Navajo Mountain [Naatsis'áán, meaning Head of the Earth] straddles the Arizona-Utah border and rises to a height of 10,416 feet. Two trails (each 14 miles long) to the largest natural arch in the world, Rainbow Bridge [Tsé naní'áhí], begin near this mountain. Neither trail is maintained and both cross rugged and incomparable scenery.
The rugged nature of the land and the fact that Navajo Mountain [Naatsis'áán] provides a natural shield, it allowed a small band of Navajos to find a safe haven here when many of their fellow tribesmen were removed to the Bosque Redondo in 1864. Rainbow Bridge [Tsé naní'áhí] was discovered by Blind Salt Clansman of this group (and also possibly independently by others from other Native American tribes) while rounding up horses. As the Navajo are fortunate enough to realize that the universe around them is filled by the holy, it was natural to interpret this incredible structure as a petrified rainbow. In fact, it is two petrified rainbows, one male and one female, in perfect union. This is only natural since this arch lies very close to the confluence of the San Juan [Tooh] (male) and the Colorado [Tóníts'ósíkooh] (female) rivers where the Cloud and Rain People were born. Prior to the construction of the dam, Navajo chanters would make pilgrimages to Rainbow Bridge [Tsé naní'áhí] and the nearby confluence of the San Juan [Tooh] and Colorado [Tóníts'ósíkooh] rivers, perform ceremonies to bring rain and leave offerings to the Holy People [diyin diné].