Morning Glory Natural Bridge - Moab, Utah

Photos of a Hike in Southeast Utah's Canyon Country - January 2, 2010

Morning Glory Natural Bridge
Morning Glory Natural Bridge is a great place to visit if you're seeking a hike outside the national parks. This is an excellent hike! Everyone has different levels of ability, but I consider this an "in the middle" hike. It was long enough (approximately 2.25 miles one way) and had pretty canyon views throughout, and yet it was not an outrageously difficult excursion. The destination, Morning Glory Natural Bridge, is the sixth largest rock span in the United States, spanning 243 feet across. If you love arches, natural bridges and the unique geology of this region, this trail is worth the effort.

Directions: From the town of Moab, travel north and turn east (right) on Highway 128. The trailhead is approximately 2-3 miles on the right, marked as the Negro Bill Canyon Trailhead.

Morning Glory Natural Bridge
I am not a geology expert, but I recently learned the difference between arches and natural bridges. Arches are created by water eroding within the rock, and natural bridges require a flowing stream to create them.

Moab, UT Highway 128
Along The Way - The Hike

Approaching the trailhead while driving on Highway 128 northeast of Moab.

Negro Bill Canyon Trailhead Information about the natural bridge, precautions and the canyon's name.

I do recommend having a topographical map, especially if you are new to the area. Personally, I had the National Geographic Arches National Park map which included the trail.

Negro Bill Canyon Trailhead Taken in the parking lot.

Now I understand why this natural bridge is named "Morning Glory." This was the view as I began my hike east into the canyon - just awful lighting with the sun directly behind clouds. It seems like one is walking toward the sun throughout the walk. At the natural bridge itself, the sun was above and behind the natural bridge.

From a photography standpoint and in retrospect, I would visit in the afternoon or early evening for potentially better lighting of the canyon and natural bridge.

Negro Bill Canyon, UT Inside the canyon.
Negro Bill Canyon, Utah The trail crosses the creek many times.
Getting closer to the natural bridge.

Morning Glory Natural Bridge

Do you see it? Now this is a special place!

Morning Glory Natural Bridge
I had difficulty finding the right angle to show how magnificent this work of nature is.

Approaching the natural bridge, my inital thought was it did not seem very impressive, but then as I walked directly below it ...

Morning Glory Natural Bridge

Morning Glory Natural Bridge

... It becomes clear how spectacular and delicate this natural bridge is.

Adjacent are three photos from three slightly different angles and perspectives.

My other Moab hikes and pages:

  • Corona Arch Trail
  • Arches National Park (February 2009)
  • Double O Arch
  • Park Avenue Trail
  • Tower Arch
  • Looking Glass Rock

  • Morning Glory Natural Bridge

    Morning Glory Natural Bridge

    Morning Glory Natural Bridge

    I vote this photo my best shot of the natural bridge. It's not the greatest, and I really must return on a sunny late afternoon with blue skies. ;) Morning Glory Natural Bridge
    Then I walked toward the rock wall with my back to it. The view of the natural bridge from this point shows what a small slither of rock this is.

    Like all arches and natural bridges, only time will tell how long these creations will hold against gravity, and thankfully, it didn't crumble with me standing below it! :-?

    Morning Glory Natural Bridge
    In the far corner, a creek comes through the cracks of the wall. Somehow, this water drainage system has played a role in the creation of this natural bridge. Morning Glory Natural Bridge

    Utah Canyon Country

    Extra Photos On The Way Back

    Because the sun was in my eyes for much of the hike, the return to the trailhead had much better lighting. Adjacent are two photos of red rocks surrounding the canyon.

    Prickly Pear Cactus Snow covers a large prickly pear cactus.
    Icicles Negro Bill Canyon, UT LEFT: Many large icicles exist inside the canyon. Although Moab winters are generally moderate, I happened to visit during a very cold stretch of days. As a Coloradan, I was used to it! :)

    RIGHT: A vertical rock structure near the trailhead. I don't think it has a name, but my intuition tells me it should. It's shape reminds me of a watchman - a tall and thin watchman with his arms underneath a robe. It looks like he has some kind of cap on his head as well. ;)

    Steve One awful photo of myself after the hike. I wore my Arkansas Razorbacks sweatshirt because this was the same day as the Liberty Bowl, in which Arkansas defeated East Carolina 20-17. Go Hogs!

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