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Rainbow Bridge, Utah, USA

January 22nd, 2006 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places

Rainbow Bridge in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, southern Utah, USA, is the often described as the world's largest natural bridge. While this title may be deserved it is misleading, as the technical differences between a natural bridge and a natural arch are minor and subject to interpretation. Two other natural arches, Kolob Arch and Landscape Arch, both also in southern Utah, have confirmed spans several meters longer than Rainbow Bridge, but by most definitions of the terms are described as arches but not bridges. With a truly impressive height of 246 feet it does indeed stand taller than either of its longer competitors, it outdone by both Aloba Arch at 394 feet, which is in turn dwarfed by the world's tallest arch, Tushuk Tash in China at an estimated 1,200 feet.

While it may not live up to its often repeated reputation as the tallest or the longest natural arch in the world, Rainbow Bridge could well qualify as the world's most famous example of a natural arch. It is probably the most accessible of the large arches of the world, as it can be reached by a two-hour boat ride on Lake Powell or by hiking several hours overland from the Navajo Nation. Some say the Navajo and Hopi consider the site sacred, although this has been a topic of some debate. It was first reached by white explorers in 1909, and it has undoubtedly served as a source of inspiration for many writers and artists since. The National Park Service reports that it is visited by over 300,000 people annually.

(Source: Wikipedia)

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