Scenic USA - Utah

Rainbow Bridge

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Rainbow Bridge - Utah

Photo by Peggy Price
Peggy Price Photography

   Almost a perfect parabolic arch, the opening of Rainbow Bridge is 309 feet and extends 275 feet across Bridge Creek. Considered to be the largest natural bridge in the world, arch fans may balk at this claim, but then quickly realize the distinction between a natural bridge and an arch. In most instances, a natural bridge is created by a channel of water and arches are created by erosional effects from wind, rain and frost wedging.
   Created as a national monument by President William H. Taft, the Rainbow Bridge National Monument celebrated its centennial anniversary on May, 30 2010. Today's visitors are fascinated by the magnificence of this Kayenta sandstone marvel, while Native Navajo, Hopi, Kaibab Paiute, San Juan Southern Paiute and White Mesa Ute tribes view Rainbow Bridge as a sacred religious site. Out of respect for these Indian tribes, visitors are asked to refrain from walking under the bridge.
   As one of nature's astounding wonders, Rainbow Bridge stirs up dreams of your own visit to Forbidding Canyon on Lake Powell. Most journeys to the bridge site include an initial boat trip across Lake Powell. It's then a two mile walk to the bridge. For those seeking an extraordinary experience into this remote section of the Colorado Plateau, a 13 mile backcountry route will follow Theodore Roosevelt’s footsteps during his 1913 visit. First publicized to the outside world in 1909, early expeditions were led by Paiute guides and explorer John Wetherill. Even with today’s modern outdoor equipment, this trek through the rough canyon country is not a place for the casual hiker. Over an unmaintained trail, requiring a Navajo Tribal Lands hiking permit, the trip may take the seasoned hiker two days to complete. A well prepared, average backcountry explorer may take four days to navigate through these steep canyonlands.

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