Home » 2018 Lake Powell Boat Camping

Lake Powell - Rainbow Bridge National Monument, UT

Saturday, July 7, 2018 - 8:15am by Lolo
56 miles and 3.5 hours from our last stop


Rainbow Bridge boat dockRainbow Bridge boat dockWe awoke early on our last morning on the lake with the intention of beating the crowds to Rainbow Bridge National Monument, Lake Powell’s most popular destination. We had purposely positioned ourselves in the San Juan Arm last night, so that it would be a quick run of just 8 miles down the lake to Forbidding Canyon (Buoy 49), at the end of which lies the trail to the bridge.

When we got to the end of the canyon, there was only one other boat tied up a dock, which could hold dozens, and large tour boats as well. So although not first to arrive, we were pretty close and thrilled to have the opportunity of experiencing this wonder in peace and solitude.

Herb approaching Rainbow BridgeHerb approaching Rainbow BridgeThe trail from the dock to Rainbow Bridge is less than a mile, with current water levels. As we were hiking in, the people belonging to the solitary boat at the dock passed us, meaning that now we would truly have the Bridge to ourselves. How thrilling, considering it is visited by over 300,000 people a year.

We have seen a lot of arches and bridges in our travels, but this one was truly impressive. At 290 feet tall and 270 feet across, it is the largest natural bridge in the world. To give some idea as to how large that actually is, the U.S. Capitol building would fit neatly underneath it.

What makes this a “bridge” rather than an “arch” is that it was formed by water. In the case of Rainbow Bridge, it was formed by water flowing from the Navajo Mountains eroding the sandstone on its way down to the Colorado River. It is considered sacred by the Navajo as a symbol of deities responsible for creating clouds, rainbows, and rain - the essence of life in the desert.

Lolo and Rainbow Natural BridgeLolo and Rainbow Natural BridgeStanding in solitude beneath this awe-inspiring arch, it was understandable why the Navajo considered this place sacred. What a fitting way to conclude an amazing trip on this beautiful lake.

Our 50-mile cruise back to Wahweap was a bit rough, in that there was so much weekend boat traffic that the wakes were bouncing off the canyon walls churning up the water. Fortunately, we didn't have to wait too long to pull the boat at the Stateline boat ramp, as most people were putting in for the weekend.

From there, it was a long 900-mile drive back to Santa Rosa, where after a 2 1/2 year separation, our boat would finally be home.

Lake Powell - Rainbow Bridge National Monument location map in "high definition"

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