Trip Date: April 2011
If you are visiting the California Gold Country along Hwy 49 near Angels Camp and would like to enjoy a great hiking experience, then try out this hike down to a very unique geological formation.
Inside Calaveras County, this site is within a 20 mile radius of the towns of Angels Camp, Vallecito, Sonora, Murphys with its dozens of wineries, historical Columbia and the railroad town of Jamestown. It is real close to New Melones Lake.
The Natural Bridges hike takes you into a forest of Oak Trees where a small creek has dug a tunnel for itself through solid rock. Known to geologists as a “karst”, the rushing waters of Coyote Creek eroded through a layer of soluble bedrock and created a unique cave or cavern. Most people refer to it as a tunnel as this cave has two ends. The river enters the cave from the north end and exits out of the south end. The tunnel’s distance is about a quarter of a mile. The inside of the tunnel is very similar to a cavern with its oddly shaped formations hanging from its roof.
The trail head is right off of Parrots Ferry Road (County Route E18). Coming from the north, it is located about 3.7 miles from the junction of Parrots Ferry Road and Hwy 4. Coming from the south, it is located about 6.2 miles from the junction of Parrots Ferry Road and State Street in downtown Columbia. The trail head is marked with a brown sign that reads “Natural Bridges”. Turn off Parrots Ferry Road on to the small road and you will see some restrooms. The trail begins past the restrooms.
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