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Rainbow Bridge National Monument

Rainbow Bridge National Monument
  • Weather: Sunny, 54F

Considered sacred in Navajo culture, Rainbow Bridge is a symbol of deities responsible for creating rain, the essence of life in the desert. Before the construction of Glen Canyon Dam formed Lake Powell, Rainbow Bridge National Monument was a remote destination requiring a multi-day hike from Navajo Mountain. Now, Lake Powell water level brings visitors within one-quarter to 2 miles of Rainbow Bridge, yet this impressive Utah natural bridge still feels a world apart.

Rainbow Bridge National Monument is the tallest natural bridge in the world. It is roughly the sixth longest. Carved from red Navajo sandstone, the bridge is 290 feet tall and 270 feet across — higher than the United States Capitol Building — and nearly as long as a football or soccer field.

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Insider's Guide to Hiking Rainbow Bridge National Monument

Written by Matcha

From choosing the best season and trail, to understanding logistics and history, here's what you need to know to hike Utah's Rainbow Bridge National Monument located off the south coast of Lake Powell.

Southern, Adventure

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Getting There

Rising up at the mouth of Bridge Canyon, in a cove on Lake Powell, you can reach the bridge by personal boats and watercraft, or boat cruises offered daily from Halls Crossing or Bullfrog Marinas north of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area or Wahweap Marina near the Arizona border. On your cruise, you'll navigate among miles of Lake Powell's curiously sculpted slickrock shores, high up in Glen Canyon. There is no question as to the erosive power of water. Yet water sometimes carves with whimsy and precision. In this way, Rainbow Bridge is more than a symbol of life in the desert — it is the desert come alive.

At full pool, nearly 50 feet of water fill in below Rainbow Bridge, giving dictionary meaning to the monument, which may be erroneously referred to as Rainbow Arch. (Arches have no active water flow while bridges span a watercourse.) Check current Lake Powell water levels here.

With a permit from the Navajo Nation, you can also follow a historic trail on foot or by horseback. Trails exceed 13 miles in length and require good preparation and wayfinding skills (i.e., compass, map, GPS, overnight gear and lots of water).

Due to its remote location on Lake Powell, visiting Rainbow Bridge requires more planning than most Utah national monuments. Before the reservoir, it took a multiday hike (still on option with a permit from the Navajo Nation.). Now, visitors can book a tour or rent a motorized watercraft to the trailhead. There is primitive camping and developed campgrounds in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, but not within the boundaries of Rainbow Bridge.

Get directions now and start planning your trip to this magnificent Utah natural bridge.

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