Driving through western Virginia? Looking for something to break up the monotony of a long drive? Stop at the Natural Bridge in (surprise) Natural Bridge, VA. About 20 mins south of Lexington along Highway 11/Lee Highway or if you’re on I-81, it’s a short detour off to Highway 11. This is a really unique sight to see.
The bridge is what’s left of the roof of a cave in which the Cedar Creek once flowed through. Besides the sheer beauty of it, it has so much history. (I guess that’s why it’s a Historical Landmark, huh? Sometimes the things I say…smh). The Native American Monacan tribe once considered this a sacred site, Thomas Jefferson once owned it along with the surrounding lands, and even George Washington came here to survey the site when he was young and just starting out.
Speaking of which, George carved his initials in the rock. If you stand underneath the bridge, you can see where they marked the spot with a white box around his initials. To be honest, I couldn’t see his actual initials because the marking was high up and the time of day cast shadows under the bridge, but I saw the white box and I trust the Historical Society so I just went with it. 😉
There are plenty of benches on either side of the bridge to sit and ponder. I highly recommend this activity. You’ll get so much more out of the experience when you do. Plus it was HOT that day so it felt good to sit in the shade.
You have to buy tickets to view the bridge from the gorge level. Did I mention the bridge was in a gorge? Oh the bridge is in a gorge btw. Tickets can be bought inside the Visitor Center just off the parking lot.
Believe or not, Highway 11 actually runs right across the top of the bridge. If you look closely in the next picture, you can see a bit of fence on top of the bridge. If you’re crossing over the bridge up there, don’t bother stopping to see anything. They have it fenced off and you can’t see much so best to see it from below.
Things to remember for next time…
1. The bridge is located in a gorge (aha! I did mention it somewhere). You can take either a bus down the hill or, if you don’t mind a short walk, there are stairs. The bus is super convenient but it was a beautiful day plus Stella was with us, so we took the stairs. Here’s my sister Jean with my babygirl…
2. Check out the Natural Bridge Caverns just up the road. I heard they are incredible. Unfortunately we only had time for the bridge. This was our move to Charlotte and we were operating on a strict driving schedule. Next time!
3. The tickets are reasonable. It was $8 for each of us and we got access to the bridge, 6 miles of hiking trails, and exhibits in the Visitor Center. The Center also has a gift shop, clean restrooms, and a little deli offering sandwiches.