Although known to Navajos and Paiutes living in the area, the bridge was not formally discovered by white men until 14 August 1909 when two exploring expeditions, one headed by Dr. Byron Cummings, and one headed by William B. Douglass, joined forces. They were guided by two Paiutes, Nasja Begay and Jim Mike. John Wetherill, well-known professional guide and Indian trader, was also listed as a guide (although he had never been there). Their route to the bridge was around the east end of Navajo Mountain. Charles L. Bernheimer sponsored three expeditions to the bridge in the early 1920s. Participating were well-known guides Zeke Johnson and John Wetherill, and archaeologist Earl Morris. The Bernheimer groups opened up a new route through the rugged sandstone canyons west of Navajo Mountain.