At the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument in Northern Arizona, one of the most accessible areas for visitors to explore is what’s known as the Marble Canyon. Two points of interest are the Navajo Bridge and Lees Ferry.

The Navajo Bridge is right off Highway 89A with a spectacular view of the Marble Canyon and Colorado River. It’s fun just to drive over the bridge, but it’s also possible to get out and wheel across, or at least part of the way. Two bridges exist, one for vehicles and another for pedestrians. A great place to park and wheel around is at the Navajo Bridge Interpretive Center, where there is an accessible toilet, drinking fountains, and barrier-free pathways. A smoothly paved trail leads from the Navajo Bridge Interpretive Center to the bridge itself.

Driving past the bridge to access the park, visitors will find an accessible pay station. The road into the canyon ends at Lees Ferry and is where the Paria River mixes into the Colorado River; it’s also the one and only spot to launch a boat to travel to the Grand Canyon. Near the water is a large covered shelter; otherwise, there’s not really any protection from the sun. A couple of stone homes can be viewed along the Historic District River Trail, built by John D. Lee and a few of his wives; Lee didn’t live that long but his wives prospered. Even if you don’t get out, the drive is very scenic. It’s possible to stop and get a closer look at Cathedral Rock and Balanced Rock. These overlooks have an accessible path from the road to a paved viewing platform. In another area along the road where more large boulders look like sculptures, explorers will see the “Rock House,” which unlike the stone homes at Lees Ferry, this structure uses one large boulder as a rooftop. At this particular stop, we found barrier-free access and a naturally firm surface we could wheel over. It was fun getting so close to the rocks in our wheelchairs.    

Adjacent to the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, and even overlapping it in some parts, is the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. This nearby area features the scenic Horseshoe Bend Overlook Trail, which has a wide, barrier-free path made of packed dirt and rocks that leads to a shaded overlook. To access this trail requires paying an entrance fee. Furthermore, a nice visitor center with an accessible toilet is located at Glen Canyon Dam where you can wheel across a bridge that towers over the Colorado River and get a spectacular view of the dam. Lake Powell isn’t far from Glen Canyon Dam is also a part of this protected land with aspects that are wheelchair accessible.

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