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Marble Canyon Overlook at Navajo Bridge, AZ

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Difficulty 0.5 of 5
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Distance Round Trip 0.3 miles
Trailhead Elevation 3,525 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 0.5 hour
Backpack No
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Author Randal_Schulhauser
author avatar Guides 71
Routes 98
Photos 9,967
Trips 1,009 map ( 9,248 miles )
Age 61 Male Gender
Location Ahwatukee, AZ
Historical Weather
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Preferred   May, Sep, Oct → 5 PM
Seasons   ALL
Sun  5:27am - 7:38pm
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Vermillion view
by Randal_Schulhauser

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With the Glen Canyon Dam Overlook and Horseshoe Bend View available as HikeArizona.COM trip logs, might as well complete the "hat trick" with a stop at the Marble Canyon Overlook at Navajo Bridge.

The stunning views of Marble Canyon offered from the bridge are not for those with any great fear of heights! If you can brave your vertigo, you will also find views of the Vermillion Cliffs to the north and west along with views of the Echo Cliffs to the south and east. Check along the Vermillion Cliffs for any large birds circling to catch an updraft. They are likely to be California Condors from the Vermillion Cliffs re-introduction. Twenty-Five Condors now call these cliffs home.

There is an interpretive center on the north side filled with local history. The original Navajo Bridge was built by the Arizona Highway Department, and designed by the Kansas City Structural Steel Company in 1929. Arizona was not a very developed state in 1929, and only dirt roads approached both sides of the bridge. Before the bridge was built, Lee's Ferry was the only means of transportation between Arizona and Utah. Lee's Ferry was a undependable way to get across the Colorado River, because during storms, or floods, the ferry would not run. The Navajo bridge remained the only link between Utah and Arizona for almost thirty years. The engineering techniques that were used to build this bridge were cutting edge technology in 1929. When the old Navajo bridge was finished it was the highest steel-arch bridge in the country, extending 470 feet above the Colorado River. The bridge currently connects The Grand Canyon National Park and Glen National Park, which are on one side of the bridge, to a Navajo Indian Reservation which is on the other side of the bridge

When the original bridge was built in 1929, bridge building regulations were different when compared to modern day regulations. The original bridge's maximum load capacity (22.5 tons) was not designed to support heavier modern day vehicles. Both the loads and widths of these modern day transportation vehicles are a lot larger than the trucks used in 1929. Engineers, in 1929, had no idea that the size of vehicles would increase so drastically, and 18 feet wide seemed more than sufficient for two cars to pass one another in opposite directions. If the engineers wanted to make the bridge any wider than 18 feet in 1929, it would be necessary to add a third arch to the bridge which would have cost more and seemed unnecessary at the time. In 1990, with the new traffic flow, a width of 18 feet was insufficient. Other factors that played a role in deciding to build a new Navajo bridge were the sharp turns on each side of the bridge that decreased visibility and the load limit of the old bridge was not sufficient enough. The posted load limit was 40 tons where the actual load limit should have been 22.5 tons.

This is an easy way to stretch your legs if traveling along 89-A. Ponder bridge engineering as you stroll across the bridge!

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2005-06-26 Randal_Schulhauser
  • Grand Canyon Use Area Boundaries - Dynamic Map
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

Permit $$

Navajo Nation Reservation
Navajo Permits & Services

Grand Canyon National Park
Details for each are occasionaly below numerous alerts
Entrance Fee
Overnight/Backpacking Permits
Grand Canyon Use Areas Map
Rim-to-Rim and Extended Day Hike/Run

Map Drive
Paved - Car Okay

To hike
From Page, go south on Hwy 89 about 25 miles, then north on Alt. 89 for about 15 miles to Navajo Bridge.
90+° 8am - 6pm kills
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