Ayres Natural Bridge

Great American Rail-Trail

Nature & Environmental Management

1870 photo taken by pioneer photographer, William Henry Jackson, at the Ayres Natural Bridge during the Hayden Survey expedition.

Photo by: William Henry Jackson | photo courtesy of USGS

Just 2 miles south of the Oregon Trail, Ayres Natural Bridge is a 100-foot-long span of rock— a bridge constructed by Mother Nature, not man— and is one of only three natural bridges with water beneath it in the United States. Additionally, it is considered Wyoming’s first tourist attraction. As far back as 1843, travelers such as Matthew Field, a reporter for the New Orleans Picayune, and William Clayton, the official journalist for Brigham Young’s first group to venture west, detoured off the Oregon Trail to see the natural bridge for themselves and document the experience for readers. In 1910, local rancher Alvah Ayres bought the land where the bridge is located, and his son later gave it to the county. Today, the area around Ayres Natural Bridge is a public park with popular activities such as hiking, rafting, camping and fishing.


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