Located a short drive off I-81, this is a good sidetrip to take when passing thru on I-81. As seen in other reviews, the entrance fee can be alittle pricey, there's a small discount if you're military or a AAA member. The initial welcome center has bathrooms, a gift shop, a soda/ice cream stand, and there's a small play area in the basement with 2 slides for kids. While the welcome center doesn't have any wow-factor, the walk down the 100+ stairs to the river is quite nice. The paved path snakes along with the stream next to it under the cover of trees. Be advised though, the path by the stream is not handicap or stroller accessible, you can cutout this section of the walk and simply take three free shuttle that runs every 10-15 minutes from the welcome center to the walkway on the river. Once off the stream path/stairs, you're on the riverwalk. There's also a small restaurant with burgers/fries/cold drinks there at the river level.This is also where a site official will check your tickets, so be sure to have the ticket/receipt out once you're on the river walk.
As you walk towards the bridge it comes into view quickly. It's a majestic site and something you would never imagine in Virginia. Peaceful site with a great view of the natural bridge. There are benches available as well as numerous employees that can/will talk you thru what you're seeing. Absolutely worth a visit if you're passing thru. Did it on a roadtrip and only needed about 1 hour for it. It's a good rest-stop too.
For those in wheelchairs, using strollers for kids, and/or not good with stairs. It's best to just take the free shuttle from the welcome center down to the river walk, it's a very short ride and is free. Can also take it back to the welcome center after you're done sightseeing.
During the hotter months, it's a good idea to wear sunscreen, shades, and a little bugspray.
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