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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“Cliff Dwellers” on Arizona’s Vermillion Cliffs Scenic Drive – A Fun Stop!

October 2016 – Cutting across the northern part of Arizona from east to west in an RV is a total treat.

RV trip Vermillion Cliffs National Monument Arizona

An RV trip through the Vermillion Cliffs area in northern Arizona is a fabulous scenic drive.

We took US-95 south from Page to US-89A, and then followed US-89A northbound towards Marble Canyon, passing through the stunning red rock scenery of Vermillion Cliffs National Monument.

Driving through Vermillion Cliffs National Monument Arizona

Classic scenery in the Vermillion Cliffs of Arizona

The most spectacular section of this drive does a 180 degree turn on US-89A near Lees Ferry and Marble Canyon.

RV trip in Vermillion Cliffs National Monument Arizona

My camera never stops when we drive this part of US-89A!

Every time we pass through this region we are blown away by the scenery once again.

02 761 RV travel Vermillion Cliffs National Monument Arizona

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As I was going through our photos this morning, choosing which ones to include in this post, I was amused to discover that a lot of the photos were essentially the sames ones I had taken from the passenger seat of our truck on previous trips through this area on our way to Kanab and Bryce Canyon years ago, and again this past spring of 2016 on our way towards the Canadian Rockies.

It is just that beautiful: even though I have the photos already, I’ve gotta take them again!

Motorhome RV in Vermillion Cliffs National Monument Arizona

RVing through the Vermillion Cliffs. Wow!

A stop at Marble Canyon and Lees Ferry is an absolute must. We loved visiting that area last spring.

This time, however, we wanted to see something new, and a small roadside stop called Cliff Dwellers was just the ticket. This is essentially a pullout located about 9 miles west of Navajo Bridge at Marble Canyon.

Pullout at Cliff Dwellers Vermillion Cliffs National Monument Arizona

The pullout at “Cliff Dwellers” on US-89A.

Boulders at Cliff Dwellers Vermillion Cliffs Arizona

The boulders at Cliff Dwellers are huge!

RV at Cliff Dwellers Vermillion Cliffs National Monument Arizona

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We had no idea what we would find at this roadside stop in the middle of nowhere, but the first thing we saw was a towering mushroom red rock formation.

Rock formation Cliff Dwellers Vermillion Cliffs National Monument Arizona

A huge mushroom rock formation towers above me!

Red rocks at Cliff Dwellings Vermillion Cliffs Arizona

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In the distance there was a rock structure.

Rock formation and rock house Cliff Dwellers Vermillion Cliffs Arizona

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Whoever built this structure had placed red rocks on top of each other to form walls that fit under a huge overhanging mushroom type of boulder which formed part of the roof.

Cliff Dwellers Vermillion Cliffs National Monument Arizona

The rock building at Cliff Dwellers isn’t on a cliff, but it probably was a dwelling!

Rock house built into boulder Cliff Dwellers Vermillion Cliffs Arizona

The building is tucked under and overhanging boulder which provides part of the roof.

We prowled around the outside and inside of the building, peering through the windows and door.

Photography at Cliff Dwellers Vermillion Cliffs National Monument Arizona

View from the rock dwelling.

Windows at Cliff Dwellers Vermillion Cliffs National Monument Arizona

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There were some beams that had once formed a ceiling over part of the structure.

Interior Cliff Dwellers Vermillion Cliffs National Monument Arizona

Simple living!

Off in the distance, we found a plaque that probably used to describe the history of the structures and the area, but the plaque was empty. So, we just enjoyed roaming around this odd structure.

Cliff Dwellers rock house Vermillion Cliffs Arizona

The rock house looks small compared to the huge red rock hill behind.

Behind it there was a fantastic red rock hill that had all kinds of striations and textures. Huge white boulders had come crashing down from one of the layers over the years, and they were strewn around the base.

Red rock cliff at Cliff Dwellers Vermillion Cliffs Arizona

Enormous rock boulders had fallen down the sides of this hill and lay around the bottom.

A Navajo woman had set up a folding table to sell jewelry to tourists who stopped by.

Navajo trinkets Cliff Dwellers Vermillion Cliffs National Monument Arizona

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This little stopover at Cliff Dwellers was a fun way to spend an hour or two.

Cliff Dwellers red rocks Vermillion Cliffs National Monument Arizona

What a great little spot to take a breather in the middle of a truly gorgeous drive!

Motorhome Navajo trinkets Cliff Dwellers Vermillion Cliffs National Monument Arizona

Cliff Dwellers Roadside Stop on US-89A.

Continuing our drive west along US-89A, we came to the end of the red rock region where the red rocks of Vermillion Cliffs abruptly give way to the evergreens of the Kaibab Plateau.

RV at Vermillion Cliffs National Monument Arizona

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Climbing up a series of tight switchbacks and steep grades, we arrived at a pullout near the top where we could take in the view in all directions and see this incredible transition in the landscape from red desert to green forest.

On one side there were beautiful yellow wildflowers that set off the red rock cliffs in the distance.

Wildflowers Vermillion Cliffs National Monument Arizona

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There were also some beautiful pink fairy dusters in bloom.

Fairy Duster wildflowers Vermillion Cliffs Arizona

Pink fairy dusters.

Looking east back down the way we came, the road cut a cool s-turn through the desert.

Road in Vermillion Cliffs National Monument Arizona

Looking back towards the red rock cliffs.

And looking to the north, we saw the very cool divide between the red rocks of the desert and the green hills leading up to the very dense Kaibab forest that surrounds the Grand Canyon.

Red rocks and juniper hills Vermillion Cliffs Arizona

The red rocks of the desert give way to the greenery of the forested Kaibab Plateau which surrounds the Grand Canyon.

More about the Grand Canyon in our next post!! In the meantime, there are links for Vermillion Cliffs below.

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Info about the Vermillion Cliffs:

Other posts from our RV travels in Northeastern Arizona:

Other roadside attractions we’ve bumped into:

Our most recent posts:

More of our Latest Posts are in the MENU.
New to this site? Visit RVers Start Here to find where we keep all the good stuff!!

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Paria Rimrocks “Toadstools” Hike to A Hidden Canyon!

Fields of wildflowers in Southern Utah

OMG – When we’re not looking, we come across a gorgeous field
of wildflowers bursting with color!

May, 2014 – All spring we had deliberately searched for wildflowers in Arizona, using the excellent book Wild Arizona as a guide.

We had driven down crazy back roads and hiked into the hinterlands, stalking these colorful little beauties.

We had found lots of pretty flowers scattered here and there, but the vast fields of color we’d hoped for never materialized. Continue reading

Arizona, Here We Come – Space Aliens of All Kinds!

Arizona sunset with saguaro

Arizona’s beautiful scenery beckons us

December, 2013 – After saying goodbye to our sailboat Groovy in San Diego, we pointed our truck towards Phoenix, Arizona. The truck bed was piled high with all of our stuff, and a new life waited for us down the road in our trailer.

We decided to take it slow on our way there.

We were both quiet and lost in thought as we began to climb through the hilly area that separates the moist and green San Diego coast from the flat, brown, dry deserts to the east.

Spaceships and aliens outside San Diego

Strange alien spaceships and motorhomes on I-8

It’s a region of towering hills made of huge boulders that look like a giant bulldozer just dropped its load of rocks.

Alien in a space craft

Yup, that’s an alien in there!

We had driven through this area many times, and every time we noticed a very strange collection of aliens, spacecraft and RVs parked off the side of the road.

This time, rather than keep going as usual, Mark decided to pull off the highway.

“I’ve always wondered about this place.”  He said as he parked and reached in the back seat for his camera.  We both hopped out and began to roam around.

 

Aliens in a motorhome

Aliens in a motorhome too…

This funny place is a classic little piece of roadside Americana.

Someone has put alien figures inside of spaceships, motorhomes and assorted chairs and cars all along a frontage road.

They’re the kind of aliens that have the slanted, almond eyes and small mouths set in lightbulb shaped heads.  So strange!

We wandered among these weird creatures, mystified.  Who put this here?  And why?  It’s crazy, but it’s fun!

 

Aliens sitting in chairs near San Diego

And there are some aliens sitting around in chairs!

There’s a tower at the top of the hill that appears to be a museum, but there was a sign saying “Sorry, we’re closed today.”  Oh well, next time!

When we got to Phoenix, we went straight to the storage facility where our fifth wheel had been patiently waiting for us for over a year.

I think it was very excited to see us, but when it saw the load in the back of the truck, its knees appeared to buckle a little.

 

RV in storage

Our buggy has waited patiently in storage

It was already a fully outfitted home, and now we were bringing endless boxes of stuff back to it that had absolutely nowhere to go.

Yet it was all great stuff that we couldn’t bear to part with.  Ugh!

How do you combine two households into one, especially when the one you’re moving into is 350 square feet?  You’ve gotta make some tough choices.

Mark washes our fifth wheel

The buggy gets a bath

And so it was.  This spatula or that spatula?  This set of socket wrenches or that one?

And what to do with all those awesome but unused stainless steel fasteners and spare parts we’d bought for the boat?  They might prove useful out on some remote road someday.

At the Goodwill Donations drop-off

We made many trips to Goodwill!

And all that clothing.  Oh my goodness!  We could have dressed an army — in bathing suits and tank tops!

Over the ensuing weeks we became regulars at the Goodwill drop-off center, and slowly our mountain of bins in the back of the truck dwindled to the point where we could actually find homes for everything inside the trailer.

Mercury hot rod

A Mercury bared its teeth at us!

This isn’t the kind of project that makes either of us leap out of bed in the morning with excitement.

So we took our time as the holidays approached and did lots of other things.

While out driving around in Cave Creek one day, we bumped into a car show.

 

Cool trike on the road in Phoenix

Smooth ride…

Mark can never pass up a chance to mingle with muscle cars, so we stopped to have a look.

Arizona is a mecca for car enthusiasts, whether they are buying new exotics from the row of Maserati, Lotus, Ferarri and other dealerships in Scottsdale, or primping their old cars for shows like this.

There were hot rods and rat rods and souped up cars of all kinds from yesteryear.

There were even some unusual motorcycles, including a few trikes that rumbled down the road.

 

Dirt bike jump acrobatics

A dirt biker does acrobatics over the crowd

What really caught our attention, however, was the dirt bike jumping show.

As the announcer began his patter on the microphone, we looked up to see a dirt bike flying high above the crowd.

Flying dirt bike

Dirt bike somersault

Dirt bike daredevils

Leaping motocross riders

Wow!  Those guys are crazy!!  They were all young boys in their late teens — one was only 16 — and with every jump, they soared higher and higher, doing wild and daring tricks in the air.

I was awestruck.  We’ve seen this kind of stuff on TV, of course, but it was different to be standing so close that when they landed we could reach out and touch them.

 

Dirt bike wheelie

These daredevils were amazing

At the end they all did wheelies past the crowd.

A more peaceful way to take to the skies around Phoenix is to go up in a balloon, and every morning the horizon was filled with them.

Balloons in Phoenix

Balloons soaring…no acrobatics!

Balloon ride over Arizona

With a pretty cactus

Sometimes we could hear the roar of their flame heaters before we saw them.

Balloons in the sky in Phoenix

The balloons make beautiful patterns in the sky

The balloons made wonderful, everchanging patterns in the air.  Floating around in slow motion, they’d move up and down and drift past each other.

We were both so happy to be back in the desert.  There is something about the Sonoran desert that is really appealing.

 

Sonoran desert sunset in Arizona

We just love the Sonoran desert

The cactus are so stately, and the sunsets are so colorful and varied.

Our son went tent camping at Cave Creek Recreational Area campground, and we spent a few hours with him at his campsite.

The campground was filled with RVs, and they all looked so snug and homey. Many of them had Christmas lights on.

We hung around the campfire, relishing the smell of mesquite wood that filled the air.

Even a brief downpour didn’t dampen our spirits, although we scampered off into the truck for the worst of it.

RV at campground at night

Cave Creek campground was full of RVs — and they looked so cozy and inviting!

Campfire in Cave Creek Arizona

And what a great campfire too…

We suddenly had such a longing to get back into our fifth wheel.  “Soon, soon!” we told ourselves.

Fake fireplace at Christmas

The little fake fireplace set just the right mood next to the tree…

Santa brings lots of presents

Santa brought joy to everyone

In the meantime, though, the holidays were here and were wonderful. This was the first Christmas we had spent with our family in five years, and the coziness around the little fake fireplace in the living room was just as intimate and heartwarming as the real thing outdoors.

Santa came with a bountiful array of gifts for everyone, and we spent a marvelous holiday season immersed in the world of our young granddaughters, where innocence, iPod games, Wii dancing, pizza and Barbie rule.  Whew!!

Our urge to set up housekeeping in our beloved buggy couldn’t be put off any longer, though, and the arrival of the new year saw us squeezing ourselves into the trailer alongside the last few boxes of unsorted stuff for an overnight, even though it was still parked in storage with no room to open the slides.

RV at sunset - the angels sing!

Our buggy was glowing when it found out we were going out adventuring together.

Riding our bikes once again

…and we were glowing too.

Within a few days we were out on our own again, the slides pushed out, the last boxes of things sorted and stored, and our spirits sky high.

We grabbed our bikes, suited up in our new Mexican “Bi-Zihuanas” cycling jerseys — gifts from our friend Alejandro who owns the very cool Bi-Zihuanas bike shop in Zihuatanejo (story here about 1/2 way down the page) — and we set out to ride the fabulous bike lanes of greater Phoenix into the far reaches of the desert.

It was our first real bike ride in ages, and it felt so good.

The wind was at our backs, the sun was on our faces, and we were so thrilled be alive and so excited to be looking down the road towards the fun of travel and exploration once again.

 

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