Rainbow Bridge Trail Supported Trek

Explore Navajo culture and area history on this Llama supported backpacking trip!

Explore the remote backcountry between Navajo Mountain and Rainbow Bridge on this pack llama supported backpacking adventure. Thanks to these friendly animals, you can enjoy breathtaking wilderness without having to haul everything you need for a comfortable camping experience.

A once in a life-time experience

The seminar begins with an overnight Lodge stay in Page, AZ. From there, park your cars, and load into our CFI vehicle for the drive to Navajo Mountain. We will connect with our Navajo host family for an evening and then spend the following four days hiking approximately 16 miles on the beautiful but rugged north trail to Rainbow Bridge. Depending on conditions, daily mileage varies from four to six miles, with a possible layover to explore Redbud Pass.  As we traverse side canyons, we drop and gain about 300 feet elevation each day.  Our pace allows time for appreciating wildflowers, geologic wonders, sharing cultural insights and relaxing evenings at a comfortable camp. This is a one-way journey, ending with boat transportation returning to Page on the last day.

A guided adventure

You are here to experience rich southwestern culture! Come ready to immerse yourself within the breathtaking scenery and let us worry about the details. Your CFI guides are responsible for cooking filling meals throughout the trip, driving the rugged roads to trailheads, and providing any necessary first aid and safety gear. Our llama friends will carry the bulk of our gear so that you are unburdened and able to explore at your own pace. Hikers need a three-quarter or regular backpack to carry their own clothing and personal items. The pack string carries our kitchen, food and camping gear.

For the Rainbow Bridge Trail Supported Trek due to logistical requirements,  CFI provides tents, sleeping bags, and sleeping pads at no additional cost. Please note that this trip takes place in a very remote area of the Navajo Nation that sees minimal trail upkeep; please call to discuss physical requirements if you have questions.

Location:
Rainbow Bridge National Monument, near Page, AZ
Dates:
April 24, 2022 through April 30, 2022
Duration:
7 days and 6 nights
Group Size:
Minimum&, Maximum: 8
Age Range:
16+
Cost:
$3,560; Member Price: $3,385
Accommodations:
Llama supported camping
Challenge:
Level-

This is how we rate the challenges you might face on a CFI trip.


Level 1 - Easy

  • Low level of physical activity, minimal movement required
  • 0 nights spent camping or in the field
  • Hiking or walking 0-2 miles per day

Level 2 - Moderate

  • Medium level of physical activity, some movement required
  • 1-4 nights spent camping or in the field
  • Hiking up to 4 miles per day
  • Flatwater or mild whitewater rapids

Level 3 - Active

  • Medium or high level of physical activity
  • 1-5 nights spent camping or in the field
  • Hiking up to 5 miles per day
  • Class I - III whitewater rapids

Level 4 - Challenging

  • High level of physical activity
  • 1-6 nights spent camping or in the field
  • Hiking 5 or more miles per day
  • Class IV whitewater rapids
CFI's Essential Eligibility Criteria outlines specific challenges that you may face on CFI trips. Please consult the EEC for information on responsibilities of participants.
Notes:
  • A $300 deposit to reserve your spot is required and applies to your total fee
  • Fee includes $60 Navajo Parks and Recreation Department use fee
  • For the Rainbow Bridge Trail Supported Trek, CFI provides tents, sleeping bags, and sleeping pads at no additional cost.
  • Due to Navajo Nation regulations, this is an alcohol free trip.
  • Fee includes a $100 donation to the Navajo Youth Outreach and Trail Project

See other trips in these categories:

Please note: All participants on our adult seminars and on our private trips are required to be fully vaccinated.

“After more than 50 years of outdoor adventures, the CFI Rainbow Bridge trip was a real stand out! It was definitely a top life list trip"

Nancy S, Alexandria VA

Guest Faculty

Nicky Haroldsen will be our CFI Trip Leader. Nicky graduated from Northern Arizona University and has worked with CFI since 1999 as a river and hiking guide with both adult and student groups. She has led trips with the Atene family at Navajo Mountain for over a dozen years and is knowledgeable about the area’s rich cultural and natural history. She lives in Castle Valley near Moab.

Brandi Atene will be our Navajo hiking guide. Brandi grew up at Navajo Mountain and Tuba City, Arizona. She has several years experience guiding CFI trips at Navajo Mountain and on river trips. She also works for Redwood Llamas in summer months in the high country near Silverton, Colorado. Brandi is also an athlete, basketball coach and mother of one son. Her grandmother Rose and extended family live and graze sheep and goats on the northeast side of Navajo Mountain. Brandi will help with camp routines and the llamas as well as share some of what life is like living in this remote section of the Navajo Nation.

Trip Narrative

Explore the remote and historic North Trail between Navajo Mountain and Rainbow Bridge on this pack llama supported backpacking adventure! The journey will take us along a traditional pilgrimage route to Rainbow Bridge. Pack llamas will carry the majority of our supplies and we will only need to carry packs with water, lunch, and layers needed for each day. As we camp our way along the seldom-used trail we will have plenty of time to enjoy the beautiful landscape, talk with new friends, and learn about the vast natural and cultural history of this area. Our small group will include a CFI trip leader, a Navajo hiking guide, and llama wrangler.

We will trek to Rainbow Bridge, the earth’s largest natural bridge formation. Set amid some of the planet’s most rugged and spectacular canyon country, this area 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.

This trip starts at 7:00pm, MST (Arizona time) in Page, AZ with a hotel stay and trip orientation. Dinner on the first night and breakfast at the Lodge are on your own. We will explore Navajo Mountain the next day, and spend the night with a Navajo family.

We’ll spend the next four nights on the trail. Total hiking distance on the Rainbow Trail is approximately fourteen miles. Travelling 3 to 4 miles per day, we take a slow pace to explore cultural sites and take in the stunning beauty of this place. Our route is very rocky in spots with light stream crossings.

Hikers carry daypacks with their clothing, drinking water and lunch for the day. The pack string carries our sleeping gear, food, and kitchen. Camp life is filled with stories of Navajo culture, geology, and history as well as relaxing time for personal reflection.

On the final day, a tour boat will take us across Lake Powell to Wahweap Marina, Page, AZ. That afternoon, we will end the trip at the hotel where we started. Lodging this night is not included, so please make advance reservations in Page or down the road at your next destination.

This is a very authentic cultural and hiking experience for lovers of the Colorado Plateau and one of CFI’s premier trips for nearly 30 years. Crossing the lake, back into civilization, you will feel rejuvenated and be filled with appreciation for the area’s cultural beauty.

“This remains perhaps the most remote and little-known region in the conterminous United States today.”
Dr. Don L. Baars, geologist,
in Navajo Country: A Geologic and Natural History of the Four Corners Region.

Need to Know

  • For the Rainbow Bridge Trail Supported Trek, CFI provides tents, sleeping bags, and sleeping pads at no additional cost.
  • CFI staff are trained educators and guides with first aid and CPR certifications. Back-country trips carry satellite communications devices.  
  • All cook and dishware, meals, snacks, and river gear are provided by CFI.
  • Due to Navajo Nation regulations, this is an alcohol free trip.

FAQ

Some people say food is the most important part of the adventure. On all our overnight trips, CFI will provide breakfast, lunch, and dinner, a morning and afternoon snack, and an appetizer before dinner. If you have a dietary restriction or food allergy, note it on your medical form so we can best prepare.

Depends on the trip. As a general rule, CFI provides all group gear related to fully outfitting your trip. Specialized gear like PFDs, wetsuits, dry bags, educational materials are all provided by CFI. Additionally, we take care of all kitchen and dishware needs. 

Find out more about trip specific packing.

Most importantly, a willingness to slow down, connect to your surroundings, and experience the moment. Additionally, participants are required to bring a tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, personal clothing, medication, and other essential personal items. Many gear items are available for rent. Reach out to us if you are interested in seeing a trip specific packing list, or learn more about trip specific packing here.

CFI provides options to rent gear:

  • Two person tent: $30 / trip
  • Sleeping bag: $20 / trip
  • Kid sleeping pad: $7 / trip
  • Adult sleeping pad (paco pad): $15 / trip
  • Package deal: Sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and one tent per two people: $40 / trip

For any CFI summer camp, gear rentals are free!

Every CFI guide has either a Wilderness First Aid or Wilderness First Responder certification. Your trip leader will have a Wilderness First Responder certification. Anyone working with youth has passed a background check, and shuttle drivers are insured with clean driving records. Backcountry trips carry In-Reach satellite communication devices for emergencies. All guides have been evaluated by Canyonlands Field Institute as possessing the judgement, skills, and disposition required for mitigating risk in the field. 

As technology grows more and more invasive by the day, CFI promotes connection to what matters. To achieve this, all school and youth programs are unplugged and students are not permitted to bring electronic devices. Not only is there rarely cell service, devices are a distraction to our ability to connect to the present moment. On Private Group Trips or Adult Seminars, the use of devices is permitted but discouraged.

CFI works hard to ensure a positive experience for all guides and participants. Because of the unpredictable nature of outfitting, we have created a series of policies so maintain our ability to manage risk in the outdoors.

For critical information regarding cancellations, deposits, and other participant responsibilities, please view our trip policies page or contact us with any questions.

CFI is a non-profit organization and fees are not taxed. By choosing CFI, you are supporting our efforts to provide lifechanging outdoor experiences for hundreds of children per year.  Scholarships are available on an as needed basis.