The Upper Natural Bridge of Calaveras County

Angels Camp, California

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7 Reviews
5 out of 5
One of the wonders of the Gold Country, this remarkable cave on Coyote Creek cuts clear through a limestone ridge, permitting people to swim or wade through the heart of the hillside. Even if you don’t want to get wet, the sight alone is worth the walk. The extensive karst region of Calaveras County, in the Sierra foothills, is famed for its commercially operated caves, of which Moaning Caverns is the closest to our hike. Although highly celebrated among nineteenth-century tourists, the Natural Bridges today are visited mostly by locals, who enjoy floating through them on inflated inner tubes or air mattresses. Freely accessible to the public, the Natural Bridges are managed by rangers from New Melones Reservoir, though local people also keep an eye out for vandals.
Hiking The Sierra Nevada

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Hiking The Sierra Nevada

by Barry Parr (Falcon Guides)

One of the wonders of the Gold Country, this remarkable cave on Coyote Creek cuts clear through a limestone ridge, permitting people to swim or wade through the heart of the hillside. Even if you don’t want to get wet, the sight alone is worth the walk.

The extensive karst region of Calaveras County, in the Sierra foothills, is famed for its commercially operated caves, of which Moaning Caverns is the closest to our hike. Although highly celebrated among nineteenth-century tourists, the Natural Bridges today are visited mostly by locals, who enjoy floating through them on inflated inner tubes or air mattresses. Freely accessible to the public, the Natural Bridges are managed by rangers from New Melones Reservoir, though local people also keep an eye out for vandals.

©  Barry Parr/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Angels Camp
Distance: 2
Elevation Gain: Minimal
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Moderate
Duration: 1 hour, but allow more time to explore the cave.
Season: All year. Nonswimmers should avoid hot afternoons from May through early September, and swimmers may prefer to avoid chilly days from October through April.
Trailhead Elevation: 1,500 feet
Top Elevation: 1,500 feet
Accessibility: Dog-friendly
Local Contacts: New Melones Lake Recreation Area Office
Local Maps: USGS Columbia.
Topo Map: The Upper Natural Bridge of Calaveras County Topographic Map
Guide Book: Hiking The Sierra Nevada Guide Book
Driving Directions: View Directions
Trail Directions: View Guide

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Recent Trail Reviews

8/1/2009

It was like swimming through Moaning Caverns! An awesome, unique experience. There are two more caverns down river towards the lake worth hiking to.

9/15/2008

An easy hike, and as other reviewers noted, lots of poison oak and watch out for rattlers too. My wife and I did the hike with our daughter and son ages 8 and 9. Very few complaints except about the chilliness of the water in the cave. There are springs in the cave adding cold water to the creek. If you're taking the kids, bring along a small inflatable as the water, even in September, is too high to wade all the way through the cave. A very cool experience!

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