Near to Page, Arizona and Glen Canyon at the Wahweap Marina (Arizona/Utah) you will find boat charters and aerial tour operators (small craft and helicopter) that will bring you to the Rainbow Bridge National Monument. The world’s largest naturally geologically carved bridge. It’s located on holy and sacred Navajo Nation land along a winding stretch of Lake Powell which is technically across State lines in Utah. It is iconic, picturesque and isolated Arizona mountainous terrain where little has changed since its earliest Navajo inhabitants occupied the lands.
There’s are a few important rules which visitors need to abide by. Once you reach the bridge do not pass under it or go too close to it. If you wish to make your own travel arrangements to hike to the monument you must obtain a permit from the Navajo Nation.
Getting there is somewhat complicated and not for the faint-hearted or ill prepared. You are advised to check weather forecasts and postpone hikes if rain is forecast, flash flooding is a common occurance and water levels can spill over the trails causing hazardous conditions.
For those who are not in a position to take the trip by boat and hike the 2 mile trail to the monument there are airplane services that will fly you in to the area for an aerial view of rainbow bridge. Otherwise most visitors take a scenic boat trip from Wahweap Marina to a small dock where you travel the rest of the way on foot. Bring lots of bottled water, proper hiking gear and you will need your own food for the trip. You can buy limited refreshments on the boat journey to the monument trail.
The complexity of getting to the monument is worth it as the journey itself is as enjoyable as the destination as you soak up this rugged and quintessential Navajo landscape. The two closest marinas to the park are roughly fifty miles from Rainbow bridge, allow yourself a full day to visit the park.
The Lake Powell area has a wide variety of options for family entertainment and accomadation so it’s an ideal area to plan a weekend excursion or longer vacations. You can hire jet skis, power boats, house boats and enjoy kayaking or pretty much any watersport on the lake. Go fishing, hiking and camping. It’s a fantastic area for a short weekend break or a more prolonged stay, especially during the scorching Summer months.
The park and monument are 100% free of charge, however getting there is not. Unless you are a vastly experienced backpacker/hiker then it’s unlikely that you are mentally and physically prepared for the challenge of getting to the monument. You will also have to obtain a permit from the Navajo Nation to do so. Boat trips and aerial visits incur a charge. There is no visitor center at the monument.
The park and monument is open year round from sunrise to sunset. Camping is not permitted on the lands and boats may not stay at the dock that leads to the monument trail overnight. You are free to camp outside of the Navajo lands but a permit is required.