Robert Steele, Park Manager
Now is a great time to visit and reflect on these hallowed grounds southeast of Tallahassee. The park protects the battlefield of a skirmish that prevented Tallahassee from falling into Union hands in the final days of the Civil War. Walk the grounds and visit the memorials of the Confederate and Union Soldiers lost here so many years ago. Interpretive panels point out troop locations. Much of the battlefield is located behind fences to better protect the area along with sensitive springs. Enjoy our annual reenactment of the Battle of Natural Bridge every first full weekend of March. Guided tours of the battlefield, springs and canals are provided to anyone interested. Just give us 2 weeks advanced notice to plan for your visit.
Many people ask us when they visit the park where the “natural bridge” is located. We find that some people are thinking about the wind carved “bridges” that they have visited in Utah or Kentucky. Like several rivers in Florida, the St. Marks River flows underground for about ¾ of a mile until it rises again to continue its journey to the Gulf of Mexico. If you are standing at the memorial or picnic area, walk down Natural Bridge Road to the east. You will come across the river sink on the north side of the road. This is where the St. Marks river flows into a sink hole. Now you are on the natural bridge, which the Union Army found was the only place to cross the river in 1865. The waterways you see through the fence on the south side of the road are all independent springs and wet sinks. A canal was dug, which can be seen next to the roadway, in the early 1800s to float timber across the natural bridge.
The park is a great place to have a picnic and enjoy fishing as well. A planned paddling trail will take adventurous visitors north on the St. Marks River to Horn Spring. The newly acquired Horn Springs property will be accessible soon with trails and tours to enjoy the St. Marks River and its watershed. Wildlife lovers, birders and spring hunters will enjoy the new sections of the park.
If you are interested in visiting or already at Natural Bridge Battlefield Historic State Park and need more information from our amazing staff, please give our park office a call at 850-487-7989. This is the same number where guided tours of the battlefield and springs can be scheduled. Please feel free to contact me directly at Robert.Steele@floridadep.gov.