Birder and Condor: Marble Canyon, Arizona
In remote northeastern Arizona, Highway 89A runs through spectacular country with towering red-and-white sandstone cliffs on one side and a broad expanse of shrubland on the other. Hard to imagine from the highway, but the Marble Canyon section of the Grand Canyon lurks in the distance. Almost without warning, the land falls away as the road shoots off a cliff and onto the Navajo Bridge.
There are actually two bridges, the original bridge and the new bridge. Fortunately, the old bridge remains open as a foot path where visitors can walk out and peer down some 470 feet to the Colorado River below.
By a quirk of their habits, California Condors are curious creatures and seem to like being around humans. As such, they like spending their winter on the cliffs below the bridge, giving birders the opportunity to see condors close-up. Watching them play, preen, investigate junk thrown over the edge, or soaring off into the distance, so what if you can't put it on your life list.
Link to map.
Out in remote northeastern Arizona, Highway 89A runs east-west between Page and Jacob Lake. Navajo Bridge is about 41 miles east of Jacob Lake, 85 road-miles west of Page (note that the shorter route, Highway 89, is closed due to landslides [April 2014]), and 123 miles north of Flagstaff, AZ.
Both sides of the bridge have free parking. The west end of the bridge, with the Navajo Bridge Interpretive Center, is preferred because it has information, water, restrooms, and safer highway access. Unfortunately, the Center is only open April through October, daily 9 am - 5 pm MST.
The east end of the bridge, located on Navajo Tribal Land, also provides free parking and lots of Native American craft vendors, whom I've found to be pleasant and not pushy.