Natural Bridge Travel Guide

  • Swans in 1959
    Swans in 1959
    by grandmaR
  • Edge of the bridge from below
    Edge of the bridge from below
    by grandmaR
  • Waterfalls and stream
    Waterfalls and stream
    by grandmaR

Natural Bridge Things to Do

  • Natural Bridge of Virginia

    The Natural Bridge is an unusual rock formation that was formed when the roof of a large underground cavern collapsed, leaving only the section that forms today's Natural Bridge. Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States, actually owned it for a number of years. He had purchased it from the British government for 20 shillings when...

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  • Monacan Indian Village

    Anna enjoyed the Monacan Village, which is part of the Natural Bridge tourist complex. It is a recreated Indian village that features Indian dwellings and demonstrations of local crafts, such as basket weaving and beading. The Monacans are one of the surviving Indian tribes in Virginia, and still live in the area.

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  • The Natural Bridge

    The Natural Bridge is an unusual rock formation that was formed when the roof of a large underground cavern collapsed, leaving only the section that forms today's Natural Bridge. Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States, actually owned it for a number of years. He had purchased it from the British government for 20 shillings when...

    more
  • The Natural Bridge wax museum

    Although it is a bit of a tourist rap, Anna still enjoyed the wax museum at Natural Bridge. It features figures from US history, (particularly Virginia hstory), as well as figures from the Bible. The best part of it, in our opinion, was the part of the tour where they show you how the statues are made, including a number of works in process.

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  • Pathway to Bridge and history

    I had to get to the bottom of Cedar Creek Gorge to see the Natural Bridge. While almost all visitors took a shuttle, I decided to walk pathway down to Bridge (137 steps) passing by small waterfalls and crossing forest with beautiful fall trees. It took me some 20 min. On the way I've seen a plaque (picture 2) put by Daughters of the American...

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  • The world oldest tree (1600 years old!)

    I was very surprised to find an information put by this dead tree in my picture: Before dying in 1980, this more than 1600 year old specimen of the Arbor Vitae tree was the largest known in the world. It's diameter measures 56 inches (142 cm). Depending on climatic conditions that determine it's growth rate, the arbor vitae increases in diameter...

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  • Scenic lake and setting

    When I finally went down to the bottom of the Cedar Creek Gorge I saw first the stone building of Summerhouse Cafe and beautiful little lake surrounded by trees in fall colours. As the water was crystal clear I could easily sea some fish. At this pretty point the Cedar Creek Trail begins. It led me to the next attractions:- Natural Bridge (150...

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  • Nature's wonder

    Natural Bridge is a geological formation in which Cedar Creek (a small tributary of the James River) has carved out a gorge of the limestone mountainous terrain, forming an arch 215 ft (66 m) high with a span of 90 ft (27 m). It looks impressive and is best seen from both sides and some distance. But as for nature's wonders nothing compare (maybe...

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  • US-11 goes over the Natural Bridge!

    I was very surprised when I learnt that the Lee Highway, U.S. Route 11 passed directly over my head, over the Natural Bridge. Well, when I looked carefully to the Natural Bridge I noticed road barriers. Surely, as you know me, I wanted to drive or walk there, stop for a moment and take a few pictures from the above. But, I am sure there is ban on...

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  • Where I learned to say HI!

    Cedar Creek Nature Trail is flat and very easy. 1500 yards long pathway goes along Cedar Creek on the bottom of a rocky gorge. Well, due to floods the trail is placed above the bottom. It ends at the Lace Waterfalls. It was a very relaxing walk with stops at attractions described in seperate tips as well as some additional small things on the way....

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  • Gunpowder was made of bat and bird...

    The Saltpetre Cave on Cedar Creek Nature Trail was just a hole or large rock crevice. It's not a very attractive place but the wooden bridge over the Cedar Creek leading to the cave and the setting around look quite pretty.The information given by the cave says that during the war of 1812 and the Civil War (1861-1865), earth from the Saltpetre Cave...

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  • Lost River mystery

    I probably wouldn't stop on Cedar Creek Nature Trail and wouldn't pay any attention to this hole in a rock with water on the ground in my picture if I hadn't seen the information table on Lost River which said that about 1812, workmen from the Saltpetre Cave heard the waters of the Lost River, and blasted the opening to it at this place. A water...

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  • Waterfalls

    The Cedar Creek Nature Trails ends with the Lace Waterfalls. Well, after reading a lot of advertisements on these waterfalls I was a bit dissapointed. They didn't look bad but they were small, hundreds times lower than those I was lucky to see in Yosemite National Park in California a year before. The information given by the waterfalls states that...

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  • 50 Years Ago

    under constructionThere are natural bridges in various places in the world, but they have been known to collapse. The large natural bridge in Aruba that collapsed recently is the most notable one. Under the circumstances, I think it is short sighted to run a highway across the top of this one.Natural Bridge OnlyIncludes admission to Natural Bridge,...

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  • Gunpowder

    under constructionBat guano was used before and during the Civil War to make salt peter which was used to make gunpowder.

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Natural Bridge Hotels

  • Natural Bridge Conference Ctr

    15 Apple Dore Lane

    Satisfaction: Poor

    Good for: Solo

    Hotel Class 3 out of 5 stars

  • The Blacksmith Inn

    185 Orchard Vale Way, Natural Bridge, Virginia, 24578, United States

    Satisfaction: Excellent

    Good for: Couples

  • Herring Hall Bed and Breakfast

    154 Herring Hall Road, Natural Bridge, Virginia, 24578, United States

    Satisfaction: Excellent

    Good for: Couples

Natural Bridge Restaurants

  • matcrazy1's Profile Photo

    by matcrazy1 Updated Apr 4, 2011

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    It's a fast food style restaurant located at the bottom of Cedar Creek Gorge, just by a shuttle stop. I liked this one-floor building made of stones. There is a wooden terrace overlooking the river but that relatively cold day it's closed. Waiting for a shuttle back to a parking lot we entered realtively small and dark interior with American size (picture 2) fireplace in use. Well, there was a bit too hot inside as for me.

    The resturant offers limited choice of soups, sanwiches, chili, nachos, wine and Budweiser beer on tap.

    Favorite Dish: At first we didn't want to order anything but I looked at the menu hang on a wall and ordered MR JEFFERSON for $6.25. Well, it was very large (as usual in the USA) roast beef sandwich with lettuce, tomatoes, mayo and "ranch dressing" served in a roll. Well, it was good, the ranch dressing tasted interesting but for sure it was nothing special except the name itself.

    Haha, there are countries where it's illegal and socially unaccepted to name say sandwiches after national heroes. OK, there are many Jeffersons in the USA, right? In Poland we have Sobieski (King of Poland and Lithuania 1674-1696) vodka and it was a lot of turmoil and fight about that name.

    Summerhouse Cafe is not very expensive as for its very touristy and quite beautiful location. At least it's a fast food restaurant. We paid for Jefferson, coffee and Budweiser (on tap) about $11.

    SUMMERHOUSE CAFE, NATURAL BRIDGE, VIRGINIA SUMMERHOUSE CAFE TERRACE ON LEFT, NATURAL BRIDGE SUMMERHOUSE CAFE, NATURAL BRIDGE, VIRGINIA SUMMERHOUSE CAFE, NATURAL BRIDGE, VIRGINIA SUMMERHOUSE CAFE, NATURAL BRIDGE, VIRGINIA
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Natural Bridge Transportation

  • 3 hours from Washington, DC

    There is no other way to get to Natural Bridge than by car, own or hired. Keep in mind that Natural Bridge is neither city, nor a town, it's a small dot although it's usually marked on large scale Virginia maps. No wonder, Natural Bridge is famous of and named after a nature wonder discovered by Indians long before European colonisation.Natural...

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  • Shuttle or scenic pathway

    Visitors enjoy the view over the Natural Bridge from the bottom of deep gorge. There are two ways to get there from a parking lot:1. Take a bus on my picture. It's called a shuttle in the USA. It's short and free of charge drive down. You may tip a driver like a few passengers did. The shuttle loading area is by the Summerhouse Cafe (picture 3),...

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  • Natural Bridge Hotels

    4 Hotels in Natural Bridge

Natural Bridge Shopping

  • matcrazy1's Profile Photo

    by matcrazy1 Updated Apr 4, 2011

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    It's one of the largest gift stores I have seen in the USA. It offers various gifts, souvenirs, toys, apparel and home decor. A large classical building of the store was decorated before incoming Halloween. Inside I was again a bit surprised when I saw Christmas decorations sold in the middle of October. Well, it's not that rare in the USA.

    What to buy: I paid attention to casual T-shirts with writings Natural Bridge Virginia and "I am a nature wonder" (for kids) and "Old as dirt". I liked some local food like jars of local homemade jams, especially pecan jam (we don't have pecans in Poland) as well as jam called "Virginia's Hospitality", haha what a name for jam! :-) There are also Virginia's peanuts packed in old-fashionable metal cans. Well, I would buy some "Virginia's hospitality" but I experienced enough hospitality in Virginia, for free.

    What to pay: I always look at prices of casual T-shirts to judge general price level in any US gift store:
    $5 - cheap
    $10 - reasonable or average
    $15 - expensive
    $20 and over - very expensive, over-priced.
    T-shirts for adults in Natural Bridge cost over $20! The local food which attracted me cost a lot as well.

    HALLOWEEN DECORATIONS, NATURAL BRIDGE GIFT SHOP NATURAL BRIDGE GIFT SHOP, VIRGINIA NATURAL BRIDGE GIFT SHOP, VIRGINIA NATURAL BRIDGE GIFT SHOP, VIRGINIA NATURAL BRIDGE GIFT SHOP, ENTRANCE
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Natural Bridge Local Customs

  • matcrazy1's Profile Photo

    by matcrazy1 Updated Sep 25, 2006

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    A costumed guy in Monacan Indian Village fenced with a wooden palisade told us about customs of the Monacan Tribe and their daily activities that was farming, hunting, fishing, making war, cooking, and gardening. The women gardened and gathered berries, nuts and other food. They grew beans, corn, squash and other crops. The women made household items - I could see at place - out of bone, wood, animal skins and other locally available resources. They used the thread they made from milkweed to make a strong cord which they used in making baskets. The men hunted, fished and made war. Deer and black bear were plentiful.

    The guide told us the legend which says that the Monacan Indians discovered the Natural Bridge while under attack by Algonquin tribes. When the Monacans reached the chasm of Cedar Creek without a visible way to cross over, they knelt down and prayed for the Great Spirit to protect them. When they arose from praying the 215 foot tall bridge had appeared. Women and children crossed to safety. With renewed strength and courage, the men followed but not until after they met and defeated the Algonquins.

    PALISADE OF MONACAN VILLAGE, NATURAL BRIDGE MONACAN VILLAGE, NATURAL BRIDGE DEER SKULL, MONACAN VILLAGE, NATURAL BRIDGE MONACAN VILLAGE, NATURAL BRIDGE PALISADE OF MONACAN VILLAGE, NATURAL BRIDGE
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Natural Bridge Warnings and Dangers

  • Slippery stairs, falling rocks and...

    I have one real warning: the stairs down to the gorge were slippery after short rain. Whatever good is your health insurance, watch your steps when wet and hold handrails. I was told about snakes as well. I didn't see any on my trail.On the trail to Natural Bridge there is a notice (picture 2) to all visitors: WATCH FOR FALLING OBJECTS FROM ABOVE!...

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  • Book your room in advance!

    My recommendation is to make a reservation in advance in the only accommodation in Natural Bridge that is at Natural Bridge Hotel. I was there out of high season, on dark, a bit rainy, business, October day, and there was no vacancy except in the most expensive hotel rooms. They cost about $120 while my price category was 40-80. But I think that...

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  • Don't believe in all advertisements

    I visited Natural Bridge because it was on my way and information I found in travel literature taken from Virginia Welcome Center. Well, it is worth a visit for sure. But the place is not that fantastic, btilliant, wonderful, the best in the world etc. as they advertise it. To avoid dissapointment just don't believe in everything what they write...

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Natural Bridge Tourist Traps

  • matcrazy1's Profile Photo

    by matcrazy1 Updated Sep 26, 2006

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    It was busy and my last day in Virginia before heading south to North Carolina. I read in a leaflet taken from Virginia Welcome Center that Natural Bridge was open till dusk. Technically it was true but other attractions of Natural Bridge - of which I wanted to visit at least the caverns and Toy Museum (first in my life) - closed at 5 pm just about the time I arrived. The information given at place (see picture 2) that Indian Village closed at 5 pm was luckily not correct, it was open till dusk.

    I didn't visit:
    1. The Wax Museum (includes the only Wax Factory Tour in the states)
    2. Toy Museum (the largest collection of childhood memorabilia on display in the world)
    3. Natural Bridge Caverns (45 min. guided tour through the deepest caves in the Eastern USA)
    4. Professor Cline's Haunted Monster Museum ("No Scare" tours for small children available)
    5. Professor Cline's Dinosaur Kingdom

    In Natural Bridge there is also Natural Bridge ZOO (the largest one in Virginia) and Virginia Safari Park as well as a full size scale replica of Stonehenge called Foamhenge. It's very American to put up so many family attractions in one area. Lucky kids born there :-)

    Unique Suggestions: Most of the additional attractions of Natural Bridge are designated for families with kids. The Natural Bridge Caverns don't seem to be as fantastic as Luray Caverns (the largest in the Eastern USA) I visited in the morning. So, I didn't loose a lot.
    Additionally each attraction costs. Check up-to-date rates here. Combination tickets to all atractions cost $35 in total (2006) while single ticket to Natural Bridge $12 (minus $2 for a coupon I found in my travel literature taken from Virginia Welcome Center). So, I saved a lot.

    Fun Alternatives: Check up-to-date hours (follow the links above) and follow them. Have a great time :-)

    WAX MUSEUM, NATURAL BRIDGE, VIRGINIA OPENING HOURS (OCT. 2004), NATURAL BRIDGE, VIRGINI WAX MUSEUM, NATURAL BRIDGE, VIRGINIA WAX MUSEUM, NATURAL BRIDGE, VIRGINIA NATURAL BRIDGE, VIRGINIA
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Natural Bridge Off The Beaten Path

  • matcrazy1's Profile Photo

    by matcrazy1 Written Sep 25, 2006

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I took these pictures of green hills somewhere along US-11 close to Natural Bridge. I've seen cows grazing on meadows and single both new and more picturesque old houses. I found this landscape typical for agricultural region of Virginia's Piedmont.

    I know the word Piedmont (Piemonte) from Italy, whose meaning is to the feet of the mountains because of its characteristic geographical position, a plain surrounded by the Alps.

    In the USA Piedmont is the plateau region of the eastern United States which lies between the Atlantic Coastal Plain, from which it is divided by the fall line, and the eastern mountain ranges, the Appalachian Mountains (Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia).

    PIEDMONT, VIRGINIA PIEDMONT, VIRGINIA PIEDMONT, VIRGINIA GRAZING COWS, PIEDMONT, VIRGINIA GRAZING COWS, PIEDMONT, VIRGINIA
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