Navajo Bridge, Arizona — A Scenic Roadside Attraction in Red Rock Country

June 2022 – Our first stop on our summer RV travels this year was at Navajo Bridge in Arizona. We’d made it to red rock country. Woo hoo!

Navajo Bridge - Historical roadside attraction in northeastern Arizona

Navajo Bridge is a wonderful roadside stop for travelers in northeastern Arizona.

The parking area at this site is tiny, but we arrived early in the morning on a weekday so we were able to tuck in for 30 minutes before the parking lot got busy.

RV parked at Navajo Bridge Arizona

In our RV travels in northeastern Arizona we’ve enjoyed several visits to Navajo Bridge.

Navajo Bridge is a historic bridge that crosses the Colorado River near Lees Ferry. It is situated smack dab in the middle of some of the best red rock scenery on the very scenic Route 89A in northern Arizona.

Red Rock views around Navajo Bridge Arizona

The red rocks were resplendent in the morning light.

There’s a lovely stone picnic area, and as we walked around, our cameras started humming.

Picnic area at Navajo Bridge in Arizona

The picnic area is beautiful!

Navajo Bridge in Arizona is a good place for photography

Buddy checks out the view as Mark snaps a pic

The early June sun was strong and the shadows of the slatted roof in the picnic area were very cool.

Cool patterns at picnic area at Navajo Bridge in Arizona

We loved the shadows in the picnic area…!

Navajo Bridge Picnic Area

Peek-a-boo (that’s me walking by)

View of Navajo Bridge from picnic area

You can picnic with a view of the Navajo Bridge

Long before scenic US-89A was even a twinkle in anyone’s eye, the only way to cross the Colorado River on the eastern side of the Grand Canyon was by taking Lees Ferry. It was a cable ferry with a barge that moved across the fast moving water by way of a cable that spanned the river rather than by having someone row. The ferry, named for operator John Doyle Lee, began operation in 1871.

Lees Ferry historic photo

Lees Ferry was a cable ferry that crossed the Colorado River from 1871 to 1928

In 1929 Navajo Bridge was built between the canyon walls to replace the ferry. In 1995 a second bridge was built to support the weight of modern cars and trucks. Today, pedestrians can walk on the old bridge to view the new one — and to admire the spectacular views in every direction!

Navajo Bridge Construction historic photo

The two halves of the Navajo Bridge are almost ready to join in 1928

The original Navajo Bridge is now a pedestrian bridge next to the truck-friendly new one.

The original Navajo Bridge is now a pedestrian bridge next to the truck-friendly new one.

Navajo Bridge in Arizona

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All this was because the Grand Canyon made it impossible to cross this river! As W. C. Lefebvre said in 1926, “Nowhere in North America, and in very few localities in the world, are there any such barriers to road building as the Grand Canyon of the Colorado.”

Now, our sweet pup Buddy was unaware any of this history. He’s not much of a history buff. He’s more into the here and now. And when he sees a trail, he likes to find out where it goes. So, he waited patiently ahead of us while we took lots of photos. He did look over the edge once, though.

Puppy on the pedestrian Navajo Bridge in Arizona

Our trail scout patiently waits for us slow-pokes with cameras.

Puppy explores Navajo Bridge in Arizona

“Are there any rabbits down there?”

It is astonishing how the bridge is anchored into the rock cliffs.

Navajo Bridge in Arizona anchored into the red rocks

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Navajo Bridge is anchored to the red rocks

The bridge is anchored into the cliff face.

But even more astonishing are the magnificent views.

Navajo Bridge North View Arizona

The stunning Colorado River is a vivid blue ribbon between the red rock cliff walls.

Colorado River view from Navajo Bridge in Arizona

The little beach and green oasis looked so inviting!

Another tourist looking out at these views and down at the river far below said to me, “Imagine floating down that river…I mean, being the first ones to do it.” It is astonishing to ponder. John Wesley Powell and all those early explorers were incredibly courageous and brave people.

Sandy Beach in the Colorado River below Navajo Bridge in Arizona

This beach is inviting too!

The Mighty Colorado River under Navajo Bridge in Arizona

Before Lees Ferry and, later, the Navajo Bridge were available, crossing the Colorado River to get between modern day Arizona and Utah was extremely difficult.

RV trailer drivers over Navajo Bridge in Arizona

A travel trailer goes over the Navajo Bridge

Colorado River seen from Navajo Bridge in Arizona

Gorgeous!

When we reached the other side of the bridge we turned and started back. The red rocks backing the bridge were beautifully lit by the morning sun.

North view across Pedestrian Navajo Bridge in Arizona

Turning back at the end, we faced a wall of red rocks.

Not every day is sunny here, though. On the trip back we noticed a sign warning about not staying out on the bridge in a lightning storm.

Watch out for lightning storms at Navajo Bridge in Arizona

Metal bridge railings and lightning don’t mix well with people.

And we also noticed a bunch of padlocks between the railings. Some were dated from just days or weeks before, in May, 2022. Others lower down looked to have been there a while.

Unusual padlocks at Navajo Bridge in Arizona

Interesting padlocks, many with dates and initials on them.

This little stop was a great place to stretch our legs and get our creative juices flowing. It felt so good to have our cameras in hand again and to be taking lots of photos of America’s beautiful places!

Happy Campers at Navajo Bridge Arizona

What a fun stop!

We got back in the truck and started singing On The Road Again!!

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23 thoughts on “Navajo Bridge, Arizona — A Scenic Roadside Attraction in Red Rock Country

    • That is so cool, Mary! I love knowing you and others appreciate our discoveries and stories. This place is an unexpected hidden gem and very picturesque. We stopped as a lark the first time years ago, but this time we knew how cool it was so we planned a break there to stretch our legs and take pics. So much fun!!

  1. So great to see you guys on the road again. Buddy looks so happy too. Love your new rig. It will be interesting to hear how it works out for you. We’re still bumping down the highways in our NuWa Discover America vintage 2011. Heading home from three months in Oregon. Suffering diesel sticker fuel shock at the moment, 6.99 a gal last fill. 🤮 Happy travels. ❤️

    • Thanks, Lew, is great to be back on the road, bumps and all! So far, 5 days into it, the rig is working out really well. We’ve got some learning and tweaking to do, but the concept is solid! We saw diesel for $6.35 yesterday, but wow, $6.99, yikes! Oh well, we could stay home and let our lives slip away or we can hit the road and live our dreams and accept the things in the world we can’t possibly change. Keep enjoying your Discover America!

  2. Thanks for the ride-along. What a beautiful place. The great pictures along with expert commentary make us followers feel as though we are there with you. I’m so glad y’all are back in the saddle…it’s so fun to ride along. Hey to Mark and Buddy. Tell Buddy we don’t want any more drama like last year! He looks great!

    • It is wonderful to be able to share our pics and stories so easily, and it’s heartwarming that you appreciate our various online goodies! Buddy is loving meeting lots of new dogs every day and seeing new places all the time. Right now he’s sitting outside on his rug patiently waiting for us to finish breakfast so we can go play with him. We’ll all try to keep the drama to a minimum this year and enjoy a peaceful trip. We did have some drama last night, though, when we had an invasion of moths. But that was manageable and short-lived, and no one got hurt except the moths. This morning some robins are feasting on the moth carcasses we tossed on the ground…nature’s rhythms at their finest!

  3. You’re BAAACK – welcome home to enchant us with stories and photos of new travels ! And what a gorgeous site to kick off your summer 2022 adventures. Surprised to see the locks. These are all over the pedestrian bridges in Paris. Lovers initial the lock and toss the key into the Seine for luck – but the locks were so heavy they had to be removed.

    • We’ve seen them elsewhere too. I guess it’s a worldwide tradition! Another reader said it’s a way for lovers to “lock in” their love. But the locks do get removed, and I imagine they get removed from this spot too because most had a date that was just a few weeks old!! We’re so happy to be out in the world again seeing new things and re-seeing beloved familiar places!

  4. What a cool place. We have stopped here several times also. Loved your pics of the slatted roofs. Amazes me that roofs like these offer shade!

    • It really is a fun place, isn’t it Annie, even though it’s probably not on any travel brochures for the area! I think slatted roofs are great for places where it doesn’t get too hot, but I imagine that in the dead of summer, when temps top 100 by a good margin, it would be nicer to have full shade there!!

  5. Thank you for sharing! Your photos are beautiful and full of information! I’ve never been there but hope to someday! I’m surprised it wasn’t a busier area – I like to avoid crowds, so this would be a great stop! Buddy is full of spunk – it’s so cool that Buddy likes to travel & explore too!! We live in NE Ohio and it’s refreshing to see the change of scenery through your lens.! Thank you!

    • Thank you, Deborah. I think it was quiet because we were there ealry in the morning on a weekday. I suspect that if you went later in the day and/or on a weekend it would be quite busy! Buddy is our little kindred spirit. He just loves exploring and he is totally in his element out here! Arizona is very different from Ohio, but both are beautiful just in different ways!!

  6. Great photos! We have been to Horseshoe Bend twice and didn’t even know about this bridge! Did you camp nearby? We stayed at Wahweap the last time we were there. Let us know if you have a campground recommendation in the Page area. We will be heading down to AZ this fall. We are wandering SD now.

    • Oops – I had an error in this article that I fixed — Navajo Bridge is on US-89A while Horseshoe Bend is on US-89. They split in Bitter Springs and US-89 goes to Page while US-89A goes to Jacob Lake. They both end up in Kanab, Utah eventually. We didn’t camp nearby. It is very hot there now! Unfortunately, we don’t have any campground recommendations in the Page area, but https://campgrounds.rvlife.com/ is a good resource for reading reviews when choosing a campground. Have fun in SD. Lots of wonderful things to see and do there!

  7. Beautiful pictures, as always! I remember our trip to Red Rock Country back in 1978 with Derek in the car seat of our car and the beautiful country. We did not get to this area though so this is a great story of some beauty we missed!

  8. You’re so right- absolutely “gorge”ous! We’ve been out west a few times but haven’t been there. I loved seeing y’all again and it’s still such a blessing to see sweet Buddy! I told Steve that I would love to go back out west. Right now with fuel costs and the fact that we’re building a house, it’s just not feasible for us right now. I really wanted to this year because our son and his wife live in San Diego. Their gas prices are really ridiculous!!

    • Buddy is a true blessing in our lives and he brings smiles to our faces every day. We agree about fuel prices. Pure insanity. For us, though, at this point in our lives, we’re willing to bite the bullet and pay the price necessary to get out and see the world. If prices had skyrocketed at another time in our lives, we would have stayed close to home and not minded being stationary for a while. I hope the house building goes smoothly for you — can’t wait to see you guys again somewhere down the road!

  9. We were out there last August. We crossed the Navajo Bridge on our way from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon to the North Rim. Wow what a surprising, beautiful area. I’m so glad y’all are out on the road again!

    • Thanks, Connie. We’re thrilled to be out here again. And yes, the Navajo Bridge and that whole red rock area of Vermillion Cliffs makes for a fabulous interlude between the South and North Rims of the Grand Canyon. What a show it is! Like so many places in the American West, we can’t stop saying “WOW!” every time we go through there!

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