"Rainbow Bridge National Monument" Top 5 Page for this destination Utah Things to Do Tip by toonsarah

Utah Things to Do: 328 reviews and 607 photos

  Rainbow Bridge
by toonsarah

At I290 feet in height and spanning 275 feet, Rainbow Bridge is the world's largest known natural bridge, and since the flooding of Glen Canyon which created Lake Powell is only accessible by boat, or by backpacking. Boat tours can be taken from Wahweap Marina at the southern end of the lake near Page, Arizona, although Rainbow Bridge itself, like most of the lake, is in Utah. Of course if you are holidaying on the lake in a rented houseboat or your own boat, you can visit the bridge independently, but that option wasn?t open to us. Backpackers need a permit from the Navajo Nation ? see website below for details.

Assuming that like most visitors you come by boat, you will still need to be willing to walk a bit, as the Bridge cannot be seen from the water. Boats dock in Forbidding Canyon, from where a fairly easy trail leads about 1.25 miles to the bridge. This distance can vary, depending on water levels in the lake, but you always need to be prepared, and capable, of walking some distance at least if you?re to see the bridge. The trail is not accessible to wheelchairs and has some small ascents and descents.

Natural bridges are rarer than arches, and differ from them in that they form when a watercourse breaks through rock, rather than by erosion. It is hard to imagine in this dry desert landscape, but fast flowing rivers once carved these canyons. One of these, here in Bridge Canyon, gradually wore through a spur of sandstone that was blocking its path, creating a natural bridge over the water. The river has almost dried up, and no longer has such power, but the Bridge remains.

Neighbouring American Indian tribes believe the Bridge is a sacred religious site, as they have done for centuries, so we are asked to visit ?in a spirit that honours and respects the cultures to whom it is sacred?. They come to Rainbow Bridge to pray and make offerings near and under its lofty span. Special prayers are said before passing beneath the Bridge: neglect to say appropriate prayers might bring misfortune or hardship. Visitors are requested to view it from the viewing area rather than walking up to or under it.

Blow up the photo to get a sense of the scale - spot the tiny people on the left!

Directions: The easiest way to get here is by boat ? see the link in my Lake Powell tip
Website: http://www.nps.gov/rabr/index.htm

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Apr 5, 2010
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