Located at the foot of Navajo Mountain, Rainbow Bridge formed after millions of years of glacier melts, snow accumulation and flash flood waters, as they carved away sand from the sandstone walls.
The natural bridge still continues to change as rain and wind slowly erode the surface, carrying away bits of sand on a continual basis.
North America’s Indigenous people of the Four Corners region have known about Rainbow Bridge for centuries. The bridge and surrounding land is sacred to their culture and beliefs. Find out more about the “Bridge Between the Cultures” and history of the monument.
Explore Rainbow Bridge, tallest natural bridge in North America
Two explorers, University of Utah archeologist Dr. Byron Cummings and William B. Douglass, Examiner of Surveys, set out on an expedition to find the location of Rainbow Bridge in 1909. They were helped by local Paiute guides Jim Mike, Nasjah Begay as well as rancher, explorer and photographer John Wetherill.
Finally after five days of searching the area, they discovered Rainbow Bridge on August 9, 1909 and President Taft declared the area a national monument on May 30, 1910.
Respect sacred lands and Rainbow Bridge National Monument
To neighboring Indigenous people of the Navajo, Hopi, Kaibab Paiute, San Juan Southern Paiute, and White Mesa Ute nations these lands have deep religious significance.
When viewing or exploring the area, please do not approach or walk under Rainbow Bridge. Respect the plants and vegetation of the area. Stay on the marked pathways and trails.
Rangers are in the park at the viewing area daily during the summer months to provide information about the the natural arch, as well as the cultural and geological aspects of the area. View more photos of Rainbow Bridge
Journey to Rainbow Bridge National Monument in Utah
Learn about the history and legends of the area on a narrated boat tour to Rainbow Bridge National Monument in Utah. Take in the breathtaking scenery as you travel 50 miles/80 kilometers along the remarkable shoreline. Use your imagination. Try visualizing images etched into rock formations along the dramatic Jurassic coastline. The image below, located near the entrance to Rainbow Bridge, looks like an elephant.
There are up to 16 lizard species and 11 snake varieties, including four types of rattle snakes.
The amphibian population is most active from May to October. Five documented species of frogs and toads can usually be spotted during early morning or twilight hours.
There are up to 315 different types of birds in the Glen Canyon area. This number includes more than 32 species of waterfowl.
The clear waters of this area boast a variety of game fish.
Bobcats, coyotes and mountain lions roam the area however they tend to stay away from humans. Desert bighorn sheep are in the region but rarely spotted. There are abundant black-tailed jackrabbits, bats, mice and other rodents.
Rainbow Bridge was first made public in 1909 by the Cummings-Douglass Expedition.
Climbing of the Rainbow Bridge arch was prohibited in the mid-1950s.
The 2008 Guinness Book of World Records lists Rainbow Bridge National Monument as the tallest natural bridge arch in the world. This claim has now been disputed.Tushuk Tash (Shipton’s Arch) in China has been found to be the tallest in the world.
Rainbow Bridge National Monument is comprised of 160 acres of the Colorado Plateau. It is one of the smallest National Parks by area.
Black-tailed jackrabbits can jump up to 20 feet/6.1 meters and can reach speeds of up to 40 miles/64 kilometers per hour.
How to get to Rainbow Bridge National Monument natural bridge
Access this amazing national monument by travelling 50 miles/80 kilometers on a two-hour boat ride from Lake Powell Wahweap Marina and then walking about 1.25 miles/2 kilometers to the bridge. Two tours are offered each day during the busy season. Boat tours are temporarily cancelled due to COVID safety precautions.
Rent your own powerboat to journey to Rainbow Bridge. There is no access to Rainbow Bridge from the Lake Powell Wahweap Marina from November 1 to March 31.
Hike to Rainbow Bridge from Lake Powell. The trail is about 18 miles/30 kilometres. A permit is required to explore the backcountry.
Fly into Las Vegas, Nevada or Phoenix, Arizona. Rent a car and drive 4.5 hours to Lake Powell. You can also fly into Page from one of those two cities and then rent a car.
Where to stay when visiting Rainbow Bridge Monument
We stayed at Lake Powell Resort at the Wahweap Marina in building number 8. It had wonderful, sweeping lake views. Staying at this resort was on my bucket list.
Signing up for their web specials helped us save on usual hotel rates. Lake Powell Resort is a convenient location, because the boat tour to Rainbow Bridge leaves from the marina.