15 Appledore Lane Natural Bridge, VA 24578
Thomas Jefferson: The Natural Bridge: Anything beyond describable in the extreme
Natural Bridge is one of the oldest tourist destinations in the United States. The Natural Bridge of Virginia is located in the community of Natural Bridge, which is located in Rockbridge County.
Cedar Creek Trail
Take a leisurely stroll to the Bridge and beyond on our oldest and most well-known trail. Originally constructed in 1926, the trail begins at Cascade Falls near the Cedar Creek Cafe, passes under the Bridge, and follows the creek to Lace Fallsa luscious 50-foot cascadefor a total walking distance of about a mile on relatively flat land.The trails namesake, Cedar Creek, begins on Short Hills just a few miles northeast of the Bridge, and ends at the James River a few miles south. It is thought the creek entered a cavern millions of years ago and, over time, eroded much of the underlying limestone rock to sculpt the Bridge.
Saltpeter CaveThe creek and the surrounding land is now an important part of the ecosystem. Look and listen for birds such as Common Raven, Louisiana Waterthrush, and Green Heron. Watch the creekbed for Queen Snakes and Northern Water Snakes, and look to the forest floor for wildflowers such as Large-flowered Trillium, Jack-in-the- Pulpit, and Wild Columbine. Butterflies like the Red-spotted Purple, Eastern Comma, and several species of swallowtail, are common, and sometime quite tame here.
Be sure to visit the Monacan Indian Exhibit and other historical points of interest on your walk, including an old saltpeter mine used during the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 for collecting raw materials for gunpowder production, and the Lost River, a mysterious underground channel of water that now spills into Cedar Creek.
- Length: 1.0
- Difficulty: Easy
- Surface: Earth, Pavement
Our newest trail is the Monacan Trail, named after the Native Americans that occupied some of the western portions of Virginia. This moderately strenuous 4-mile loop is accessible from the back of the hotel near the water tower (follow the orange markers), and winds through the hills and ridges above Cedar Creek, passing creeks and wetlands and giving great views of the Short Hills to the west and the Blue Ridge Mountains to the east.
- Length: 4.0
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Surface: Earth
The Natural Bridge
The History of the Bridge
The Bridge has been included in several Seven Natural Wonders of the World lists, mostly in the 19th and early 20th centuries. It has been designated a National Historic Landmark, a Virginia Historic Landmark, and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
A very long time ago
Natural Bridge was formed when a cavern collapsed and left the span that stands today.
A long time ago
Monacan Indian legend has it that Natural Bridge appeared just as they needed to escape from an advancing enemy.
Legend holds that young George Washington surveyed the Natural Bridge site for Lord Fairfax. Landmarks remain of the work and on the wall of the bridge where he carved his initials.
Just before the American Revolution and writing of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson purchased 157 acres of land including the Natural Bridge from King George III of England for 20 shillings. It has remained privately owned.
Its development as a retreat began when Jefferson built a two room log cabin one room was reserved for guests.
In 1833, Jeffersons heirs sold the site and the new owner erected the Forest Inn to accommodate the increasing number of people.
During the 1880s Natural Bridge attained resort status under the ownership of Colonel Henry Parsons.
Early 1900s to now
Natural Bridge continues to welcome visitors from all over the world.
Designated a National Historic Landmark by the US Department of the Interior.
Admission prices for the Natural Bridge Park and Drama of Creation:
Bridge Tickets are $18 Adults, Kids ages 7-17 are $10 and Children 6 and under are Free. AAA/AARP/Military Discounts are 10% off regular admission. Gates open at 8am until 8pm, Drama of Creation production is shown at Dusk (Hours of operation may vary).
- Season/Hours: All Year/Gates open at 8am until 8pm, Drama of Creation production is shown at Dusk (Hours of operation may vary).
- Location:37.627720 -79.544260
The Caverns At Natural Bridge
The Natural Bridge Caverns were discovered just before the turn of the 20th century and opened to the public in 1977. Open seasonally March through November, visitors enjoying the Natural Bridge Caverns tour descend more than 34 stories deep within the Earth to get to the magnificent natural display. While underground, tourists can explore the Natural Bridge Caverns and view their many special features, including cavern structures such as the Colossal Dome room. This room is an enormous dome shaped natural feature that was created over thousands of years. Walking from the dome room, visitors can also see other places while on the 45 minute tour of the Natural Bridge Caverns; be sure to see things like Mirror Lake, the Well Room and the stalactites and stalagmites that grow from the Canyon Room.
- Season/Hours: Call Park/10am to 5pm
- Fee: $16 Adult, and $10 Kids ages 7-17. Children 6 and under are FREE
- Location:37.635714 -79.541715
Gateway to the Seventh Wonder of the New World, site of the original hotel, a first of its kind, the Rockbridge Center has always completed the resort experience at Natural Bridge.
Today it stands prominently on the property, fully functional and greets hundreds of thousands of guests and visitors each year that come to see the Natural Bridge. Inside there is a magnificent gift shop, a visitor center, ticket counter, and the Archway Grill. Down below on the way to the bridge you will find the always fun and educational childrens activities consisting of Jeffersons indoor playground and the Gem Mining experience. The Rockbridge Center is the hub of your activity agenda. All your activity tickets including the Caverns at Natural Bridge may be purchased inside the Rockbridge Center.
Upon your ascent from the Bridge come back up to the Rockbridge Center, get a bite to eat, and browseour Natural Bridge gift shop for unique souvenirs, local art, handmade crafts, and fine Virginia wines.
Natural Comfort, Spectacular Views
Natural Bridge Park Historic Hotel has accommodations to fit every occasion and every budget. We offer hotel rooms in the historic hotel and the veranda, as well as a village of single-room cottages. The cottages are perfect for group retreats and family reunions. We invite you to come see our pre-renovation hotel, appreciate the history and charm that we have to offer, and experience the hotel before the renovations begin in late 2014 and early 2015.
In the hotel there are 90 rooms to choose from. All rooms come standard with two full beds or your choice of King Bed. Comfortable bedding, working desk, small table, chairs, enclosed television armoire with DirecTV, a telephone, free wireless internet, coffee maker, iron and ironing board are all amenities you can expect. Room service is available.
Visit website for details.