Scenic USA - Wyoming

Ayers Natural Bridge

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Ayers Natural Bridge - Douglas, Wyoming

Photos by Chris Henn

   The Oregon Trail crosses Laprele Creek about a mile downstream of the Ayers Natural Bridge. Obscured by heavy brush and steep canyon walls, the bridge was rarely visited by Oregon Trail emigrants. Although American Natives were very aware of this natural site and believed an evil spirit lived below the bridge. During increased tensions and conflicts with Lakota warriors (known as Red Cloud's War), the bridge became an Couple on Bridge show scale - Ayers Natural Bridge Park, Wyoming important pioneer safe haven. Newspaperman Mathew Field and Doctor Steadman Tighman were the earliest to record their visits to Ayers Natural Bridge. Field went on to write of his visit to this remarkable river gorge and rock bridge, seemingly sculpted by an artist. Here among the wild cliffs, some 300 feet perpendicular to us, the noisy current swept by our feet. After our dangerous decent, we were forced to take to the stream bed to get a look at the other side.
   Early estimates of the bridge opening and span were fairly accurate, although none of the bridge names or river names remain. The Ayers Natural Bridge Park in Converse County is located a short distance south of Wyoming's I-25 (Exit 151). This natural bridge is one of a few natural rock bridges that actually span a river. Originally called Bridge Creek, the Laprele Creek eventually shifted its course and carved the 30 foot high, 50 foot wide opening. The 150 acre park is open in all but the winter months and features campgrounds, picnic sites, hiking trails and horseshoe pits.

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