: Chiricahua National Monument
Local Maps: USGS Chiricahua National Monument
Driving Directions: Directions to Natural Bridge

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May 2018