US191 Bridge near Moab, Utah the Bridge at Hite Crossing Glen Canyon Dam Bridge Historic Navajo Bridge Grand Canyon Trail Bridges US93 Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge

Only Five Highway Bridges Cross the Colorado in 750 Miles

From the National Park Service article on Navajo Bridge:  Those traveling across the country on Highway 89A between Bitter Springs and Jacob Lake, AZ arrive at two bridges similar in appearance spanning the Colorado River. These two bridges, one historic and one new, represent one of only seven land crossings of the Colorado River for 750 miles (1207 km).

Five highway bridges and two trail bridges in the Grand Canyon are the only seven land crossings of the Colorado for 750 Miles (1,207 km) (NPS).  Scenic views of these bridges between Dewey, Utah, and Topock, Arizona - a distance of 762 river miles - cycle in the banner above, in the order in which they appear, southwest across Utah and Arizona. Until historic Navajo Bridge opened in 1929, there were no bridges across the Colorado between Moab, Utah, and Topock, Arizona, a distance of 833 river miles, creating a barrier dividing northwestern and southwestern US.  This article is about these seven bridges and four historic bridges at the termini of the 833 miles: Fruita, Colorado, Dewey, Utah, and Topock, Arizona, and the Laughlin bridge built in 1987 to service a casino.  Photos of these eleven bridges (twelve if counting the I-40 bridge at Topock) are in the gallery and auto-show.

At Moab, Utah, amidst unique geology, the US191 Colorado River Bridge is designed to be in harmony with nature.  The Bridge at Hite Crossing on Utah Scenic Byway 95 and the Trail of the Ancients near Hite, Utah, is 110 miles (177 km) downstream from the Moab bridge, crossing the Colorado over Cataract Canyon and the northeastern end of Lake Powell (when not in drought).  The US89 Glen Canyon Dam Bridge crossing the Colorado at the southwestern end of Lake Powell near Page, Arizona, is 154 miles (248 km) downstream from Hite Crossing.  Historic Navajo Bridge on US89A over the Colorado in Marble Canyon is 17 miles (27.4 km) downstream from Glen Canyon Dam.  The South Kaibab Trail and Bright Angel Trail bridges cross the Colorado near the floor of the Grand Canyon.  It is 342 miles (550.4 km) to the Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, the US93 Hoover Dam Bypass, an amazing structure with a pedestrian walkway providing a view of Hoover Dam and the Colorado 900' (280+ m) below in Black Canyon.

The road looked as if it had been cut out of the red clay mountains with a pocket knife wrote Sharlot Hall about her trip down the side of the canyon to Lees Ferry in 1911.  More information may be found in the Navajo Bridge History article. In 1987, casino owner Don Laughlin built a bridge across the Colorado between Laughlin, Nevada, and Bullhead City, Arizona, at a cost of $3.5 million, to provide Arizona-access to his casino.  He donated the bridge to the states of Nevada and Arizona.  Photos are in the gallery.Pre-bridge Colorado River crossings include King's Ferry at Dewey, Utah, until the Dewey bridge was built in 1916, and the unsafe Lee's Ferry, near the present location of Navajo Bridge in Marble Canyon, that operated between 1871 and its destruction in an accident in 1928 (Navajo Bridge was being constructed at the time of the accident, opened in 1929).  A ferry operated by Arthur Chaffin crossed the river at Hite Crossing from 1946 until 1966 when the Bridge at Hite Crossing was built as Lake Powell started filling after the Glen Canyon Dam was built.  And a new bridge was built in 1987 by Don Laughlin at Laughlin, Nevada, a few miles upstream from Needles.

Select Bridges history for information on the Colorado River Bridges between Fuita, Colorado, and Topoc, Arizona, with the river mileage between the bridges from data obtained from the USBR, USGS, Wikipedia, and Benchmark maps.

The Bridges menu has six articles on the seven bridges (the trail bridges are in a single article), and
Bridges history includes information on the four historic bridges (Fruita, Dewey, and Red Rock and Old Trails bridges for US66 at Topoc).
The Photo gallery contains photos of the bridges covered in this article with an auto-show of the photos in the gallery.