Rainbow Bridge National Monument is one of the largest natural bridges in the world standing 290 feet high and spanning 275 feet across. The top of the arch is 42 feet wide and 33 feet thick. To put its monumental size into perspective, the U.S. Capitol building would fit under the bridge with ease. The majestic monument was carved out during the glacial period and has been standing tall ever since. As a certified Dark Sky Sanctuary as of 2018, Rainbow Bridge is an amazing location to witness the wonders of the night sky with up to 15,000 stars in view.
While Rainbow Bridge is still a relatively new discovery for the modern world, found in 1909 by the Cummings-Douglas Expedition, the Native Puebloan people knew about it for centuries. The Bridge holds sacred significance for the ancient inhabitants of these lands. The name, Rainbow Bridge, originates from the Puebloan people’s name for it, Nonnezoshe, which translates to “rainbow turned to stone.”
The monument can be reached by either taking an eight hour boat tour across Lake Powell from Wahweap Marina followed by a 1.25-mile (1.8 km) hike from Bridge Canyon wharf or by taking two hiking trails available through Navajo lands. The two hikes are respectively 14 miles (26 km) and 13 miles (24 km) and require a permit from Navajo Nation Parks and Recreation. The permit can be acquired by calling 602-871-6647. The utmost respect for the people, lands, homes, livestock and archaeology sites are requested while hiking. The trails cover rough canyon terrain and are not recommended for beginner hikers.
Please note that Rainbow Bridge National Monument does not offer any lodging, food, services or facilities and is considered backcountry. The closest services are 10 miles south at the Dangling Rope Marina, with boat, gas and limited food options. Come prepared with plenty of food, water, maps, first aid and other supplies. Rainbow Bridge is open year-round. Check weather reports before hiking as the area can be prone to flash floods, severe cold temperatures, and high winds.