Another Route To The Top Of Natural Bridge – Friday, July 4, 2014

When we got back from our hike yesterday, the nice quiet campground we left had started to fill up.  I guess with July 4th falling on a Friday, many people took Thursday, July 3rd, off as well.  We decided to get out early this morning and enjoy the hiking before the rest of the weekend crowds arrive.
Yesterday, we hiked up The Original Trail #1,
went out to Lookout Point on Laurel Ridge #6 
then hiked down Balanced Rock #2.  
00 - Natural Bridge State Park Hiking Trails Map
Today’s hike would be up Rock Garden Trail #4 to Natural Bridge,
then down on Battleship Rock Trail #3.
Both descriptions below describe the UP hike only.
00a -Up Rock Garden Trail #4 and down Battleship Rock Trail #3
Access to most trails must begin at The Original Trail. 
We were so early today that even the Daylilies hadn’t opened yet ;o))
02 - Original Trailhead - where many hikes begin01 - Out early, before the Daylilies had chance to bloom
A short distance along The Original Trail, Battleship Rock Trail bears off to the right.03 - Original Trail left, Battleship Rock Trail right  05 - short downhill hike to Rock Garden Trailhead
Not far down Battleship Rock Trail, we turned right again onto Rock Garden Trail.
Not far long, we were scrambling around a downed tree!!
07 - Rock Garden Trail - a bit of scrambling08 - Rock Garden Trail - that doesn't go there
After the downed tree,
the trail just kept getting better and better all the way to the TOP !!!
I’ll just let you come along through the photos…
Click on any photo to enlarge or hover your mouse on any photo for a description.
It was a MAGICAL hike !!!
13 - Rock Garden Trail - Entering the Rhododendron Forest      14 - Rock Garden Trail - Deeper in it reminds us of the Mangroves in South Florida15 - Rock Garden Trail - All around us they were blooming
16 - Rock Garden Trail - Just a mile to Natural Bridge      17 - Rock Garden Trail - Trail Changes to Stone Steps
21 - Rock Garden Trail - more steps Up, Up, Up      22 - Rock Garden Trail - our reward BLUEBERRIES
23 - Rock Garden Trail - Cliffs and Rhododendron along the ridgeline      23b - Rock Garden Trail - Cliffs and Rhododendron along the ridgeline
29 - Rock Garden Trail - Bill waiting for the bus      30 - Rock Garden Trail - Bus never came so we scrambled on
31a - Rock Garden Trail - A few more cliffs      31b - Rock Garden Trail - A few more cliffs
33 - Rock Garden Trail - Continue along the ridge      34 - Rock Garden Trail - One final rock scramble
TA DA…  There She Is !!!
35 - Rock Garden Trail - Ta Da - There she is
The hike up was 1.75 miles, but it took us a little more than 2 1/2 hours!!
Just a lot of scrambling and exploring along the way;o))
Now you can’t hike up to the bridge without going up on the top.
Soooo…. just another trip through Fat Man’s Squeeze…
37 - Fat Man's Squeeze to get to the top of the bridge37a - Fat Man's Squeeze - Nancy head through
then we saw that MARVELOUS view!!!
(Those young men were on the edge and making us nervous!!)
 38 - View and Visitors from the top of the bridge 
There were a few more people up there this time.
  39 - Natural Bridge - Bill and Nancy with Lookout Point in the distance
One couple took our photo with Lookout Point in the background :o)
We didn’t spend too much time before heading back. 
We hadn’t packed a lunch and we weren’t sure how long the descent would take.
We had to do the Fat Man Squeeze again
since Battleship Rock Trailhead is under the bridge.
40 - Battleship Rock Trailhead - our descent trail
At the very beginning of the descent,
we passed this huge cave in the side of the cliff !!
41 - Battleship Rock Trail- large cliffside cave  41b - Battleship Rock Trail- large cliffside cave -zoom
The very beginning of the trail was steep and damaged;o((42 - Battleship Rock Trail- Top is steep and has damage
Once we got through the steep, damaged section…
The trail became a gentle slope through the blooming Rhododendron:o))
43 - Battleship Rock Trail- Then a nice easy down slope   44 - Battleship Rock Trail- Through the blooming Rhododendron
It amazes us how the trees grow right over the rocks!!
45a - Battleship Rock Trail- Tree with interesting roots
This tree looks like its rock just rolled away ;o))
45 - Battleship Rock Trail- Tree with interesting roots
After a pretty walk through the woods,
we had one more steep set of steps !!
46 - Battleship Rock Trail- one more steep decline
After the steps,
Battleship Rock Trail connects to The Original Trail which means…
we are back;o))
47 - Battleship Rock Trail- almost there - approaching the Original Trail

The hike down was nice, but we have one question.
Why is this called Battleship Rock Trail???
We looked and looked, but never found Battleship Rock !!!


  1. That is a wonderful picture of you both on top of the arch. What a memory that is! :c)

  2. Beautiful pics. Looks like a great hike!

  3. Love the picture of the two of you at the top!

  4. If the Daylilies weren't up yet, then we probably weren't either. :-)))

    So happy to see that Bill is back to feeling like himself again!