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---- Monday - December 18, 2017 - 11:37:48 AM - Navajo Nation Time ----

Rainbow Natural Bridge
(Ts'naa Nanh - Rock Span)
(Recent Name: Nanzhoozh - Span or Bridge)

Rainbow Natural Bridge, also known as Rainbow Bridge, is a natural rock span of salmon-red Navajo sandstone arching over Bridge Canyon. It is located about 12 miles northwest of Navajo Mountain (Naatsis'n) in broken and deep canyon country of southern Utah. A dirt road goes part of the way to Navajo Mountain. There is no road that connects Navajo Mountain to Rainbow Natural Bridge; therefore, people wishing to see Rainbow Natural Bridge coming from Navajo Mountain will have to hike. From the apex of the span to the bottom of the canyon, Rainbow Natural Bridge is 309 feet. From pier to pier, the span is 278 feet, and the bridge could completely arch over the dome of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Millions of years ago, Bridge Creek's zig-zag meandering through Rainbow Natural Bridge cut a hole through it. Frost, rain, wind, and the sun have enlarged it.

The existence of this famed rock span was known to the Paiutes and Navajos long before its discovery by Anglo-Americans. William Boone Douglas, upon information given him by a Paiute Indian, attempted to reach the bridge in November of 1908, but failed. It is possible that beaver trappers may have seen the bridge in the 19th century for its is known that Billy Mitchell, Fred Smith, W.C. Seifert, Hermann Wolf, and others were in the country. The bridge was first known to have been visited by Anglo-Americans in August of 1909 by John Wetherill, Dr. Byron Cummings, and Mr. Douglas. They were guided there by Nasja Begay (a Navajo) and a Paiute.

By Harrison Lapahie Jr.
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