Natural Bridge Trail

Daniel Boone National Forest, Kentucky

Distance0.2mi
Elevation Gain76ft
Trailhead Elevation762ft
Top782ft
Elevation Min/Max755/782ft
Elevation Start/End762/762ft

Natural Bridge Trail

Natural Bridge Trail is a hiking trail in Powell County, Kentucky. It is within Daniel Boone National Forest. It is 0.2 miles long and begins at 762 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 0.4 miles with a total elevation gain of 76 feet. The Natural Bridge Trail Parking is near the trailhead. Along the trail there is a water. This trail connects with the following: Original Natural Bridge Trail.

Natural Bridge Trail Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

"This is a trip for someone who wants to commune with nature, to wander the majestic wilderness, to breathe the scent of dogwood and wildflowers, and to marvel at the rugged cliffs and natural stone bridges in an area of Kentucky so wild that it has never been settled and, until recent years, has been virtually inaccessible to all except the hardiest of explorers. Natural Bridge State Resort Park and the Red River Gorge are both part of the Daniel Boone National Forest, which reaches into nineteen counties from east-central Kentucky to the Tennessee border. This eTrail from the DayTrips series describes many fascinating, exciting, (and many free of charge) things to do, most within a two-hour drive of Cincinnati. Each Day Trip includes destination highlights, places to visit along the way, choice restaurants and lodging, and shopping." Read more
Hiking Kentucky (Falcon Guides)
Michael H. Brown, Revised by Carrie L. Stambaugh
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"This hike combines a visit to Kentucky’s best-known rock arch with a walk through the backcountry of Natural Bridge State Resort Park. Natural Bridge State Resort Park joins the southern end of the Forest Service’s Red River Gorge Geological Area. The park has been a popular tourist attraction for decades and is highly developed. There’s even a chairlift to whisk you to Natural Bridge so you don’t have to hoof it up the steep hill. Likewise, most of the trails in the park are short and close to the busy lodge area. This hike and the Natural Bridge Park Perimeter hike are exceptions: Both range into the park’s little-used backcountry for long, pleasant walks across deserted ridges and hollows. The park’s interior scenery is, for the most part, not spectacular. But it offers plenty of streams, wildflowers, rock outcroppings—and quiet." Read more
Hiking Kentucky (Falcon Guides)
Michael H. Brown, Revised by Carrie L. Stambaugh
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"This long walk along the boundary of 2,300-acre Natural Bridge State Resort Park offers a few good views from a ridgetop and lots of solitude. This hike is for people who enjoy walking a long distance through pleasant woods and don’t require lots of dramatic sights along the way to keep them going. The ridgetop section of this trek is thoroughly enjoyable and has several good vistas, but much of the scenery is pretty tame. Even if their young legs are up to it, children are likely to be bored on this one. The guts of the hike are found along the park’s Sand Gap Trail (5)." Read more
Day & Overnight Hikes along Kentucky's Sheltowee Trace National Scenic Trail (Menasha Ridge Press)
Johnny Molloy
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"Talk about cramming a lot of features in one hike! This loop travels to and through some of Natural Bridge State Parks best features, including its namesake, Natural Bridge. Follow the Sheltowee Trace as it climbs past Balanced Rock and then tops out near Natural Bridge. From here, leave the Trace and enjoy Natural Bridge from atop and below. Next, hike alongside Laurel Ridge before climbing it via the Needles Eye Stairway. Once atop Laurel Ridge, a vista awaits at Lovers Leap. Start the return trip with another walk atop Natural Bridge before descending back to the parking area via the Original Trail. As its name suggests, this path was the first one leading to Natural Bridge. This hike has a downside——it is likely the busiest area along the entire Sheltowee Trace, and on nice weekends you will be elbowing your way along the trail around Natural Bridge. Outstanding Features: Natural Bridge, Balanced Rock, Lovers Leap, and views" Read more

Natural Bridge Trail Reviews

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7/20/2018
This is a great area for camping. The natural bridge and other arches are very cool. There's also some nice areas of water and waterfalls and deep forests on the trail. There's lots of other stuff to do in the greater park area and it's nice in all seasons.
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1/27/2018
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7/1/2011
I first went on this trail as a child and it was very memorable. I have hiked this trail about 7 times and it's probably my favorite trail to hike in Kentucky. It has so many different things to see and experience from Lovers Leap, Devils Gulch, Balanced Rock, Cave, Lookout Point, Needle Stairs and the massive Natural Bridge and more. We have 3 kids under 4 and there are many cliffs, so we didn't go this year, but we may try to go next year and place the two youngest in the kid backpacks. The park has a lodge, pool, small lake and entertainment island (hoe downs?). Just a couple miles away is Red River Gorge which offer some fantastic hikes, views and some of the best rock climbing in the eastern US. You can also camp if you're in to camping as we camped there a few years back. I highly recommend hiking this trail. If you have kids, they need to be sure footed, know boundaries around cliffs and you'll want to keep them close. Have a great time!
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4/2/2010
My wife, 6 year old daughter and myself hiked the low gap trail then the rock garden trail all the way to the Natural Bridge and we loved it, very scenic with some nice challenges; our daughter hung tough so I believe this trail can be fine for children if given close supervision. We also visited lovers leap, look out point and the sky lift. Highly recommended; not too hard and only took us about 2 hours to get to the top, we took the sky lift down.
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7/26/2009
We hiked Lower Hoods branch trail, it's starts at the base of the sky lift. It's a steep start but gets much easier about half mile in. Most of the trail is very overgrown and feels like walking through a rainforest, but the top is amazing with caves and rock formations. We hiked to the top and rode the sky lift back down. 3 miles one way.
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7/20/2009
The view from the top is beautiful. Little shelters along the trail for those who need to take a break.
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4/20/2002
The trail to Natural Bridge begins at the visitors center at the base of the trail. It has limited hours so make sure you call ahead. While it is a steep climb to the top, there are plenty of chances along the way to stop and sit on benches in some old CCC shelters or to check out some of the historical markers along the way.
After you get to the top, you can either get up on top of the arch (very common and always crowded) or you can take one of three side trails. One of these, will take you around the North side of the arch and down what is known as the "balancing rock" trail where you can see the effects of wind and water on sandstone in the form of one giant rock "balancing" atop a much smaller part of its former self. At the end of this trail there is also a short cave system that you can follow back to the main trail, just make sure you have an adequate flashlight and look out for bats!
This is a great way to spend the afternoon or you could stay at one of the nearby campgrounds and explore a lot more of the Gorge area.
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Natural Bridge Trail Photos

Trail Information

Daniel Boone National Forest
Nearby City
Daniel Boone National Forest
Parks
Natural Bridge State Resort Park, (606) 663-2214 or (800) 325-1710
Local Contacts
USGS Slade; USDAFS Red River Gorge
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Dec 2018