After visiting Fort Fetterman on July 10, 2010, our next objective was to find Ayers Natural Bridge.
I had the GPS unit set for shortest distance instead of fastest time and, unfortunately, the shortest distance settings took us down a route that wasn’t!
After we had gone through a farmyard, the “road” degenerated into a rutted, muddy path that was getting progressively worse. I was on the verge of looking for a place to turn around when a farmer who set out after us on a four-wheel ATV caught up and told us that the track we were on wasn’t a road. Apparently, we weren’t the first to be directed through his land by their GPS device.
When we made it to Ayers Natural Bridge, we found it was the centerpiece of a very nice county park. We had a picnic and spent about an hour in the park.
Unlike most natural bridges formed by water, Ayers Natural Bridge still spans the stream that cut through it. In May 1920, the bridge and surrounding 150 acres of land was donated to Converse County by Andrew C. Ayres for use as a free park, which bears the same name as the formation.
The arch over the creek was occasionally visited by emigrants on the Emigrant Trails, but it wasn’t an easy undertaking.
Mathew C. Field – July 12, 1843: Rode off in advance of the camp with Sir Wm., to visit a remarkable mountain gorge – a natural bridge of solid rock,over a rapid torrent, the arch being regular as tho shaped by art – 30 feet from base to ceiling, and 50 to the top of the bridge – wild cliffs, 300 feet perpendicular beetled us, and the noisy current swept along among huge fragments of rock at our feet. We had a dangerous descent, and forced our way through an almost impervious thicket, being compelled to take the bed of the stream in gaining a position below. We called the water Bridge Creek! (Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office)
Ayres Natural Bridge