Finding the Underground River in Pottersville, NY: The Natural Stone Bridge and Caves

After our jam-packed day in Ticonderoga, NY, we knew we needed a less busy day for our 3rd day in the Lake George area.  We decided to spend some time in the lake and pool in the afternoon, but we wanted to get in a little bit of activity in the morning and decided to take a trip out to the Natural Stone Bridge and Caves in Pottersville, NY, which is only about a 30-minute drive from Lake George.

From the Lake George area, you’ll take the NY Thruway part of the way before exiting onto some very scenic two-lane roads.  This place is really out there–Mike has Verizon which is usually fairly reliable, but even he lost service on our way there (we had to drive a ways when we left before we could get enough of a signal to put our return directions into Google Maps!)  Eventually, though, we knew we had found the right place because they have funny signs as you approach to let you know you made it. We were a little confused at first because it almost looks like you’ve driven up to someone’s house. If not for the over-sized parking lot, you could easily assume you just came up a stranger’s driveway.  (As it turns out, it IS a family-run business on family-owned property, so there ya go!)

We parked and walked up to the main entrance, which is basically a giant gift shop. We didn’t have high hopes at first because the place did seem to trend heavily toward souvenirs and whatnot and everything had a slightly cheesy vibe to it (as gift shops sometimes do), so we didn’t really know what to expect from the bridge and caves themselves.  

And weren’t we surprised!  Before you start, they give you a numbered map to follow to various features along the trail.  When you start walking the trail, you’ll immediately see that there is a beautiful stream, Trout Brook, that flows through the whole area.  The trail winds up and down hills and over rocks, and you’ll definitely want to wear appropriate footwear if you go. Also, you do need to be pretty mobile if you want to wander through the entire trail.  Some of the steps up and down are pretty big, and with all the water about, it’s all a bit slippery.

The Trout Brook at the Natural Stone Bridge and Caves
The Trout Brook at the Natural Stone Bridge and Caves

The first big feature along the trail is the stone bridge itself, which they claim is also the largest cave entrance in the Eastern U.S.  You first see the bridge from ground level, looking up at it. Afterward, you actually walk up and over the bridge and really get a sense of just how high the thing is (several stories!)  There are also a few different places along the trail with high water marks that show how high the water level has been during various flooding events. It’s pretty impressive, and also somewhat terrifying, to imagine what it must look like there when it’s flooding.

The Natural Stone Bridge and Caves
The Natural Stone Bridge and Caves

After the stone bridge, you get to go into a few different caves and see all the water from the stream rushing through in various places (sometimes REALLY quickly and quite forcefully).  It was surprisingly warm inside the caves, but I’m not sure if that’s from the various lights they have inside (some of which change color, giving the caves a very different look) or if there is something else going on that makes them stay so warm (body heat from bats perhaps???) You’ll also read on the map they give you that you shouldn’t be surprised to see someone’s head pop up through the water, as they have people who do their adventure course and actually get in the water in various places. You certainly won’t ever find my head popping through the water, though!

Exiting Peter Pan's Peephole at Natural Stone Bridge and Caves
Exiting Peter Pan’s Peephole
Inside one of the caves under purple lighting at Natural Stone Bridge and Caves
Inside one of the caves, water rushing through under purple lighting

After the caves, there are a couple other interesting features such as these things they call potholes, which are indentations in the rock formed by small rocks and sand and whatnot swirling around against the rock over time and wearing the rock away until it forms a hole.  There was also one particular cut-out of rock above the water line that looked like an oyster shell. It’s at the farthest end of the trail, and you can really only see it if you walk down the steps and look directly across from it. With the way the sun was hitting the water, it made the oyster shell look so sparkly and shiny!

Potholes in the rocks at the Natural Stone Bridge and Caves
Potholes in the rocks at the Natural Stone Bridge and Caves
The Oyster Shell
The Oyster Shell

We were impressed with how well the trail was laid out so that you didn’t miss anything and so that you could see all the various features from the best viewpoint.  It’s not a very large attraction, but you weave through it in such a way that it feels like a substantial amount to see and do. In reality, the trail itself is less than a mile long, but you can easily spend over an hour walking through it and looking at everything.  And if you want to spend even more time and be extra adventurous, you can sign up for their adventure package and do some spelunking! They also have disc golf, hiking, and snowshoeing opportunities available as well.

Once we were satisfied we had seen everything, we decided to start working our way back to Lake George.  But first, we wanted to stop and check out a brewery (of course!), called Paradox Brewery. Their parking lot was packed, as was the tent area outside where they were serving beer. It seems like there is an indoor tasting room in the building near the tent, but it was closed off. It was a beautiful day, though, so I can’t say I blame them for serving folks outside! We shared a flight of four of their beers, though sadly, they were out of the two beers I was most interested in trying.  Pretty much everything they DID have were IPAs, which isn’t really my thing so it was not one of my favorite brewery visits in the area (or in general). If you’re into IPAs, though, you’ll be in luck!  

We did work our way back to Lake George afterward and got our lake and pool time in before going out for a fabulous dinner at the Tavern on the Lake at Blue Water Manor. This is our favorite place to eat in Lake George, and we saved it for our last night in town to top off our long weekend in Lake George.

Blue Water Manor in Bolton Landing
Blue Water Manor in Bolton Landing

For more ideas on what to do in Lake George, check out my sample itinerary and read about the Star Trek Original Series Set Tour and Fort Ticonderoga!

In my next post, we return to NYC where I’ll recount my recent trip to a hoarder’s paradise and share where the props from many famous movies and tv shows filmed in NYC came from!

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Ladycations says:

    I never even knew this place existed, but now I’m adding it to my travel list!

    Like

    1. It’s great. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we did!

      Liked by 1 person

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