At an elevation of 1116 ft., the impressive 215-foot tall Natural Bridge is a limestone gorge carved out by Cedar Creek. Once owned by Thomas Jefferson and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the bridge attracts a large number of visitors intrigued by both its rich, enchanting history and the beauty of its natural surroundings. The accessible Cedar Creek Trail leads from the bridge to the Monacan Indian Village and Lace Falls with a 30-foot cascade. The creek holds treasures such as northern water snake and American bullfrog. Dragonflies such as widow and slaty skimmers patrol the creek bed in sunny spots, while the dazzling metallic ebony jewelwings line shaded creek banks. Along the creek, look for great blue and green herons, belted kingfisher, and numerous swallows. The woodlands hold a variety of woodpeckers, including red-bellied, pileated, and downy woodpeckers, as well as eastern screech owl, white-breasted nuthatch, and nesting yellow-billed cuckoo. Blooming wildflowers attract eastern tiger swallowtail, red-spotted purple, common buckeye, and red admiral. A list of wildflowers along this trail, which includes trillium, Virginia bluebells, columbine, and flame azalea, is available at the visitor’s center.
Virginia’s Natural Bridge also offers two additional trails: the Monacan Trail and the Buck Hill Trail, which offer spectacular views of the Blue Ridge and Appalachian Mountains. The Monacan Trail is a 3.3 mile loop that takes hikers through a variety of habitats: forest transitional zones, forested stream ravines and open meadow. A man-made dam located along Monacan Trail has created an artificial wetland environment ripe with associated bird species.
The 2 mile Buck Hill Trail takes observers to the summit of Buck Hill. Not only is Buck Hill rich in birds and other wildlife, it also offers a unique opportunity to view surface karst features such as sinkholes and ravines. Vernal pools along Buck Hill Trail contain diverse populations of amphibians and reptiles.
Note: Cedar Creek Trail access beyond the bridge is limited during winter; call before arriving for details.
Physical Address: 6477 South Lee Highway, Natural Bridge, VA 24578
From I-81, take exit 175 or 180A to U.S. 11 and follow signs to the park.
Location & DirectionsView on Google Maps
- Site Contact: 540-291-1326, NaturalBridge@dcr.virginia.gov
- Access: Fee: $8 (13 and older) and $6 (ages 6-12), Open Daily 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Birds Recently Seen at Natural Bridge State Park (as reported to eBird)
- Eastern Phoebe
- Carolina Chickadee
- Tufted Titmouse
- Pileated Woodpecker
- American Crow
- Northern Cardinal
- Turkey Vulture
- Red-shouldered Hawk
- Carolina Wren
Seasonal Bird Observations
- Visitor/Nature Center
- Environmental Study Area
- Hiking Trails
- Interpretive Nature Program
- Interpretive Trail