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Weird place Wednesday: Rainbow Bridge.

Rainbow Bridge B_W

The amazing Rainbow Bridge! 245 ft. high and one of the largest natural bridges in the world.

At 245 ft. high, it is one of the largest natural bridges in the world. This insane rock formation is so remote, it is usually only visited for short periods of time via Lake Powell on the Utah/Arizona border and it is called Rainbow Bridge! It is an incredible sculpture of rock that, even as large as it is, sits buried in a canyon south of the main body of Lake Powell. Rainbow Bridge officially resides in Utah, but most journey’s to the bridge start in Page, Arizona, which also has a great many outdoor attractions.

There are two ways to arrive at Rainbow Bridge: by commercial boat ride or by a very long and brutal hike. Although I have recently come across this guided option with llamas, it is still a multi-day, 36 mile round trip hike! Unless you are a glutton for punishment, I would highly recommend the boat ride from Wahweap Marina via Lake Powell Resorts. On the resorts page, it boasts Rainbow Bridge as the largest known stone bridge. That is not actually true; there are several other stone bridges in China that are known to be larger. That being the case, if you visit, you will wonder how there are any larger than this, and it will certainly get your attention! Typically, Lake Powell Resorts’ boat ride lasts at least 4 hours round trip with what seems a short time at the bridge itself. It is possible to make other arrangements however. In our case, I made arrangements to be dropped off by boat with the morning tour and then picked up the next morning which allowed me to take a night photo I had been thinking about for awhile. The only camping accommodation near Rainbow Bridge is Echo Campground, which is owned by the Navajo Nation and requires a permit to use. Echo Camp is a very primitive setup with a lot of metal box springs at different sites; I assume in an attempt to make it a little more comfortable. To get to Echo Campground, it is a short half mile hike to the south, walking under Rainbow Bridge to get there. There is a clear border fence and gate between Federal land and the Navajo Nation ground. Give yourself time to plan all of the transportation as the boat tours and hotels fill up well before summer. Also, obtaining a permit from the Navajo Nation takes time as well, since you have to do everything by regular mail.

Unless you are hiking in, it is not really necessary to have too much location information since the resort takes care of the logistics, but if you like having more than you need like I do, below is a map with the GPS coordinates of Rainbow Bridge that will help you get your bearings. Make sure to switch the map to terrain or satellite mode, and you will gain an appreciation for how rugged the landscape truly is.

Even though it is a commercial company that gets you to and from Rainbow Bridge, there are some things I would take and be aware of. Take plenty of water, it is essentially a desert and will most likely be hot.

If you are staying overnight:

– Take a water filter. If you run out you can filter out of the lake.

– Bring something to keep you occupied. Even though it is only 24hrs. until the boat ride home, it seems like a long time and there are only so many lizards to count.

– Bring a very reliable headlamp, then bring a backup flashlight. You are likely to be the only person for miles at nightfall, and it is a completely different place in the dark; the wildlife and the sounds can grab your attention, and even though it is highly unlikely you will run into anything dangerous out there, it might put your mind at ease to have a bright flashlight.

– Bring a survival kit with fishing line. I am sure that it would be extremely rare for the boat not to show up but when we were there at the docks waiting for the boat to pick us up, we noticed that there was an abundance of large fish looking for a handout, striped bass even! If the boat would not have shown up for days, I think we would have been eating just fine.

If you have any questions, always feel free to email me or comment below. Have fun out there!


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