Postcard From Natural Stone Bridge of Arkansas

If you are heading to Branson coming from Little Rock, you will travel west on I-40 and turn north in Conway on State Highway 65.  In the foothills of the Ozarks about 40 miles north of Conway is one of those interesting, quirky little tourist attractions that in these days of cookie cutter McDonalds and Wal-Marts and Starbucks at seemingly every highway exit, offers something a little different, a little slower paced, and a whole lot more interesting.

As you come on the town of Clinton (population 2,283), about 3.5 miles from where SH 65 splits from Hwy 9, watch for a  road labeled "Natural Bridge." The 1 mile drive down this side road itself is a bit of an adventure - perfectly drivable by any vehicle, but do take it a bit slow. At its end is a paved widened parking area and a little wooden shack selling curio's and keepsakes. After paying the reasonable $3.00 access fee,  walk out the back door and begin a short hike to the site of the Natural Bridge.

On the way, you will pass a reproduction of an Arkansas still site (no moonshine samples available), see lots of little caves formed by fallen boulders, see a number of different species of trees and plants, and finally, you will come to the bridge.  It is not an arch bridge like those found in Utah's Arches National Park, but a compression bridge of a huge flat slab of stone stretched across a waterway tumbling down the hillside.

The main slab is about 120 feet long and over twelve feet off the ground. Located in a very quiet, heavily forested area, it is a great place to visit, listen to the birds, relax in the quietness, and just get off the road for a short break.