Cedar Creek Trail
A steep descent down 137 steps followed by an easy stroll under the Natural Bridge and past the Salt Peter Cave and the Lost River to Lace Waterfall. The park asks that you leave no trace; pack out everything you carry with you, collect your pet's waste, keep pets on a lease, be aware of bears and leave only footprints.
This trail begins with steps and lots of them. There are a total of 137 steps descending from the rim of the Cedar Creek canyon down to the creek. During the descent the trail passes Eastern Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis). Some of these trees are over 1,000 years old. At the bottom there is the Trail Store in case refreshments are required for the climb back up at the end of hike. Remember, there are just as many steps to climb at the end of the hike!
The path is paved, and the grade is easy. Cedar Creek is on the left as the trail approaches the massive arch of the Natural Bridge. The view is stunning. The arch is 215 feet high and 90 feet wide. Benches line the path so there is plenty of seating to admire the view. Beyond the bridge the path continues to follow Cedar Creek upstream. There are several places of note.
After crossing the low water bridge, the path changes to firm crushed gravel dust. It remains generally level with some muddy spots. The next site is the Salt Peter Cave on the left. The cave is a large hole in the canyon wall. The nitrates that were mined in the cave were used for munitions in the Civil War. To view the cave’s entrance, cross Cedar Creek via the bridge.
The path continues past the Lost River, a large spring that flows out to the mountain on the right. The trail ends at the thirty-foot-high Lace Falls.
Download Natural Bridge State Park Trail Guide to explore the park's 7 miles of hiking trails!
Natural Bridge State Park Activities
Snap a selfie with the Virginia is for Lovers LOVEworks.
Did you know the park is an official International Dark Sky Park? Visitors may stargaze on Skyline Trail with a self-guided experience on Tuesday nights April–October. Special dark sky events lead by rangers or knowledgeable volunteers run March–December.
Interested in stargazing and learning about the night sky? Plan a visit during one of Natural Bridge State Park Dark Sky Night Programs.
From the Lexington Visitor Center, drive east on Washington Street to a left at the stoplight onto East Nelson Street (US-60). Continue .2 mile to a right onto Lee Highway (US-11 S Bypass). Drive .9 mile to a left at the stoplight, continuing south on Lee Highway/US-11 for 11 miles. Once you pass Natural Bridge Zoo and Dino Kingdom II you will see the park's gateway sign on the right.
Continue south to intersection of US 11 and SR 130. Turn left onto SR 130 and then make an immediate right into the parking area for the Natural Bridge Visitor’s Center.
There is an admission fee of $9.00 for adults and $6.00 for children 3 to 12 years old.
- Guided tours of the deepest caverns on the east coast and gem minning are available at Caverns at Natural Bridge. Attractions such as Natural Bridge Zoo, Dinosaur Kingdom II and Virginia Safari Park are local favorites.
- Nearby is Great Valley Farm Brewery & Winery and Halcyon Days Cider Co. and their apple orchard labyrinth feature over 2,000 trees of 50 varieties, perfect for a stroll and sip of crips craft cider. Buy some fresh fruit and sip sangria at the tasting room at Virginia Gold Orchard.
- Pink Cadillac Diner on Route 11 serves up burgers and shakes in a nostalgic 50s style atmosphere, while Natty B's General Store offers sandwiches and made from scratch desserts, just minutes from the park on Route 130 as you head to Glasgow.
- Book a float or paddle trip on the Upper James River Water Trail with Wilderness Canoe Company.