The Pomona Natural Bridge is one of my all time favorites in Southern Illinois. I’ve been many times bringing friends with me and of course my camera. I’ve almost always had the place to myself. This area features a short half mile loop that crosses over the sandstone Natural Bridge. The bridge is fairly large, about 90 feet across, and the woods mean you don’t see it until you’re quite close. These characteristics make it hard to photograph, but gives you that wonderful feeling of being in the middle of nowhere without having to travel far.
Getting there isn’t hard once you know. The very first time I tried to find it was on one of my photography drives and I turned seeing the state sign. Driving south down 127, you see a sign advertising the Pomona Natural Bridge and the unincorporated community Pomona (an intersection with a general store). Turn right at the intersection with the general store. This road curves left or goes straight onto a gravel road. Take the gravel road. The first time I started down this, I thought I had made a wrong turn. It felt like someone’s driveway and there are always some dogs that come out to see me. Drive about 2 miles on this road, which feels a lot longer due to your slow speeds on the gravel. Then you’ll see the parking area for the Natural Bridge.
The hike is an easy one. Only half a mile loop with the bridge at the far side. The area is classic to Southern Illinois filled with trees, rocks, bluffs, and foliage. During the Spring, the drive is lined with wildflowers.
The southern part of the trail crosses over a trickle of a stream that runs down the side of the cliff and under the bridge.
Right past the bridge on the west side is a path to walk down under the bridge.
The area around Pomona is also quite beautiful. I have explored the fields and country roads many times. Pomona Winery is in the area with all delicious non-grape fruit wines. Little Grand Canyon is in this area too, but it’s still on my to-explore list.