LET'S GET REAL ABOUT NATURAL BRIDGES

Once you've spent your hard-earned cash to view Eureka Springs' twelve-foot-span natural footbridge you'll be properly impressed with this natural bridge span of eighty feet. Imagine three school busses parked end-to-end across the span and that'll give you an idea of the size of this thing. This geological oddity also charges admission and has since about 1973 ("That road down the mountain didn't build itself!"). The attraction's owner tells me that this stone formation was actually used as a bridge by wagons back in the days of animal power.

There's more to this attraction than just the bridge. The hiking trail goes on to some other less spectacular formations and eventually peters out. There are some museum exhibits along the way--a cabin, a hillbilly corn-squeezin's still, some geological specimens brought from nearby sites. There's a gift shop and picnic area. The one thing I didn't much care for was that visitors aren't allowed to climb onto the bridge. The owner wants to protect his attraction, and his insurance company entertains the usual fears.

To visit this natural bridge, follow the signs off highway 65 between Botkinburg and Clinton.

Alum Cove Natural BridgeThen, when you've seen the rest, visit the best. The most impressive natural bridge in the state charges no admission and it isn't advertised at all. It's in the Ozark National Forest just a quarter mile hike down an easy path from the Alum Cove recreation area north of Deer. This formation spans over a hundred feet and is truly massive. Inside the highlighted circle are two vacationing Michiganders sitting on a rock.

The rest of the 1.1 mile hiking trail leads to a number of modest caves and rock overhangs.

RTJ--5/13/98


UPDATE

Seven Hollows Trail natural bridgeHere's another natural bridge recommended to me by a reader. It's on Seven Hollows Trail at Petit Jean State Park. It's not as long as the Clinton Bridge and it's not as massive as the Ouachita National Forest Bridge, but it is on the most scenic trail.

Also to be found on Seven Hollows Trail are numerous rock shelters and overhangs, many of which have petroglyphs on the walls.

RTJ--2/1/99


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