What It’s Like Going to the Natural Bridge in Virginia

I moved to Virginia the summer of 2020. I lived on my sister Sarah’s property located in Rustburg, Virginia a suburb of Lynchburg about twenty minutes from the city.

My sister was so excited to tell me all about where she lived and all the places I should visit while I was there. One of those being the Natural Bridge. I’m not going to lie I didn’t understand why she was so excited by it or what the attraction was? I think I just didn’t comprehend when she said “bridge” what the big deal was? It’s a bridge, yayy!!!!

It turns out she completely undersold this natural phenomenon that was here, and I didn’t understand the scope of how cool this thing really was until you see it in person. 

The Natural Bridge is located in Natural Bridge, VA in the Natural Bridge State Park. The Natural Bridge is a 215-foot-tall limestone gorge carved out by Cedar Creek. It is surrounded by 7 miles of hiking trails and Cedar Creek that runs under the bridge and finishes at Lace Falls that has a 30-foot cascade.

Thomas Jefferson bought the Natural Bridge and the 157 acres surrounding it from King George III for 20 shillings.

Exploring the Natural Bridge

In August of that same year, I flew my kids down to visit for the week. This was the opportunity I was waiting for. I was so excited to see them and take some time off too.

I was working for Woodwick Candles in Forest, Virginia and we were working seven days straight a week to keep up with demand.

We drove up through the Blue Ridge Mountains from Lynchburg. The drive alone was worth the price of admission. It was beautiful to see the green canopies of leaves and vines hanging over the switchback roads and then crossing over the James River.

It looked like God took his hand and dug the valleys out between the mountains. Seeing it in person reminded me of standing by the ocean for the first time.

What We Saw

When we first arrived, we pulled up to a large colonial style building that was the park station, museum, gift shop for the Natural Bridge and the Natural Bridge Caverns nearby.

It was very hot that day. I would recommend to anyone traveling to pack water or a water bottle and snacks. They have these things at the gift shop, but they are expensive. We got our park passes and began to descend down the steep stairs leading down to Cedar Creek.

As you walk down the stairs you walk parallel to a brook that cascades down the steep incline with you. When you arrive at the landing at the base of the stairs there is a Ranger Station where the Rangers collect your tickets for admission of entry.

This is the part of the hike where the kids and walked out from the Rangers Station and just said, “Wow”!!!! We spent a lot of our time just looking up at the bridge and mountain walls trying to take in the scope of what nature had carved out of limestone over hundreds and thousands of years with water from the Cedar Creek.

It was beautiful. We walked along the path and touched the mountain wall. It was cool to the touch and some areas wet where it seemed to weep from condensation or runoff from the mountains around it.

As we traveled further there was an amphitheater facing the opening on the other side of the bridge that had seating cascading down on a slant like theatre seating that ran alongside the creek.

The kids and I stopped to relax and just listen to the water and take some pictures. When we were done, we hiked deeper down the trail. Further along there is Indian campground that they use for re-enactments to teach people how they lived farming and tanning hides.

Past this point the trail forks and to the left is a bridge the crosses the creek and gives access to a cave that people can explore.

To the right the trail continues to the falls. Many people would break off from the trail and go and play in the water to the left of the trail. The water was shallow in many of these areas and the rocks in the creek were like small plateaus that you could stand on to venture into the middle of the creek.

The kids did not miss out on this opportunity. We finished the hike where the trail dead ended at the falls. There was a natural walled in patio area the park created as a viewing area that all the families gathered and used as photo op with the waterfall as the background.

People also ask:

Is the natural bridge worth visiting?

The Natural Bridge is absolutely worth visiting. There is so much to see and it’s a great way to leave the technology behind and connect with your family and connect with nature.

Is the Natural Bridge in the mountains?

Yes, the Natural Bridge is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.

How much does the Natural Bridge cost?

The cost of admission to the Natural Bridge at the Natural Bridge State Park is:

  • $6 ages 3-12 years old
  • $9 ages 13 & up

Can you walk across the Natural Bridge?

No, you can only walk under the Natural Bridge. Route 11 runs along the top of the Natural Bridge.

Can you swim at the Natural Bridge?

No, you can’t swim at the Natural Bridge, but fishing is allowed with a license.

Can you drive through the Natural Bridge?

No, you can’t drive through the Natural Bridge. There are no roadways.

Things to do at the Natural Bridge?

Besides the tours, the museum, re-enactments there is other surrounding activities near the Natural Bridge State Park. There is the Natural Bridge Caverns that is a 45-minute guided tour underground where you and your family can explore underground caverns.

There is also the Natural Bridge Safari Drive Thru. Here you and your family can drive your car through a natural safari where you can meet the animals in person and even feed them from your car.

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