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.
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).
Visiting Rainbow Bridge
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.
Glen Canyon National Recreation Area/Lake Powell
Sun-drenched boating and an expansive lake ringed with towering cliffs and a labyrinth of side canyons, a visit to Glen Canyon
usually involves water skiing, jet skiing or relaxing in a houseboat on Lake Powell, soaking in the otherworldly scenery.
Grand Staircase–Escalante National Monument
Experience 1.8 million acres of outdoor adventure and star-filled night skies. Slot canyons, slickrock and
other geologic wonders fill your line of sight while hiking, mountain biking, off-roading and camping. Visitor centers at Big Water
, Kanab, Escalante and
Cannonville. This massive national monument
is vast and rugged, yet easily accessible off Scenic Byway 12
and U.S. Highway 89. Explore visitor centers in Kanab (Grand Staircase section), Escalante (Escalante Canyons section) and Cannonville (Kaiparowits Plateau section).
Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park
With a rich Navajo cultural legacy, ancient, Clovis-era, early human, archeological sites and some of the most iconic landscapes in the American West, Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park
and surrounding San Juan county bring together scenic beauty and hundreds of years of human history into an unforgettable travel destination. Monument Valley is the crown jewel in the area with jeep tours
driving to Navajo hogans and the picture-worthy sandstone formations in the park that were made famous in numerous John Wayne and John Ford westerns.
The town is like a Hollywood portrayal of the classic American West — towering Navajo sandstone cliffs and vistas of sagebrush. This scenery has lured filmmakers to Kanab
for nearly 80 years. Kanab is home to several hotels, motels and
restaurants, making it a prime basecamp or stop along major driving routes heading off in four directions accessing Bryce Canyon
and Grand Canyon national parks, Grand Staircase–Escalante National Monuments, Coral Pink Sand Dunes
and other Utah state park options, as well as a number of historic sites.
Rainbow Bridge National Monument
PO Box 1507
Page, AZ 86040