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Utah Travel Headlines

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Rainbow Bridge National Monument Centennial

Rainbow Bridge National Monument is now 100 years old. It was set aside on May 30, 1910, by President Taft. It is the world's largest known natural bridge and is located in a remote area in southern Utah. It can be seen via a 50 mile (one way) boat ride on Lake Powell (in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area).

The span has undoubtedly inspired people throughout time--from the neighboring American Indian tribes who consider Rainbow Bridge sacred, to the 300,000 people from around the world who visit it each year.

To celebration the centennial anniversary, Lake Powell Resorts & Marinas is offering travelers a special travel package, guided tours, and historic memorabilia throughout the 2010 season. The package includes a two-night stay in a traditional room at Lake Powell Resort, two tickets on the Rainbow Bridge boat cruise and daily breakfast for two. See this press release for details about the Rainbow Bridge package.

The Prescott, Arizona, Daily Courier has this article about the bridge. Below are excerpts.

The reddish sandstone of the Colorado Plateau instead was washed away by the forces of water, sculpting a natural arch that takes hours to reach whether by boat, foot or horse.

The isolation of the bridge in far southern Utah kept it secret from many outside the area. But its proclamation as a national monument 100 years ago Sunday opened it up to visitors to explore its beauty and learn about its rich geological and human history.

Some people choose to hike 18 miles from the northeast side of Navajo Mountain, traversing Teddy Roosevelt's step, or the 16 miles from the Rainbow Lodge ruins on the southwest side of the mountain. The lodge burnt down in 1951, which then co-owner Barry Goldwater blamed on a cowboy smoking in the back room.

But the overwhelming majority of the (300,000) visitors take a much easier route, by boat from Page, Ariz., which upon arrival requires only a short hike. The 50-mile water trip across Lake Powell, made possible by the creation of Glen Canyon Dam in the 1960s, gives way to views of cathedral-like canyons and geologic formations that are hundreds of millions of years old.

The bridge is tucked at the base of Navajo Mountain, about 8 miles north of the Arizona state line. Five Native American tribes in the area consider it sacred. Two Native guides led an exploration party there in 1909, whose goal was to have it set aside as a national monument.

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