Petrified Forest NP : Onyx Bridge

This morning, I headed into Petrified Forest National Park once more. I ended up hiking the “off the beaten path” adventure to Onyx Bridge from the Painted Desert Inn, before driving south to see Agate Bridge as well; the latter being immediately off of the road.

Waking up, I was actually feeling a little off. As if, perhaps, I might have a cold coming on. But I had wanted to spend the day doing some more adventure in Petrified Forest NP, so I headed out anyway. Getting to the Painted Desert Inn, I asked a ranger about the Onyx Bridge hike, and decided to just jump on it and go.

The hike to Onyx Bridge starts out on a trail down into the beautiful red badlands of the painted desert, following  a trail that more-or-less just suddenly ends once you get into the grassland of the valley that is cut through by a large wash. The trail was pretty obvious, and in great condition, so I was quite happy.

However, as I jumped off of the trail and began making my way in the direction of Onyx Bridge, the way seemed to just get muddier. The worst of all was in the large wash that you must cross at least once or twice, if not follow within it entirely. I opted to try and cross it twice in 2 different curves, each time getting tons of mud caked to my shoes, making the hike more difficult than it should have been.

As I entered into more badlands on the other side of the valley, I had caught up to a group of young guys and gals beginning a backpacking trip with a stop at the bridge as well. None of us really understood the directions, so we split up and explored. They found Onyx Bridge before me, but I had fun exploring different sides of the badlands that many people probably never go out of their way to see.

Alas, I made it to the bridge and hung out for a bit before heading back on my own, to the Inn. 2 other groups of people were preparing to make their way to Onyx Bridge as well when I left, but I never did end up running into them. It begs the question of if they got even more lost than I felt! Who knows?

Nonetheless, I returned to the car and headed further south. After a quick stop at Agate Bridge for a coupe of pictures (last 2 in the gallery below), the cold that I had felt in the morning seemed to be more and more apparent, and I just wasn’t really having it. So, I headed back to camp near Winslow to rest and write this here blog post.


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