Round Trip Distance: 0.1 - 0.8 miles
Elevation: 3551 - 3571 feet
Cellphone: 3-5 bars
Time: 30 mins.
Trailhead: Navajo Bridge Interpretive Center
Attractions: Historic bridge, California Condors
Navajo Bridge is located in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area near Marble Canyon, Arizona. The historic bridge spans the Colorado River below Lee's Ferry as it begins its flow into the Grand Canyon. Navajo Bridge was opened in 1929 to replace Lee's Ferry which was the only means of crossing the Colorado River anywhere along the Arizona Strip. California Condors can be spotted frequently perched on the girders below the original bridge and its replacement that was opened in 1995.
The Navajo Bridge Interpretive Center is about 42 miles southwest of Page, Arizona on Highway 89A and about 123 miles north of Flagstaff.
The Interpretive Center has restrooms with running water, a gift shop and picnic area.
The original bridge now serves as a pedestrian walkway where visitors can walk across the Colorado River 467 feet below. At the time the bridge was built it was the highest steel arch bridge in the world. For the first 5 years, or until 1934, the bridge was known as the Grand Canyon Bridge. Without the bridge a person would have to drive 800 miles to find a place to drive cross the Colorado River.
The Vermillion Cliffs provide a beautiful backdrop to both the old and the new bridges. This is one of the most beautiful scenes a person can enjoy anywhere in the American southwest.
Below the bridge large rafts, that launched at Lee's Ferry a few miles upstream, can be seen passing through Marble Canyon. Beginning at Lee's Ferry, everything below the rim of the canyon is part of the Grand Canyon National Park. The land on the north side of the river is part of the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and the land on the south side of the river is part of the Navajo Indian Reservation.
California Condors are often seen roosting on the steel girders beneath the bridges. From the bridges it is easier for the condors, which are the largest North American land bird, to take off and fly. If you are able to read the numbers on their wing bands you can pass the information along to the ranger and they will make note of it in their log book.
During the brief time we were there on this particular day there were two condors numbered 54 and H9. The one numbered 54 was the larger of the two and after a short sparring session it let H9 know that it needed to find a different place to roost. We are guessing that the bird on the left, H9, is a female and that the 'H' might be an abbreviation for 'hen'. Female condors are smaller than the males.
Since condors are a rare sighting for us and such a treat we had to include one more photo. There are also condor viewing areas within the Vermillion Cliffs National Monument a little further west as well as occasional sightings along the Rim Trail in the Grand Canyon National Park.
The Navajo Bridge is well worth stopping at while traveling through the area. We felt that seeing the condors made our 1 day excursion from Page, Arizona worth the drive all by itself. The ranger in the Visitor Center mentioned that the condors can usually be seen on the bridge most any day throughout the entire year. For those that are going to and from the North Rim of the Grand Canyon Navajo Bridge is the perfect rest stop to add to your itinerary. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.