In fact, the world’s largest natural stone bridge would be fairly easy to reach if Lake Powell Reservoir weren’t in the way. This makes traveling by land impossible. This is why the massive sandstone arch can now only be reached via the flooded Glen Canyon – and has to be ‘hiked’ from the pier via one of the two official routes.
The ‘Rainbow Bridge’ got its name from the Navajos, who worshiped this stone arch “Nonnezoshi” (which literally means “petrified rainbow”) as a sanctuary. Not only the 82 meter span of this natural wonder is impressive – also its height of almost 88 meters. The natural bridge is 10 meters wide and 12 meters thick at its highest point.
According to answerresume, the Rainbow Bridge came about – as well like the entire surrounding landscape of the Colorado Plateau – due to erosion over the past millions of years. The landscape here looked completely different 250 million years ago – this is what the geology of the huge stone arch tells us: The base consists of red-brown Kayenta sandstone, which settled more than 200 million years ago as sand and mud of an inland sea. The stone bridge itself is made of Navajo sandstone, which is significantly younger at around 200 million years. The formation was formed from sand dunes formed after millions of years of extreme drought. Over the next 100 million years, faulting buried the dunes under deposits more than 1,500 meters thick. The great pressure caused the once soft dunes to be compressed. The decisive factor that contributed to the creation of today’s picture was water. The entire region was not always as dry as it is today. Rivers – such as the Colorado River – cut the deep canyons and were the actual ‘sculptors’.
Due to its uniqueness, the natural bridge was declared a national monument in 1910 by then-President William Taft – and is now overseen by the National Park Service. With around 85,000 visitors a year, this national monument is still an insider tip. Rainbow Bridge National Monument lies between Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and the Navajo Nation. There are no access roads. The only access to the National Monument is through the Lake Powell/Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.
Location and size
The approximately 0.6 km² large Rainbow Bridge National Monument is located in southern Utah – only about 7 km north of the Arizona border – directly on Lake Powell. The natural wonder cannot be reached by road. The only access is on Lake Powell.
Arriving by Air
Page (PGA) is served by commercial airlines.
by car or boat
Wahweap, AZ: Three miles north of Page, AZ on Highway 89 is the south entrance to Glen Canyon. Direct access to Rainbow Bridge National Monument is not available. The full-day boat tour departs from Wahweap Marina at Lake Powell Resort. It is about 80 km to the Rainbow Monument jetty. After landing, visitors have to walk between 1.8 km and 2.5 km on a trail, depending on the water level of the lake.
With Navajo permission, Rainbow Bridge can also be visited on two different multi-day hiking trails through very challenging terrain. However, only very experienced hikers should do this, because the conditions are very difficult.
Opening Hours and Seasons
Rainbow Bridge National Monument is open from sunrise to sunset year-round. If the weather is extreme, the monument may be temporarily closed.
Rainbow Bridge National Monument is managed by Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. Carl Hayden Visitor Center , Page, is open June through August daily from 8am to 6pm; from November to February from 08:30 to 16:30, the rest of the year every day from 08:00 to 17:00; it is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years.
Admission to Rainbow Bridge National Monument is free.
There are no campgrounds on the grounds of the National Monument. Otherwise, the information for Glen Canyon applies: Paid camping is offered at Wahweap. Tent pitches are allocated according to the “first come, first serve” principle. RV sites with supplies and disposal can be reserved by calling +1 928-645-1059. Wild camping is available at Lone Rock Beach off Highway 89 near the Arizona-Utah state line. An additional fee will be charged for this. Wild backcountry camping along the shores of Lake Powell is complimentary. It should be noted that portable toilets are required for backcountry shore camping. You also need a boat to access these areas.
There is no accommodation, no possibility to buy food or drinks in the Rainbow Bridge National Monument. Limited service (and boat fuel) is available at Dangling Rope Marina, about 10 miles south of Rainbow Bridge
Climate and weather The climate
in Rainbow Bridge National Monument is desert. The summers are very hot – with hardly any shade. Winters are cold with lows falling below freezing. Spring weather is highly variable and unpredictable, often with prolonged windy periods. The weather in autumn is usually nice and mild. This is a particularly good time with pleasant temperatures and few guests.
|Average Temperatures in Rainbow Bridge National Monument, Utah
at Rainbow Bridge National Monument is the same as for Glen Canyon. Extreme weather conditions prevail here throughout the year. In summer, temperatures can rise to over 38°C. It is important to ensure that you drink enough water. Taking electrolytes with you is advised, as is staying in the shade. Caution: Alcoholic beverages and sodas dehydrate the body. It is imperative to protect the skin with light-colored clothing, sunglasses, a hat and sunscreen. In winter, temperatures can drop to freezing point and a boat trip can quickly lead to hypothermia. Warm clothing is essential.
The only way to visit Rainbow Bridge National Monument is on a full-day boat tour. As both boat docks – Wahweap and Bullfrog Marina – are approximately 80 km (50 miles) from the Rainbow Bridge dock, these excursions are full day.
The full-day boat tour departs from Wahweap Marina at Lake Powell Resort . It is about 80 km to the Rainbow Monument jetty. After landing, visitors have to walk between 1.8 and 2.5 km on a trail, depending on the water level of the lake. For more information, visit www.lakepowell.com/boat-tours or call Toll-Free at: 1-800-528-6154
Park rangers are on site during the summer months. They offer various information programs about the geology, natural history and cultural history of the park. Group programs can be arranged.
Note: For Native Americans, the Rainbow Bridge is a sacred and blessed place. Many come here to pray and to deposit offerings under the natural bridge. Special prayers are also said when stepping through the stone arch. It is believed that ignoring these prayers brings bad luck. The national park authority asks visitors to respect these rites and keep their distance from this place of worship and not to pass under the Rainbow Bridge.
is permitted here as part of the marked trail.
For extreme athletes
There are two multi-day trails from Navajo Nation to Rainbow Bridge that pass through Navajo territory. The terrain is very difficult, so these hikes are not suitable for beginners. Weather conditions are extreme all year round – extreme heat and drought in summer, freezing cold and strong winds in winter. Since these hiking trails lead through canyons, there is a risk of sudden flooding after thunderstorms. Neither trail is maintained. In the event of an accident, search and rescue can take a long time. Neither the National Park Service nor the Navajo Nation is responsible for such rescue efforts. The trails are marked, but special maps are still required. Respect and distance from archaeological sites and all buildings is required.