Why was Rainbow Bridge National Monument Created
This monument was of course created to protect Rainbow Bridge, the largest natural bridge in the world. The massive size and beautiful colors of this formation make it one of the most popular sites in canyon country. Rainbow Bridge is also a sacred site to locative native people who have inhabited this area for thousand of years.
How do you get to Rainbow Bridge
Rainbow Bridge via Boat- The only way to get to Rainbow Bridge is by boat, or by a multi-day backpacking trip. You can take rental boats, private boats, or take a boat tour across Lake Powell to get there. Once you reach the dock it is a 1.5-mile walk (which varies with water levels) to get to Rainbow Bridge.
Rainbow Bridge on Foot- It is possible to backpack to Rainbow Bridge, but you do need to get a permit from the Navajo Tribe before you set out.
Rainbow Bridge Airports- The closest airport to this isolated area is in the city of Page, but the only way to get to the monument is by boat, or by foot. The Page municipal airport has flights to Denver and Phoenix, as well several companies that run scenic flights over Rainbow Bridge. The closest major airports are Phoenix and Las Vegas International Airports, both of which are about 5 hours away from Page. Flagstaff Arizona has a small airport with daily flights and a drive time of about 2.5 hours from Page. St George Utah also has daily flights and is a little over 3 hours away from Page.
Rainbow Bridge Car Rentals- There are several car rental agencies in Page Arizona which is the closest city of any size to Rainbow Bridge, or you can pick one up at any major airport you fly into.
Rainbow Bridge Shuttles- There are a few companies that offer shuttles to Page, but the only real shuttles to Rainbow Bridge are boat tours.
Rainbow Bridge Fees and Other Costs
There are no entry fees for Rainbow Bridge itself, but you do need to pay the fees for Glen Canyon. Entry Fees for Glen Canyon/Lake Powell are $15 per vehicle. Fees for private boats for 1-7 days are $16 for the first motorized vehicle and $8 for each additional motorized vehicle. You can also get an annual pass for $30. Camping in designated campgrounds varies in cost, but backcountry campsites are free. The general cost of goods and services in the Page/Lake Powel area are fairly high.
Rainbow Bridge Weather and Climate
Like the rest of the Lake Powell area summers are hot at Rainbow Bridge, but it’s a nice time to be on the water, and boating is how 99 percent of visitors see the Monument. Spring weather is unpredictable and strong winds can make boating difficult, but it can also offer some great weather. Fall has the best overall climate, especially for hiking the 2-mile trail to Rainbow Bridge. Winter is fairly mild with highs in the 40’s to 50’s and lows around freezing so if you travel via boat it can definitely get cold, and most of the commercial facilities are shut down.
When to visit Rainbow Bridge
Over 90,000 visitors will make their way to Rainbow Bridge each year. If you plan on taking a boat to the bridge, Mid-May to Mid-September is your best bet. People wanting to backpack to the Rainbow Bridge will find the best weather in the late spring and fall seasons.
Environment of Rainbow Bridge
Rainbow Bridge National Monument is only 160 acres, but it is home to the largest known natural bridge in the world. The topography around the monument is typical rough and rugged canyon country full of slick rock and sandstone cliffs. Rainbow Bridge sits on a base of Kayenta Sandstone, while the bridge itself is made of Navajo Sandstone. This 200-million sandstone formation was uplifted with the Colorado Plateau, which allowed water to cut through the exposed rock creating the beautiful formation you see today.
Rainbow Bridge Flora and Fauna
The area around Rainbow Bridge contains 850 species of plants, and nearly 300 species of birds, many of which are migratory and aquatic species that migrated to the area after the construction of the Glen Canyon dam. You will also find many species of mammals, reptiles, and amphibians in nearby Lake Powell and in the monument.
Rainbow Bridge Accommodations
The closest thing you can get to lodging at Rainbow Bridge is a houseboats you brought out from one of Lake Powell’s Marinas. Backpackers who hike into the area, have the option of camping near the Bridge. Aside from the houseboats, hotels in Glen Canyon NRA are available at Wahweap and Bullfrog marinas, while Bullfrog, Wahweap, and Halls Crossing have RV parks and campgrounds. Outside of the NRA the town of Page has many lodging options as well as RV parks and campgrounds. Dispersed camping along the shores of Lake Powell and the NRA is free.
Rainbow Bridge Activities
The main activity at Rainbow Bridge National Monument is visiting the Bridge. The area around the Monument also allows for boating, fishing and hiking.
Rainbow Bridge Food and Drink
There are no services available at Rainbow Bridge. The Lake Powell Marinas and hotels have basic shopping and restaurants. Additional shopping options are available in Page including a major grocery store and a Wal Mart.
Rainbow Bridge Health, Safety and Hazards
The biggest safety concern at Rainbow Bridge is boating accidents, so be sure to be safe when you on the water. Rainbow Bridge is very hot in the summer so drink plenty of fluids and remember your sun block. If you are doing any hiking around Rainbow Bridge, be aware of local conditions and storms as flash floods do occur.
Rainbow Bridge Culture and History
This National Monument has long been sacred to native people, and modern day Navajo and Paiute Indians sill live nearby. Rainbow Bridge has been seeing modern day explorers since miners and pioneers came to the area in the 1800’s. People like Teddy Roosevelt and writer Zane Grey are some of the more notable historical figures to have visited this natural wonder.