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.
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.
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 Address:
E7992 County Road C
North Freedom, WI 53951
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