Navajo Bridge on Marble Canyon Loop

Historic Navajo Bridge on left

Navajo Bridge is stop #8 on the Marble Canyon Loop Trail.  It is the only way to cross the Grand Canyon between Glen Canyon and Lake Mead.  Occasionally visitors ask us why there isn’t a bridge that connect the North Rim of the Grand Canyon to the South Rim.  These are the same kind of people who want an escalator or elevator to the bottom of the Grand Canyon.  We just smile and say Navajo Bridge is the only place to cross.

Navajo Bridge is five miles from Lees Ferry.  Both are part of the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.  There are two bridges and a Visitors Center at Navajo Bridge.

View of the Colorado River from the bridge

The first bridge is the historic bridge built in 1929 in partnership with the Arizona Department of Transportation and the Navajo Nation.  The east side of the bridge is located on the Navajo Reservation.  Although an engineering marvel in its day, the historic bridge was built for lighter vehicles and volume of traffic than we have today.  This bridge is on the National Register of Historic Places and is a Historic Civil Engineering Landmark.

In 1995 a second bridge was built, right next to the first one.  It mirrors the first in appearance but is built to current highway guidelines.  Once the second bridge was built, the historic bridge became a pedestrian bridge.  You can walk out and look down at the Colorado River 467 feet below.  We watched rafters drifting by on the start of their journey through the Grand Canyon.

On weekends Navajo vendors fill the parking lots with items for sale.  After admiring the bridges, we went into the Visitors Center.  It was cool and quiet compared to the heat and sun outside.  We talked to one of the rangers about hiking in the area and then continued on the trail.