A sacred site for Native Americans surveyed by George Washington and owned by both King George III and Thomas Jefferson.
Often cited as having a place among the great wonders of the natural world (particularly by early visitors to the U.S.), Virginia’s Natural Bridge is an enormous natural limestone arch. Carved by Cedar Creek over thousands of years, the arch was created when an ancient cavern collapsed leaving only the bridge. It is the largest natural land bridge on the North American continent. The 215-foot-long bridge was sacred to the Monocan tribe, and was revered by the American colonists. The site was surveyed in 1750 by a young George Washington, who allegedly carved his initials into the rock. Thomas Jefferson called Natural Bridge “the most sublime of nature’s works” when he purchased 157 acres of land, including the bridge, from King George III of England in 1774.
Largest Natural Land Bridge
William Cullen Bryant said that Natural Bridge, along with Niagara Falls, were the two most notable features of North America. The Natural Bridge is also alluded to in Herman Melville’s Moby Dick.
Perhaps the oddest parts of this natural wonder is “The Drama of Creation,” a Biblically-themed evening light show that has been projected onto the bridge every night since 1920. The show is the longest continuously running light show in the US.
The Natural Bridge Caverns, the deepest caves on the east coast are less than half a mile away from the Natural Bridge. Other attractions in the area include a wax museum and a living history Monocan Indian Village. Natural Bridge became a Virginia State Park on September 24, 2016.
Know Before You Go
About (1) hour North of Roanoke Virginia and less then (15) minutes from Lexington, Va.
Content originally created for Atlas Obscura.