September 18, 2020
Wisconsin's longest natural arch, at Natural Bridge State Park in Sauk County

Natural Bridge State Park


Natural Bridge State Park reveals in its name what makes it particularly special: Wisconsin’s longest natural arch. The arch, a result of outcropping over thousands of years, consists of natural sandstone. It hovers 35 feet above ground, with the opening underneath measuring 25 feet wide by 15 feet high. The arch and captures light differently throughout the day, making it a favorite spot for hikers and photographers. It was also a favorite spot for Native Americans to camp, because right under the arch is the Raddatz Rockshelter (probably not its Native American name). Running 60 feet wide and 30 feet deep, it’s offered protection from weather… although not bugs and critters. The Raddatz Rockshelter is listed on the National Register of Historic Places; it’s a remarkable combination paired with the arch, as they seem stacked on top of each other.

Wisconsin's longest natural arch, at Natural Bridge State Park in Sauk County
Radditz Rockshelter on bottom, natural arch bridge on top. It’s quite a sight at Natural Bridge State Park.

The arch exists because, this being the Driftless Area, the glaciers that flattened much of the state thousands of years ago left this area intact. Natural Bridge State Park itself sits at the western edge of the Baraboo Range and the drive to and around the park is gorgeous any time of year.

Radditz Rockshelter at Natural Bridge State Park, Sauk County, Wisconsin
Makes sense that Paleo-Indians used this area for shelter. Seems like a natural place for it.
Turtlehead Rock (our term) at Natural Bridge State Park, Sauk County, Wisconsin
We have no idea if this formation has an official name, but we deemed at “Turtlehead Rock.” The “head” basically looks at the natural bridge arch and the rockshelter.
Along the trails in Natural Bridge State Park, Sauk County, Wisconsin
The trails are narrow but definitely close to nature at Natural Bridge State Park.

Along with the top draws, Natural Bridge State Park features several miles of trails that span either side of County Highway C, which bisects the park’s 590 acres. The arch and rockshelter are in the northern half of the park, while longer sections of trail are in the southern half. In autumn, some hunting is allowed in the southern half of the park. The park itself is unstaffed, but you still need to have your State Park sticker to park in the lot and access the grounds; there is a self-registration stand along with restroom facilties at the parking lot, accessible right along County C. The park is open year ’round from 6am to 11pm.

County C is accessible via U.S. 12 from the east, Highway 60 from the south, and Highway 23 from the west. It’s several miles – at least – from any of these state highways, but the backroads drives are beautiful and worth the trip.

Natural Bridge State Park sign along County C in Sauk County, WisconsinNatural Bridge State Park Address:

E7992 County Road C
North Freedom, WI 53951
(608) 356-8301
Website




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