Rainbow Bridge Trail Hiking with Packstock Support
Led by CFI naturalist and Navajo Guides Eric & Charlene Atene
Fee includes first night stay and orientation at Recapture Lodge, 1 night camping stay at traditional Navajo home and 3 nights on the trail, covering 14 miles, with optional side hikes. Moderately-rated hiking on rocky, established trail. Navajo guides and packstock carry our gear except our day packs. We return trip by charter boat on Lake Powell to Hall’s Crossing. Healthy meals, ground transportation and interpretation by CFI Naturalists.
Rainbow Natural Bridge is the Earth’s largest and most beautiful natural bridge. Set amid some of the planet’s most rugged and spectacular canyon country, the bridge long remained isolated from the world. Even the Navajo did not know of the great span until the mid-19th century. When they stumbled upon it, they interpreted its symmetrical curve as symbolic of the rainbow and deemed it a sacred place, associated with life-giving rain and rain-making rituals. Only in 1909 did the “official” discovery by literate Anglo-Americans take place and even then, expedition members could not agree on exactly who was the first to discover what, a controversy that continues to the present day. Very few visitors make this traditional pilgrimage from the north side of Navajo Mountain along the Rainbow Trail. Many of the sites held sacred by the Navajo in these remote corners of Utah and Arizona have been violated by modern developments. Few of the old people remain who know the sacred stories and rituals.
Hike 4-5 miles a day on the traditional pilgrimage route to Rainbow Bridge (the earths largest natural bridge). We will begin in the evening with a hotel stay and orientation in Bluff, Utah. The following morning we’ll travel by van to Navajo Mountain were we will meet our Navajo guides: the Atene family, tour the Navajo Mountain community and day hike to an Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwelling. That night we camp near the Atene family home and prepare for our hike. The next morning we begin our hike down the Rainbow Trail. Hikers carry only daypacks and cameras; personal gear and food are carried by pack stock. On the Rainbow Trail we’ll encounter an abundance of wildflowers and striking views of Navajo Mountain. Camp life is filled with stories of Navajo culture, instruction by CFI staff and time for personal reflection. We end our hike at Lake Powell, board a boat and travel to Hall’s Crossing. There we are met by a van and return to Bluff. Total hiking distance on the Rainbow Trail is approximately 16 miles from the trail head to Rainbow Bridge and Lake Powell.