Natural Stone Bridge and Caves
A while back, my friend Katherine and I decided to check out Natural Stone Bridge and Caves in Pottersville, NY.
This Adirondack attraction has been family owned and operated for several decades. However, its history dates as far back as the late 1700s. Thankfully, the owners of this property have managed to maintain much of its natural beauty and integrity. They've also planted some lush gardens, beautifying the property even further.
While definitely a bit tourist-trappy in some ways (the snack bar, for example), the geological wonder of this place makes up for it. Entrance costs $14.95, which in my opinion is a little pricey, but worth it.
Visitors take a ¾ mile loop around some pretty awesome natural features, including small waterfalls, large caves, and freshwater pools. The trail can be tricky in some areas, with steps, inclines, roots, and slippery rocks. Comfortable, rubber soled shoes/hiking boots are definitely a must!
The stone bridge arch is the largest cave entrance in the Eastern United States, made of marble and standing at 166 feet wide and 32 feet high. The tour allows you to walk both under and over the bridge, allowing an up close view.
One cave is called "Giant's Slide" and it actually does resemble a big ol' underground slide. It was tough to get a photo of, but the giant statue standing guard over it was quite photogenic.
Noisy Cave features stone steps leading to an underground stream with small waterfalls. This is an easy way to feel like you’re full on spelunking with minimal effort. It's a pretty awesome sight to see. This cool, damp cave is a delightful respite from the hot sun in summertime. I stayed for quite a while, watching the color-changing lights turn the rushing water into a kaleidoscope of colors. I think this might have been my favorite part of the tour.
Another interesting sight is the “oyster shell” that has been naturally carved into a steep cliff face. The reflection of the water below dances on the oyster, making it look as if it’s shimmering in the sunlight.
Upon closer inspection, the oyster looks as though it might be the ear of an elephant! Can you see the elephant’s eye and trunk? Pretty neat stuff.
The tour takes about an hour if you power through it, however, I suggest taking it easy and enjoying the sights and sounds around you. There are a few benches scattered around, offering up peaceful places to rest and recoup. Listen to the gentle babble of Trout Brook, the birds chirping overhead, and the rustle of the breeze through the trees.
Keep an eye out for cute and creepy critters. Throughout the tour I saw spiders, turtles, fish, and more.
I also suggest packing a lunch or picnic to bring with you. The snack bar offers hot dogs, hamburgers, and peanut butter sandwiches - Not much in the way of tasty vegan treats. (At least this way you will save some money, right?) There is a nice picnic area available, so pack up a cooler and dig in whenever you're ready.
So what are you waiting for? Dust off those hiking boots and head to Natural Stone Bridge and Caves. They open for the season on May 13th!