High Adventure on the Rainbow Bridge Trail

Need an idea for High Adventure?  Here’s one I wish our Varsity Scout Team or Venture Crew could do…a 13-mile hike to Rainbow Bridge via the South Trail.

It starts at the old abandoned Rainbow Lodge that dates back to 1920 and ends at the Rainbow Bridge National Monument off the shores of Lake Powell.  I have never been on this route so I can only suggest that you search the web for yourself to learn more about it.  However, everything I’ve read about this experience from others sounds awesome! 


In thinking about how our unit could do this, here are some of the logistics I believe anyone would have to work through in order to pull this off:

  • You will need to get from wherever you are to Page, Arizona.  This is probably the easiest part of the trip, but definitely not the least expensive to kick things off.  For example, it’s about 375 miles from Salt Lake City (roughly 6 hours non-stop).
  • After reaching Page, you will need to travel another 100 miles to the trailhead at the old Rainbow Lodge (and back, so 200 miles round-trip from Page to the TH).
  • I’d plan this as a one-way trip for a scout hike.  As a result, you will need to coordinate a driver to drop you off and a boat to pick you up.  That’s another logistic:
  • Do you have access to someone with a boat?  Someone will need to travel about 50 miles by boat (one way) to pick you up at the end, near Rainbow Bridge. 
  • The boat also has to be able to carry the hikers *and* their gear plus any water toys if you body is up for any more abuse.  You may or may not be able to enjoy the 50 miles back to Wahweap Marina depending on how tired you are from the hike, how well your feet fared on those 13 miles or if your leg muscles can even take it.
  • Weather would be a BIG DEAL for this outing!  If there is any sign of rain or stormy weather, the hike would need to be called off.  In that scenario, I’m not even sure it’d be safe to spend any time in the water as an alternative activity.

If I were to plan this trip, assuming we could work through all these logistics, I’m thinking it could be done in 4 days without racing to/from each destination.  The itinerary would look something like this:

Day 1 – Drive to Page AZ and set up camp at Lone Rock Beach Campground.

Day 2 – With an early start, drive to the trailhead at the Rainbow Lodge ruins and hike the first 8 miles to Camp 1 (see attached map). 

Day 3 – Finish the remaining 5 miles of the hike, take celebratory pictures at Rainbow Bridge and return to Lone Rock Beach by boat. Maybe waterski or wakeboard portions of that return ride.

Day 4 – Sleep in, play in the water a bit, pack up, eat lunch, head home.

I’d love to attempt this plan as a High Adventure trip – I think it’d be a once-in-a-lifetime experience!  If it’s something you would consider, take a look at this Google Earth map of the area based on reading other people’s experience with this area.  Let me know if you do it!

Photo: Smithsonian.com
See full article: Tracking History Through Rainbow Bridge

NOTE: After dropping off the hikers on Day 2, the shuttle driver could check out Antelope Canyon and the Horseshoe Bend Overlook, two very popular attractions not far from Page.

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