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Wandering WY: Ayres Natural Bridge

This is a place I visit nearly every summer, but this visit was one of my favorites! It is always more fun to share my adventures with my friends especially when it's showing them someplace new!

Moving home for the summer I got together with my best friend to catch up. We hadn’t been on an adventure for a while so we planned an afternoon out at one of our favorite spots, Ayres Natural Bridge near Douglas, Wyoming.

We’ve both been coming here since we were small children. She came with her family and I came with various church camps. My favorite part back then was playing in the water! As an adult, we take the short hike up on top of the bridge where you can look up and down the canyon.

A true hidden gem, history has it that this natural bridge has been mostly inaccessible to humans until the road and other amenities were added within the last hundred years. Although, the Oregon Trail passed nearby and the Natives no doubt knew about it, the bridge was surrounded on both sides by steep cliffs and the canyon filled with trees, bushes, and downfall.

The trail up on top is still steep in areas but is a fairly easy ascent. Up on top, the trail is narrow and uneven at points but more like an easy walk than a hike. We didn’t see any wildlife this time but caution you to watch the trail. The bushes are thick, which is perfect for bears and the part of the trail is on rock warming in the sun which means you need to be careful of snakes!

The most common snakes you need to worry about here are the Prairie Rattlesnake and the Bull Snake. The Rattlesnake is poisonous and can definitely kill you if you don’t receive immediate medical attention after a bite. The Bull Snake is not poisonous but eats rattlesnakes, rodents, and other bothersome insects. While the Bull Snake certainly has a useful place in the food chain the bacteria in its mouth could still make you fatally ill if bitten!

Down below there is a picnic and campground area. From what we could tell, it’s campers/RVs only. However, if you just want to come for the day, there is a playground for the kids, a volleyball net, horseshoes, fishing, charcoal grills, and picnic tables.

This year has been such a cold and wet season that the wildflowers are out much later than usual. Even the cactus were blooming along the trail which is something I personally hadn’t been in time to see before!

Is there a hidden gem like this where you live? What about poisonous reptiles? How are your summer adventures going so far?

Thank you, fellow adventurers! You can follow The Montana Bear Paw page on Facebook, Instagram, and on Twitter @lilmissbearpaw for sneak peeks into upcoming posts and my adventures. This will also be a great place to share your own adventures!

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