It was a gorgeous day in the Adirondacks when my boyfriend, David, and I took a trip to the Natural Stone Bridge and Caves in Pottersville. It was 72 and partly sunny, perfect for a little hike in the park, and I was itching to experience a new area of the Adirondacks I hadn’t seen yet in my two months of living here.
Although the Natural Stone Bridge and Caves is a well-known Adirondack attraction, even David (who is a local!) had never been there. When he told me about it, I knew it was someplace we could enjoy together, since I still can’t do hard hikes because of my knee surgery, so we packed up and set out for our little adventure.
Our drive took us south on 87 from Keene, so we passed through Schroon Lake and the mountains as they begin to change colors. It was a beautiful site to see.
When we arrived at the park, it was full of families out to have a great day in the mountains. One of the first things I noticed were these caveman statues around the park, each holding a stone in one hand. Of course, I couldn’t resist taking a picture with one!
After we parked, we signed in at the front desk located in the gift shop, and got our orange bracelets to show we were allowed to be in the park. Jill and Heather, the two ladies who were working, gave us a map of the park and showed us the way to start, out the door of the shop and onto the hiking trail. But before we could leave, we were drawn to the smooth rocks on display, which were for sale as souvenirs after a walk in the woods. I definitely was brought back in time, to when we used to travel to the Adirondacks as a family when I was little. My brother, sister, and I always left our vacations with souvenirs like those rocks, because it was so different from what we would find at home. We always argued that, although we might have dozens of smooth, shiny rocks from past vacations, we needed one more to complete our collections! I reluctantly walked away from the display, but it was time to get outside and begin our tour.
As you enjoy the tour of the park, there are a ton of activities for kids to participate in. Gemstone and Gold Rush mining would have been activities I would have wanted to do when I was younger (ok, I admit it - I would have liked to have done them now!). Each person gets to sift through a pile of rocks, with a screen and water, looking for that valuable gem, or dig in a dark mine for gold! And, if dinosaurs are of interest, there is also a dino dig! I would have just stayed there, but I knew there was a lot to explore. Before we got too far along, I enjoyed a Stone Bridge introduction to Disc Golf, and would have loved to play the full course if time would have permitted. I also would have loved the caveman/cave kid challenge bouldering walls, if my knee was up to it!
We were told to plan on about an hour for the ¾ mile tour of the park, and I was excited to get going. Throughout the trail, there are small green numbered markers, describing where you were and also what you were seeing. My favorite was marker #6, known as Meditation Isle. The description explained the history of the Natural Stone Bridge, and the formation of Fiddlestring Falls and the Flowstone. Even though there were quite a few people, the site was peaceful and relaxing.
To get from one side to the other of the tour, the path led you through the stone bridge arch. It was a tight, dark fit. The caves are formed from marble, not the limestone you would typically see in cave formations, and they are very different from what I expected. I did wish I had taken a walking stick, however, since the ground was a little wet in some areas, and a little slippery!
My favorite part of the tour was peeking in the potholes in the rocks – because many of them had little creatures in them! We saw a little snapping turtle just sunning himself on top of the water. The Weeping Wall was an interesting sight, just dripping water constantly, with no real water source that I could see. The rocks there were all covered in moss. We walked down into surface caves and also found some quiet, dark pools that were so cold I got goose bumps! It was nice to take our time, looking at the different marble and rock formations and enjoying the quiet of the tour route.
When we finally reached the end of the tour, we landed in the gift shop, which conveniently sold homemade fudge (my favorite!). It was exactly what we needed to finish off our adventure at the Natural Stone Bridge and Caves. Next time we go, we’ll be sure to visit the Adirondack Memories Museum, and remember to grab a lunch to enjoy by the picnic area.
Things to know: The Natural Stone Bridge and Caves is not only a fair-weather activity. Last season one of our bloggers hit the trails for a snowshoeing adventure through the well-groomed trails - it was a great time! Also, before you go, remember it is a rugged trail, so strollers are not permitted. Neither are dogs, but the Park staff does offer two kennels for dogs if you need a place for them to stay while you explore. The Park hours vary with the seasons, so check out the website.
Check out these lesser-known, waiting-to-be-discovered, ADK activities: