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Rainbow Bridge National Monument

Rainbow Bridge National Monument

"If by some fiat I had to restrict all this writing to one sentence, this is the one I would choose: The summit of Mt. Everest is marine limestone." –John McPhee

natural bridge Rainbow Bridge National Monument, Glen Canyon, Arizona-Utah.
Natural bridges are rare. They form when a watercourse breaks through rock, in the most simplistic terms.

But the truth is: we can barely fathom the events and processes that took place to produce them.

Rainbow Bridge is one of the world's largest known natural bridges, and one that American Indians have been holding sacred for centuries.

Millions of years of ocean-turned-desert continental shifting, erosion, sedimentation and compression, a million different faces that the earth has donned until now, brought Rainbow Bridge to its state as it stands today. Almost 300 feet tall, arched above the canyons of Navajo Mountain, its red sandstone against the blue sky stayed hidden to most humans for years. It wasn't designated a National Monument until 1910.

The Ancient Pueblos, the Paiute and Navajos originally called the spot Nonnezoshe, which translates to "rainbow turned to stone." Five different tribes hold it sacred today, of course each with their own name. And just as none of those five tribes has exactly the same view of Rainbow Bridge, the experience of standing below it "means something different to everyone that sees it," Glen Canyon Chief of Interpretation, Max King says of the growing number of visitors who now pay their respects to the wonder.

"People come from all over the world. It’s a source of beauty and inspiration and it’s a very significant part of the landscape for Native American tribes in the area."

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