Not far past the shores of Bridge Bay, I hiked up part of an old stagecoach road to see Yellowstone’s Natural Bridge. The trail is closed for most of the spring as grizzly bears like to congregate here to feast on the spawning cutthroat trout. Blue skies and a rainbow of wildflowers accompanied me on my hike, as well as my co-worker Sharon.
The bridge stands 40 feet above Bridge Creek, with a span of 30 feet across. The explorer F.V. Hayden discovered the bridge in 1871: “At one point…we found a most singular natural bridge…which give passage to a small stream.” According to Whittlesey’s Yellowstone Place Names, “the name Natural Bridge eventually slipped into capitalized form from Hayden’s use.”
Exfoliation–a term I am intimately familiar with from my time in Yosemite's rock fall prone terrain—helped form the natural bridge with rock left from a 140,000 year-old lava flow. An intrepid, lone spruce tree grows on the top of the bridge. In Yosemite, I've hiked to Indian Rock, near North Peak, one of Yosemite's rare natural arches.
After our hike, we had supper in the beautiful, rustic dining room at the Lake Lodge and took a stroll around the shore of Lake Yellowstone, encountering Canada geese and a few lone bison.