If you didn’t know it was supposed to be there, you’d never guess there was an amazing natural site to visit in the midst of the rolling Wisconsin farmlands. I’m a fan of natural arches and I’d read that there was a giant stone arch in Wisconsin, about an hour or so from Madison. As I drove into the parking lot, I had some doubts, as it didn’t seem that easy to hide an arch of any size, let alone one that was extolled as being quite large.
Natural Bridge State Park is composed of the aforementioned arch, with a cave dwelling underneath that has been utilized for 11,000-12,000 years. While it is possible to walk to the bridge and back from the parking lot, it is worth exploring some of the loop trails that make up the other options. Originally owned by a family that farmed the land, the state park was created in 1973.
I walked to the arch and it was all-worth the trip; much larger than one would expect, this is a quiet area that is very soothing to walk thru. When I visited this past weekend, the leaves were just changing colors and plenty of fallen ones lay underfoot. I took the main path to the arch and one of the loops that led back to the parking lot. Quite near the road sat a vacated hut, unused but still in decent shape. Not sure what the regulations are (it does say to stay on the trails), but there are a few larger bluffs that appear to be good for bouldering. Maybe on a subsequent, less rainy visit, I will look more into that possibility.
It appears to be a popular place to visit, though not like earlier days, when it was said that people came to the bridge every day. Restrooms and a picnic area are also available, though this is a day use only site, and no camping is allowed.