Ayres Natural Bridge
This all-natural creation is a true pre-historic Wonder of Wyoming. It is part of the ancient Casper Sandstone Formation, formed during the Pennsylvanian Age, more than 280 million years ago. This is Ayres Natural Bridge, a spectacular archway that rises 50-feet above the waters of LaPrele Creek, and 100-feet across, up in Converse County, 14 miles southwest of Douglas, Wyoming.
Ayres Natural Bridge was “built” over a long period of time, but it wasn’t until 1882, 8 years before Wyoming Statehood, that this natural Wonder took its name. Alva Ayres had settled the land at the bridge, so it took the name of the former freighter and bushwacker. Andrew Ayres, Alva’s son, would deed the land to Converse County 38 years later, in 1920.
The amazing bridge, literally a hole smack—dab in the middle of stunning red—sandstone rock, is very unique. And the entire spectacle is made even more spectacular by the water that flows below Ayres Natural Bridge. The bridge was formed by the waters that would erode the base of the rock face. Eventually the water broke through a hole at the bend in the river. That hole is the incredible Ayres Natural Bridge.
Ayres Natural Bridge has alot of history connected to it. Indians that inhabited the area thought it to be a dangerous, even deadly, place. A young brave had been struck by lightning and killed at the imposing arch, leading to the legend of an evil spirit, called “King of Beasts”, that lived below the bridge, and convincing the natives to never approach. Mountain men and trappers camped here, and settlers would use the bridge as refuge from Indian attacks.
The quaint Ayres Natural Bridge Park, all 22-acres of it, has grown around the real stand-alone attraction here at Ayres Natural Bridge. The colors that are created by the green patches of plant life, the red—sandstone rock, and the brilliant blues of water and sky, make for one of the more unusual “scenic” views in Wyoming. Along one face of the stone amphitheater near the bridge, one can find carvings of visitors to Ayres Natural Bridge that date back to the 1880’s.