Rainbow Bridge National Monument

Rainbow Bridge is a little visited National Monument in Utah. The reason it is not visited as much as some of Utah’s better-known sites is that it is only accessible by boat or a very difficult hike. We visited by taking a long 50 mile boat ride from Bullfrog Marina south to Rainbow Bridge National Monument. This long trip was definitely worth it to visit one of Utah’s many iconic natural bridges.

Lake Powell has buoys that mark important turnoffs, and Rainbow Bridge is at buoy 48. This is pretty much the midpoint of the lake between Paige and Bullfrog. A small sign directs you up the narrow channel to the bridge. At current water levels, it would be difficult to get a houseboat to Rainbow Bridge, so you may want to call ahead if that is your only option.

This buoy marks the official National Monument entrance.

After a few narrow winding spots, a small bay opens up and you can dock the boat. We were there late in the season and there was no ranger, but there was a floating restroom. Make sure you look in the water before you leave the dock, because we found several different kinds of fish from six to thirty inches long. 

The canyon into Rainbow Bridge is beautiful.
There is a large dock to park boats.
The information sign tells you all about Rainbow Bridge.

It’s about a mile walk along a well-kept trail to reach Rainbow Bridge. This distance can change based on how high the water is that year. Several times along the way the bridge peeks out at you, but you don’t get a full view until you reach the shade structure. You can take as many amazing photos as you want from there.

Rainbow Bridge is stunning to see. It is free-standing much like Delicate Arch in Arches National Park. The bridge is 290 feet tall and spans 275 feet across the river.

The trail walks along the end of the lake.
The trail goes in an out of shade, but would be very hot in the summer.
Part of the trail is paved.
A lot of the trail is rocky, but it’s mostly flat.
The trail comes around a bend and you can see Rainbow Bridge.

You can also walk a little closer to a wide, flat spot in front of the bridge. There is a very obvious three-toed dinosaur track right in the middle of this wide spot. There is also a trail leading off to the left. This trail takes you around behind the bridge for a different view. There are also a few plaques honoring the Native Americans who guided the first white men to Rainbow Bridge in 1909.

There is a covered area that has a great photo opportunity.
If you walk closer to the bridge, look for the dinosaur track.
Please respect the area.
The bridge is huge!
On the other side of the bridge are some plaques.

Rainbow Bridge National Monument may be difficult to check off your bucket list, but it is well worth it. If you get an opportunity to visit this spot at Lake Powell, take the plunge!

Leave a Reply