With the Bankhead and Sipsey Wilderness as part of its landscape, North Alabama is known for its gorgeous natural features. Among the miles of lush, forested trails is a wonder so spectacular that you can’t find any others like it on this side of the Rockies. At 148-feet long and 70-feet above the ground, Alabama’s Natural Bridge is a sight to behold and a must-see for nature lovers everywhere. Here’s everything you need to know about planning a trip to see it for yourself.
Plan Your Trip
Located just one hour northwest of Birmingham in Winston County, Natural Bridge Park is the perfect spot for a day trip adventure. Open daily from 8 a.m. to dusk, visitors can enter the park for $3.50 per adult and $2.50 per child. To get to the bridge, you’ll take a short one-mile trail through the forest past rock formations and dense Alabama vegetation. In addition to nature trails, the park also features gardens, picnic tables, concessions, and a gift shop.
Once you make it to the bridge, you’ll be looking at 200 million years of history. Tip your head back to experience the majesty of a 148-foot-long sandstone and iron ore bridge elevated 60 feet above the ground. The bridge was formed by water erosion of weaker sandstone away from stronger stone that makes up the bridge that still stands today. The resulting overpass spans a small cave area that once served as home for Native Americans seeking shelter. Though visitors are no longer able to walk across the bridge due to the fact that there are no guard rails and it may not be able to withstand the weight of thousands of visitors per month, you can still observe all its wonder from below.
More to See
Once you’ve taken in the beauty of the natural bridge up close, head a little further down the trail to see the famed Indian Stone Head, a mysterious carving of a Native American head similar to the one on the Buffalo nickel. Some believe the carving depicts a chief from the area, but the real origins of the carving are unknown.
Fuel up for a big day of outdoor adventure with a hearty country breakfast at Mava’s Café, located 6 miles down the road from the bridge. Open Monday through Saturday from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m., a breakfast plate with eggs, bacon or sausage, hashbrowns, and a biscuit will only set you back $5. If you decide to stop by around lunchtime, you’ll have full access to a hot bar full of ever-changing Southern specialties like country fried steak, pit-smoked ham, green beans, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, turnip greens, and cornbread.