Natural Bridge & Cedar Creek Trail

  • Highlights: Natural bridge, waterfall
  • Distance: 2 miles out and back
  • Elevation change: 387 feet
  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Trailhead Parking: Visitor Center, 6477 South Lee Highway, Natural Bridge, VA
  • Website: Natural Bridge State Park 
  • Beer Pairings: Great Valley Farm Brewery—IPA & Coffee Stout

The Hike:

This easy hike is more of a stroll through the woods than our typical hikes. It has great views of the famous Natural Bridge and at the end of the trail is a small waterfall. The trail is well marked and is easy to follow. Park admission is required. Pick up a trail map and guide at the Visitor Center. The trailhead is to the left and behind the Visitor Center. On busy weekends during the summer, just follow the crowds.

Descend down a series of stairs with a small cascading stream on the left. Turn right and just past the Cedar Creek Pavilion is Cedar Creek. The creek carved out the 215’ high natural bridge creating a limestone gorge. The trail passes under the natural bridge and runs along side the creek. Look for George Washington’s initials he is said to have carved into the rock wall. Thomas Jefferson later owned the bridge and surrounding area.

US Route 11 runs over the top of the bridge. Continue on the trail past the bridge to the Monacan Indian Village, Saltpeter Cave, and Lost River. The map describes each site in more detail. Seasonal Interpretive programs depict the history of this area. Continue on the path to Lace Falls, a 30’ cascade. Return on the same trail and up the stairs to your vehicle. As you climb the stairs, the small creek to your right has some nice cascades when the water is high. We thought they were more interesting than Lace Falls.

Hike Photos:

Click on an image below for an enlarged view.

Beer Pairing:

About 5 miles from the trailhead in nearby Natural Bridge, is Great Valley Farm Brewery. This small batch craft-brewery is also a small winery. They have food trucks on weekends and great views of the Shenandoah Valley and surrounding mountains.

Kathy really liked their IPA which is brewed with Citra and Simcoe hops combined with Norwegian Kveik yeast. At 35 IBUs, it isn’t over the top in hoppiness but it was refreshing on a hot summer afternoon. Pete really wanted to try the pilsner but sadly they had just kicked the keg so he opted for the other end of the beer spectrum and had the Coffee Stout. It is brewed with Lexington Coffee Roasters beans and cacao nibs. This stout has some nice chocolate and coffee notes and was easy to drink sitting in an Adirondack chair enjoying the views.

Hike and drink responsibly. Never drink and drive. Stay safe and be responsible.