For almost 40 years I’ve roamed up and down Alabama’s highways, back roads, side roads and trails. All this time I have managed to skip stopping at Natural Bridge, AL. The longest natural bridge east of the Mississippi River sits on a vast swath of land in the southwest corner of Winston County. This spot is a treasure every Alabama resident should see at least once.
Here are some stats about the natural wonder:
The arch is 60 feet high, 148 feet long sandstone rock bridge. (If you’ve been out west to Utah to see Arches Nationals Park, you’ll quickly pick up on the similarities between the structures)
Admission is $3 per person. (This may vary)
It’s open daily 8 a.m. to sunset
Tips for visiting with children:
The walk to the arch is short, flat pathway easy to navigate. However walking under the arch, climbing steps, rock formations etc is an options. So make them wear sneakers.
Don’t miss the Indian head formation. You’ll pass it on the way to the arch. There’s a small trail leading up to the formation, but if your children are small, you can see it from the main path.
Venturing past the Natural Bridge – there are two hiking trails. One is easy, gravel covered and flat with foot bridges. The other runs along the side of the mountain. You can find the trailhead near the Natural Bridge arch. Follow it along the side of the mountain to see caves, over hangings and more. It’s worth the adventure. You’ll miss them if you stay on the flat path.
There’s normally a large creek running through the park. Since Alabama is in a drought (as of the time of this post) the stream is gone. This leaves large boulders and rocks available for exploring. Watch for snakes.
The full hike is about 1.5 miles round trip.
Take water and snacks.
The only bathroom is at the main visitors center, go before you hike.
No museum but there’s a gift shop.
Don’t miss the artesian well near the back of the visitor’s center. It’s bubbling and you can taste the natural well water. Be warned it will taste of minerals.
Photography: The best spots for full arch photos are on the trail leading up to the viewing area. There are also a number of beautiful spots for photographing nature throughout the park. Let the kids help you spot unique salamander, moss, trees etc.
Don’t miss the tree growing upside down from the arch.
County Road 3500, Natural Bridge, AL 35565
Arches and natural bridges explained:
We are creationist and believe a literal flood covered the Earth. We also believe that when the water receded unique and awe inspiring land formations were created over a short amount of time. We do not ascribe to the millions of years theory. If you do not either, be prepared for a sign at the entrance stating such.