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Rainbow Bridge in Arizona was initially thought to be the world’s highest naturally-made bridge, topping 290 feet. However, later discoveries of other natural stone bridges - such as Shipton’s Arch in China towers at 1,200 feet - squashed that notion. Rainbow Bridge continues to play a key role in several Native American tribes’ cultures, three of which are the Ancient Pueblo people, Paiute, and Navajo. Due to its cultural significance, President William Howard Taft declared the stone bridge a National Monument in 1910.
The closest large town is Page, which sits at the southern end of Lake Powell. It’s about 30 miles southwest as the crow flies. Page, AZ is best known as the gateway to several outdoor attractions, including Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. Kickstart the perfect RV camping adventure when you book an RV in Coconino County, AZ.
Rainbow Bridge National Monument nestles along the northern end of Lake Powell, and most visitors to the park opt for a two-hour boat ride that ferries passengers from the southern end to its opposite point. From there, people can disembark and venture on a one-mile trek through an arid desert region to enjoy the natural beauty of Rainbow Bridge National Monument and its surrounding area.
Stalwart adventurers can alternatively hike 20 miles along the perimeter of Lake Powell. Because the trail passes through Navajo Territory, all hikers must obtain permits. The two trails, both of which are just under 20 miles, are poorly maintained and marked with stone cairns, which are notorious for being washed away in flash floods. Hikers should be familiar with orienteering with a map. Because the trails pass through some of the most grueling terrains with steep elevation gains and losses, adventurers should expect the journey to take multiple days. Though Lake Powell can be observed from various vista points, there are no direct access routes to the lake. As such, all hikers should be prepared for extreme arid conditions by bringing extra water.
At a glance, Rainbow Bridge National Monument might seem like a barren desert wasteland, devoid of life. However, with a little patience, adventurers will note a wide variety of life ranging from grumpy rattlesnakes sunny themselves on rocks to majestic condors, which are endangered, soaring high overhead. Other wildlife like bald eagles, lizards, bison, mountain lions, and even bighorn sheep frequently can be found in the area.
Due to its remote location, there is no RV camping at Rainbow Bridge National Monument. However, nearby Glen Canyon National Recreation Area has a handful of RV campgrounds. Lees Ferry Campground is the largest with 51 sites. Although there are no hookups, it has an on-site dump station and restrooms with flush toilets.
Lone Rock Beach RV campground may be a good option to consider, too. It also lacks hookups, but the upshot is it is nestled on the shores of Lake Powell, and the location is scenic. It also offers cold-water showers, flush toilets, and a dump station.
In addition to the nearby town of Page, the Glen Canyon Dam at Lake Powell, UT, is worth exploring. It holds back the waters of one of the largest reservoirs in the country, which has a capacity of 27 million acre-feet. The Bureau of Reclamation, which can be found at the nearby visitor center, offers guided tours of the dam
This far-flung corner of the United States is steeped in history that dates well past the arrival of European settlers. The 1800s was an interesting era in which Native Americans clashed with the pioneers intent on eking out a living in the southwest. Get a glimpse into that past by hitting the road in an Airstream rental to visit Kanab, UT. The Kanab Heritage House Museum is a restored Victorian-style home, one of the first of its kind that was built in 1892. Open for tours; the home has several of the original decor, furniture, and accouterments. After the tour, walk around the town of Kanab, which has been used in several western films since the 1940s. Several abandoned film sets are still standing.
At the end of a long day of rolling along the long highway in a rental motorhome, kick up your heels by a crackling campfire. Roast s’mores as the stars make an appearance in the night sky. Thanks to the low humidity, the sky is extremely clear, and it is easy to spot several celestial objects with the naked eye. Find your perfect RV camping adventure today when you explore all that Arizona has to offer.