One of the many things I saw and visited on my journey to the USA, back in 2005, was the Natural Bridge in Rockbridge County, Virginia. It is a geological formation in which Cedar Creek (a small tributary of the James River) has carved out a gorge through the mountains, forming a natural arch 215 ft (66 m) high, with a span of 90 ft (27 m). The journey follows the Natural Bridge on the historic Cedar Creek Nature Trail.
click on the images for a bigger view
The Cedar Creek Trail
The trail’s 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. The trail is fairly flat, but does start to get a little uneven past the Monacan Village with slight hills (you will see the village at the end of this post). The Cedar Creek Trail is open daily from 9 in the morning until dark. The length of the trail is just under a mile.
The Saltpeter Cave
A path diverges from the main road and leads you to this small cave system, formed over the years by natural conditions. I slipped through the crevasses in order to get to the inner part which was mostly dark, and only lit in places by the natural sunlight.
The Monacan Indians are Siouan speaking people, who migrated to this region over 1500 years ago from the northwest. The Monacan village is reconstructed according to the archaeological records of the southwestern and Piedmont regions of Virginia. In the village you can catch a glimpse of what life would have been like in a small village 300 years ago in a living history environment.
The Lace Waterfalls
We walked to where the path ended at Lace Waterfalls where the Cedar Creek plunges 50 feet to the creek bed. The whole creeks springs 180 miles away in the Alleghany Mountains and flows under the Natural Bridge and another mile to the James River, where it finally merges with the waters of James River, Virginia.
It is not the usual toruist attraction, but I'm glad I saw this natural wonder, and I hope that you also enjoyed coming along with me.