Rainbow Bridge National Monument

At the Utah / Arizona border
Photo by: BoNoMoJo, Creative Commons

Arizona is home to many natural landmarks and attractions that draw in countless visitors every year. One such natural wonder is the Rainbow Bridge National Monument, often credited as one of the highest natural bridges in the world. The beautiful rock formation is part of the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area in the southern portion of Utah.


The Rainbow Bridge stands 290 feet (88 m) and spans 234 feet (71 m). With these figures, Rainbow Bridge is certainly among the world’s most impressive natural bridges and natural formations. According to geologists, the spectacular sandstone bridge was formed towards the end of the Triassic and Jurassic periods. Many theories explain how it was formed, but most centered on water carving away the softer sandstone layers and leaving behind the harder, densely compacted ones.

Generations of Native Americans who lived near the Rainbow Bridge have long revered it, holding it sacred. Some groups, including the Navajo people, named it Nonnezoshe which means “rainbow turned to stone.” This is most likely how the Rainbow Bridge got its name.

Touring the Rainbow Bridge

The splendor of the Rainbow Bridge prompts many sightseers, nature lovers, photographers, and adventurers to see the sandstone bridge for themselves. Not a problem at all, as the natural bridge is considered to be most accessible arch in the world. Tourists can reach it through several ways: a 2-hour boat ride on Lake Powell, originating from either of the two marinas near Page in Arizona; mile-long walk from National Park wharf in Bridge Canyon; or several hours hike or horseback ride following a trail on the southern portion of Lake Powell.

There are no designated camping or picnic grounds within the Rainbow bridge area, so tourists are advised to obtain as much information, direction, and advisory as possible from the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area prior to visiting the Rainbow Bridge.

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