Stone Bridge and Caves: A Natural Attraction
With Snowshoeing Trails, Local Favorite is Now a Year-Round Attraction
Property surrounding Natural Stone Bridge and Caves has been in Greg Beckler’s family since Revolutionary War times.
A few years ago, he and his wife, Dee, were sitting around the dinner table discussing ways to increase business at the Pottersville site, which first opened as a tourist attraction in 1954.
“Why don’t we fix up existing logging trails a little and let people go snowshoeing?” Dee said.
The couple decided to give it a try and now their trail system encompasses 14.5 miles of pristine Adirondack landscape that includes sweeping panoramic vistas, from the Lake George region north to the High Peaks.
“I’d recommend it to anybody,” said Carolyn Jasket, a recent visitor from Long Island. “The trail up Green Hill is a stiff climb, but worth every bit of it. The scenery is beautiful with very rewarding views.”
This challenging route is a workout for the most seasoned Adirondack hikers. But the layout also includes many gradual paths, suitable for beginners as well.
All trails are clearly marked with laminated maps posted at each juncture. One short trail, called Far Side, even has a funny side to it with colorful cartoons of the Far Side comic strip located on trees along the way.
At Catamount Vista, a short easy walk, the Becklers give visitors a chance to kick back, relax and enjoy the scenery on a two-seater, swinging chair – the kind you might find on a Saratoga porch in summer. It’s a great way to catch your breath and admire the view.
From atop Green Hill, facing south, the Northway snakes its way through the landscape like a giant gray ribbon; to the east the slopes of Gore Mountain are visible.
Doing an about face, looking north, the High Peaks Wilderness comes into view.
A snowshoe rental shop is available. A guided tour is optional with the Becklers’ adult son, Brian, leading the way.
The site is open Friday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Groups of up to 15 may reserve outings Monday to Thursday with advanced notice.
Plans called for keeping the site open for snowshoeing through March. But with this year’s heavy snowpack and continued cold weather, the Becklers might keep going well into April.
“We’ll go as long as we can,” Dee said. “If there’s snow we’ll be here. It’s really weather dependent.”
A short quick loop brings visitors up close to the Stone Bridge cave, the largest marble cave entrance in the East. But most trails that visitors are used to in summer are off limits in winter because of safety concerns with ice on Trout Brook that rushes through the property.
Instead, the snowshoe network is laid out on the Becklers’ vast parcel of woodland.
“It’s been going really well,” Dee Beckler said. “We’ve had people from New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Canada. Most of it is from word-of-mouth advertising. We’ve also been on a lot of Facebook posts and people’s blogs.”
Natural Stone Bridge and Caves’ summer season begins the weekend before Memorial Day. The site has fascinated people for centuries, altered by the force of water throughout its history.
In 1956, a single solid marble section weighing an estimated 9,000 tons fell from the Natural Stone Bridge ceiling. Now the bridge is stronger than ever without the stress of a huge underlying mass.
Much of Trout Brook’s water flows beneath the arch through a system of underground caves and canals to reappear at various locations several hundred feet downstream.
A guided adventure tour in summer takes people right through the water.
It’s a place worth visiting at any time of year, and while winter conditions permit, a great way to get away from it all with a snowshoe hike in the Adirondacks.
For more information, visit stonebridgeandcaves.com