Northern Arizona has much the same geology as southern Utah, so it is prime territory for rock formations also.  Many fine arches and a few natural bridges can be found in the state, including the unique Wrather Arch, one of the largest in the world.  The Grand Canyon, for all its millions of years of erosion, has very few; most are found in the Navajo Reservation in the northeast part of the state.


 

Hawkeye Arch -- far northern Arizona, near the Utah border, Navajo Reservation.  This great arch is so named because of the large eye formation seen on the cliff behind the arch.  Actually, the bar forming the "eyelid" is also an arch, being separated from the cliff wall by a few feet.

 

 

The great Wrather Arch, Arizona's largest, and one of the world's top ten.  To see this arch was the longest hike I have ever done -- four days of backpacking the Paria River, yes, IN it, wet shoes, mud and all.  The hike starts in Utah, though you're in Arizona by the time you get to the arch... if you find it.  It is so hidden in a small side canyon that you would probably never find it without a topographical map.  Its shape is the most unusual of the world's top spans, being just a giant arm reaching down over a large space littered with rockfall.  And small rocks continue to flake off and fall inside this arch because of the massive pressure above... I know, I spent the night under it, and it was a bit eerie.

 

 

       
Me in the Hope Arch, near the Canyon de Chelly National Monument, eastern Arizona.

 

 

Tonto Natural Bridge, near Payson AZ -- this natural bridge could just as easily be considered a natural tunnel; it is longer than it is high, a very unusual structure.
 

 

 

        The White Mesa Arch is located in 
              the White Mesa of northern Arizona,
                  
on the Navajo Reservation.
                         The beautiful colors of the sandstone 
                               almost make it look like marble.
                             
 

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                    White Craig Arch, also in the White Mesa of northern Arizona. 
                         This is a fine example of a jughandle arch, meaning it comes out from the side of a ridge and is higher than it is wide. 
                         Jughandles are quite stable and will usually last much longer than wider arches.
                  

 

 

The wonderful Royal Arch of eastern Arizona... (not to be confused with the Royal Arch in the Grand Canyon, which I've never been to yet).  
I had quite an adventure just getting to this one, as you can read about in my story on this site.  


 

 

 

 

 

The Eagle Arch --
an unusual free-standing arch
made of light and dark rock,
overlooking a pretty green valley
in northern Arizona. 

 


 

 

Petrified Log Natural Bridge -- Petrified Forest National Park, eastern Arizona
Okay, so it may be stretching things a bit to call this a natural bridge... but it fits the description!  And it's definitely one of the most unusual ones anywhere. 
The log is quite possibly 300 million years old -- that's from before the age of the dinosaurs.


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