In 1922, the Colorado Bridge and Construction Company began constructing a multi-span, reinforced concrete arch bridge across the South Platte River in eastern Colorado. The bridge was completed in 1923 and named The Rainbow Arch Bridge. Located adjacent to State Highway 52 and a much newer set of highway bridges, the Rainbow Arch Bridge was closed for a time in 2015 to complete repair work and a freshening due to damage and flooding in 2013 and 2015. It is now open again, and like before, it is only used for pedestrian access to nearby Riverside Park. To visit the bridge, take state highway 52 north from I-76 (Exit 80).
On a mid-summer evening, we headed toward the bridge to capture the sunset along the South Platte. The view through one of the bridge arches also features a view of the Highway 52 bridge it parallels.From an article on the Fort Morgan Chamber of Commerce website that is no longer available, these details were found on a web history search. “Built in 1922 – 1923, this landmark was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984. Additionally, in 1992 it was designated a Colorado Civil Engineering Landmark. This bridge has survived major floods and in 1935 braced a 10 foot wall of water virtually undamaged. Today it is used for foot traffic and offers a beautiful view of the South Platte River.”
Though it was too late on this July evening to go hiking, there is a packed gravel trail that follows along and provides views of the river. It then loops back to the park through trees. Later in the day, you might find insect repellent a valuable hiking accessory. A couple of reviews of the Riverside Park Outer Loop Trail indicate that it’s a relatively short 2.5 miles and is an extension of the community park that is adjacent to the bridge. The trail is an easy walk with no elevation changes to tire one out. If you’re into Frisbee Golf, you will find a nice course in the park along with other typical community park facilities.