Adirondacks Exploring Locally New York State Outdoor Travel Warren County

Natural Stone Bridge and Caves: A Walk Through Tour

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This week we continue with the Exploring Locally Series by visiting the Natural Stone Bridge and Caves. The Natural Stone Bridge and Caves is a natural wonder located in the Adirondack Region of New York. The trail is a 3/4 mile loop trail that takes you past the Trout Brook, Stone Bridge, entrances to several caves, and a whirlpool and pothole.

Visitors can explore the trail on a self-guided tour or those looking for more thrill can join in on the Adventure Tour and climb and crawl through the caves and underground river.

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Walking the Nature Stone Bridge and Caves Trail

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The provided map of the area with # markers.

The trail through the Natural Stone Bridge and Caves is about 3/4 of a mile long. The hike is fairly easy and do-able for hikers of all levels and children. The trail does contain over 500 rock and wooden stairs.

After exiting the gift shop, begin the trail at marker one and follow the trail to the right. Along the trail you will find markers, which will match up with a provided map and some information about each site.

The trail will first take you through a garden area, adventure park, and the disc golf course. I bypassed this section and continued on to markers #4 and 5, which overlook the Trout Brook and the Sawmill Waterfall Site.

#4: The Trout Brook: The Trout Brook is the remains of the once rushing river that crafted the Natural Stone Bridge and Caves. The river was formed by the melting of the Wisconsin Glacier. The brook is now a small, calm stream that is home to trout, turtles, and beavers.

#5 Sawmill Waterfalls Site: A water wheel once stood at the site and provided power for the early Dutch pioneers that was used to cut lumber and grind grain.

Trout Brook, natural stone bridge and caves.
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Trout Brook.
Trout Brook, natural stone bridge and caves.
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The brook.

After visiting the Trout Brook and Sawmill Waterfall Site continue on down the path to Meditation Isle at marker #6.

Natural stone bridge and caves, wooden walkway
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One of the many wooden walk ways through the area.
Meditation Isle, natural stone bridge and caves.
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The entrance to Meditation Isle.
Natural Stone Bridge
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Meditation Isle and the Stone Bridge.

Meditation Isle is a small island-like area that will bring you in front of the stone bridge and give you some great views. Next, continue back up the path (it is a round loop) and head to the right, which will take you over the Stone Bridge.

The Stone Bridge is the largest cave entrance in the East and leads to one of the two main cave systems within the park. Cross the bridge and pause as marker #7, Lookout Point. This will give you some great views of the brook, caves across the way, and the Stone Bridge from above.

The top of the natural stone bridge
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Walking across the top of the Stone Bridge.

After crossing the bridge you will come upon the Giant Slide at marker #8. The Giant Slide is a steep cave opening that when looking down will give you a view of the river flowing under the Stone Bridge.

the giant slide, natural stone bridge and caves.
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The Giant Slide.
the giant slide, natural stone bridge and caves
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Looking down into the Giant Slide.

After visiting the Giant Slide, follow the signs towards the descending stairway, which will take you down to the foot of the cave system under the natural bridge.

Natural Stone Bridge
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Looking down on the Stone Bridge.
Path leading down to the Stone Bridge
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The path leading down to the Stone Bridge.
The Natural Stone Bridge from the bottom
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The Stone Bridge.

This will take you to stop #9, The Natural Stone Bridge. The Natural Stone Bridge cave entrance is believed to be the largest in the Eastern US. The caves were mapped between 2003 and 2010. You will be able to take the stairs down and follow the stone out to the fenced area below the bridge.

Natural Stone Bridge
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The Stone Bridge from below.

Next, continue across the bridge where you will find several smaller cave entrances. Follow the stairs into the first cave, stop #10. This cave is known as Noisy Cave and is the start of the second main cave system in the area.

When you enter the cave you will quickly see why it is referred to as the Noisy Cave. The river flows through the cave and continues underground to the other areas of the park.

Noisy Cave, Stone Bridge and Caves.
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The entrance of Noisy Cave.
Underground River, Natural Stone Bridge and Caves
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The underground river.
Noisy Cave, Natural Stone Bridge and Caves.
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The Noisy Cave with lights to illuminate the river flowing underneath.
Noisy Cave, Natural Stone Bridge and Caves
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Entrance to Noisy Cave.
Natural Stone Bridge
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View of the Natural Stone Bridge from the Noisy Cave area.

Next continue back along the path and you will come upon stop #11, Peter Pan’s Peephole. Peter Pan’s Peephole can be found at the bottom of a staircase. It is a small area, but will give a peek at the river flowing underground through the Noisy Cave.

Return back up the stairs and you will come up a great photo op spot, #12. You can continue past stop #12 to #13, Serenity Point. This section was closed on my visit for construction.

Next, continue along the path to stop #14, the Upper Nature Trail. This will take you along the upper path overlooking the cave systems and natural stone bridge. It will also take you to the next section of the park where you will find the natural potholes and additional cave entrances.

Along the trail you will come upon Inspiration Point, stop #15. Inspiration Point will give you some views of the cave systems while standing on top of Hemlock roots.

Echo Caves, Natural Stone Bridge and Caves
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Echo Cave.

Next, continue on to stop #16, the Indian Maidens Kettle. Indian Maidens Kettle is one of the largest potholes in New York. It measures over 30 feet across. This area is also a great viewing spot for the entrance to Echo Cave, which connects to the Garnet Cave.

Indian Maidens Kettle, Natural Stone Bridge and Caves
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Indian Maidens Kettle area.
Oyster Shell, Natural Stone Bridge and Caves
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The Oyster Shell.

Stop #17 is next and is known as the Oyster Shell. The Oyster Shell is the exit point for the water that flows under the Natural Stone Bridge. Also in this area if you look close enough you can see the shape of George Washington’s face in the rocks.

Stop #18 is also found in this area and represents the high water mark. The high water mark represents the line when the caves can no longer contain the water levels and it spills over into the pot hole area. This tends to occur in the spring time when the ice/snow is melting.

Stop #19 is known as the pothole area. Here you will find some smaller potholes steaming with their own biosystem. You can also view the Whirlpool, the spot where the water drains from the Noisy Cave.

potholes, natural stone bridge and caves
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Small Pothole.
Natural Stone Bridge and Caves: potholes.
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Small Potholes.

The last stop is #20, the Lost Pool Cave. The water in this area is 30ft. deep. After this continue back up the stairway and towards the exit.

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How to Get There

The Natural Stone Bridge and Caves is found at the end of Stone Bridge Road off of route 9. To reach the Natural Stone Bridge and Caves coming from the North, follow the Northway I-87 until you reach exit 26. The exit will take you to Stone Bridge Road, which you will follow for about 2 miles before reaching Natural Stone Bridge and Caves.

If you are coming from the South, again take the Northway I-87 to Exit 26. From there get on Route 9, which you will follow for 1/2 a mile. When you reach the intersection, take Stone Bridge Road and continue for another 2.5 miles until you reach Natural Stone Bridge and Caves.

Tours

There are a couple different options for touring the park. For those just looking to see the natural sights along the trail, a self-guided tour is a great option. The tour will take about an hour to complete (and that is with plenty of stops for photos).

The Adventure Tour: The Adventure Tour is a four hour rigorous tour that includes walking, climbing, crawling, kneeling, and walking through water. The Adventure Tour is recommended for those who are more physically fit and able to complete all tasks. Minimum age for the tour is 13.

Snowshoeing: In the winter time snowshoeing of the additional 14.5 miles of trails is available.

Hours

May through September: 9am to 6pm (Last ticket sold at 4:30pm)

September through October: 10am to 5pm(Last ticket sold at 3:30pm)

Adventure tours are available four days a week (Wed., Fri., Sat. and Sun.) in July and August. Self Guided Tours are available daily from May to October.

Winter hours: 10am to 4pm (Fri., Sat. and Sun.)

Fees

Self-Guided Tour: $16 for adults, $8.50 for children (ages 5-12)

Adventure Tour: $100 per person

Snowshoeing: $13.50 for adults, $8 for children (5-12) with an additional $5 fee for snowshoe rental.

Tips for Visiting

  • Wear sneakers. While the trail is fairly easy, there is quite a bit of uneven terrain that can get slippery when wet.
  • There will likely be no service in the area, so be prepared for that.
  • Be sure to leave some time for the other family friendly activities available at the Natural Stone Bridge and Caves. These include digging for dinosaur bones, rock climbing walls, disc golf, gemstone making, and jewelry making.
  • On your way out, or way in, stop at the Stone Bridge Ice Cream shop at the corner of Stone Bridge Rd and Rt 9 for your selection of over 40 flavors of soft serve ice cream, coffee floats, and vanilla chai tea freezes.

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The Natural Stone Bridge and Caves trail will take you past the stone bridge, the largest cave entrance in the Eastern US, and natural potholes.
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Hello! My name is Melissa (or Missy). I'm a nurse by day, but my true passion is travel. I'm a part time traveler, travel blogger, and photographer. Travel blogging allows me to share my experiences and knowledge with you as well as allows me to share in your experiences and learn from you.

13 comments on “Natural Stone Bridge and Caves: A Walk Through Tour

  1. I’m always looking for new places to explore in New York! This is the perfect adventure considering how beautiful the weather has been, and the fact that we can’t do too much exploring at the moment. I had no idea that this even existed in my own state. I can’t wait to take my family there in August! Thank you so much!

  2. Wow, a Brook, bridge, cave entrances, a whirlpool, and a pothole. So many things I to see and do in one hike!!!

  3. We have visited natural stone bridges in many different spots. So I was interested to read about the one in the Adirondacks. A 3/4 mile loop sounds perfect in these hot days of hiking. Even with low water flow the brook looks like a great spot to spend a few minutes of quiet. Very cool that you get a look at the cave from the Giant Slide. I was amazed at how many interesting stops there were along the path. Definitely a good spot to explore. Especially with an ice cream stop when finished!

  4. This place looks so beautiful. Perfect to explore and get some good exercise while hiking amidst nature.

  5. Love this! Thanks for providing fees and everything you need to know!

  6. I have been to the Adirondacks but missed out on this natural stone bridge and caves. I would love to do that short loop. The brook and the waterfalls look simply beautiful. I will definitely explore this area when I visit NY state again. 🙂

  7. lastminutewanders

    This place looks so interesting! I love the look of the stone bridge and the caves 🙂

  8. This hike looks awesome! to be honest it is not my kind of thing. I prefer harder hikes, with less marked trails that are longer and force me to camp. But I see how this is an amazing hike to do with kids or older folk. It is an amazing way to bond and spend some time with loved ones.

  9. What a nice experience! I would love to see the underground river. It is good that they installed some lights so we can better appreciate it. Thank you for sharing these tips. This is helpful.

  10. So happy to see such a beautiful sight near New York to spend a day. The hike is short which would appeal to my wife. What I love is the green,the stream and the beautiful weather during your visit. Stone bridge location looked so similar to some of the sights we have seen in Himachal Pradesh of India, which is a hill state.

  11. This is something different and so close to nature. The first picture itself got me curious. The Meditation Isle itself sounds so therapeutic. The armchair travel with you to the Stonebridge location was fun. Trout Brook, Sawmill Waterfall Site, the Giant Slide, Noisy Cave to the Oyster Shell, all of it made for a good adventure.

  12. As this trail which passes through the Natural Stone Bridge and Caves is about 3/4 of a mile long and is easy for beginner hikers and children, I would go for it. Good to know that this trail does contain over 500 rock and wooden stairs and therefore it is doable activity. I loved the Meditation Isle and the Stone Bridge and this place really looks very peaceful. Also that Noisy cave is interesting with underground river gushing out. Good they illuminated with colorful lights.

  13. Kaitlin Terese

    I am always looking for new hikes and trails in New York. I’m looking forward to checking out this recommendation! There are so many sights to check out! I bet you views are beautiful in person. But entering the cave would be a great experience! How cool is that! Thank you for sharing this! I look forward to hiking it!

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