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0 Layers
4.6
66 votes

Natural Bridge State Resort Park

2135 Natural Bridge Rd, Slade, Kentucky 40376 USA

$$
$$$$
Reasonable
  • Independent
  • Credit Cards Accepted
  • Pet Friendly
  • Public Restrooms
  • Outdoor Seating
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“natural sandstone arch turned into a bridge”

Natural Bridge State Resort Park is a Kentucky state park located in Powell and Wolfe Counties along the Middle Fork of the Red River, adjacent to the Red River Gorge Geologic Area and surrounded by the Daniel Boone National Forest. Its namesake natural bridge is the centerpiece of the park. The natural sandstone arch spans 78 ft (24 m) and is 65 ft (20 m) high. The natural process of weathering formed the arch over millions of years. The park is approximately 2,300 acres (9 km2) of which approximately 1,200 acres (5 km2) is dedicated by the Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission as a nature preserve. In 1981 this land was dedicated into the nature preserves system to protect the ecological communities and rare species habitat. The first federally endangered Virginia big eared bats, Corynorhinus townsendii virginianus, recorded in Kentucky were found at Natural Bridge State Resort Park in the 1950s.

The park was founded as a private tourist attraction in 1896 by the Lexington and Eastern Railroad. It became one of Kentucky's original four state parks when that system was established in 1925. There are over 20 miles (32 km) of trails over uneven terrain from moderate to strenuous difficulty, including trails to White's Branch Arch, Henson's Cave Arch, and other scenic areas. Some of the most famous sites are the arch itself, "Lovers Leap", and "Fat Man's Squeeze". The park's 0.5-mile (0.8 km) "Original Trail" to the natural bridge dates from the 1890s. Other trails include the 7.5-mile (12.1 km) Sand Gap Trail and the 0.75-mile (1.21 km) Balanced Rock Trail. Five miles (8 km) of the 270-mile (435 km) Sheltowee Trace National Recreation Trail run through the park, including the Whittleton Trail which connects the park to the Red River Gorge Geologic Area. Activities such as hiking off-trails, disturbing wildlife, or collecting plants are not legal in any Kentucky State Park, and pets are not allowed at Natural Bridge State Park. "Fat Man's Squeeze", a narrow passage in the rock formation, leads to the bottom of the arch.Natural Bridge has several unique sandstone rock formations, including the original Balanced Rock. This is a huge block of sandstone balanced on the edge of a cliff near the Natural Bridge. The trail to this formation is now off limits to tourists. An even more spectacular formation, also called the "Balanced Rock", is located on Trail #2, not far above Hemlock Lodge. In the early days of the Park, it was called the Sphinx because, when viewed from the correct angle, it crudely resembles the Sphinx in Egypt. Although it is now called the Balanced Rock, it is in fact a pedestal rock - a single piece of stone that has weathered in such a fashion that its midsection is narrower than its cap or its base. This formation is one of the biggest and most perfectly formed examples of a pedestal rock east of the Rocky Mountains.

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Reviewed by
rachael.rousseau.50

  • 1 Review
  • 3 Helpful
August 20, 2013

This is my favorite place on the face of this earth. I want to move out here in a cabin once I retire and live happily ever after!! LOVE LOVE LOVE the red river gorge!!! :D

3 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
Curt Rice

  • 49 Reviews
  • 32 Helpful
September 5, 2014
Rated 5.0

Whether you take the chair lift or one of the many trails, this is a beautiful spot you have to see for yourself. There aren't any railings on the actual bridge so be careful with little ones.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
maltazor

  • 4 Reviews
  • 3 Helpful
August 20, 2014

This park is amazing. It is definitely worth visiting each year. There are great trails and plenty of rustic campsites. HIGHLY recommended.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
Famsams

  • 5 Reviews
  • 1 Helpful
July 23, 2014
Rated 5.0

Beautiful!!! Well worth enduring the humidity to hike as much as you can throughout the park. Well maintained trails and incredible scenery!

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
sjc20077

  • Blogger
  • 83 Reviews
  • 7 Helpful
June 22, 2017
Rated 5.0

Loved it!!! We only had time for the Original Trail so would love to go back for more trails. However the Original Trail up to the natural bridge was amazing!! It is a little steep and slick in spots but our three little kids did the whole hike to underneath the bridge. Myself and a couple adults went up top the bridge. Wow!! Soooo beautiful!! I could've stayed up there for hours!! It was amazing!!!

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Reviewed by
Patti

  • 11 Reviews
  • 0 Helpful
May 29, 2017

Tough hike but loved where it took us. Well worth the work. Up stairs on the side of the mountain. Into a crack in the rock. You will love where you end up.

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Reviewed by
mcmcabe16

  • 1 Review
  • 0 Helpful
May 24, 2017
Rated 5.0

Amazing! The trails are fantastic. The cabins are wonderful.

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Reviewed by
Mitzi

  • 2 Reviews
  • 1 Helpful
August 6, 2016

Beautiful place, though we saw just a part of it. Be sure to have water!

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Reviewed by
jocelyn.ann.16

  • 1 Review
  • 0 Helpful
June 15, 2016

Not a review just a question: is there info on how to navigate thru park to see certain attractions?

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Reviewed by
MarkMcCrocklin

  • 3 Reviews
  • 0 Helpful
March 22, 2016
Rated 5.0

Great location. Clean. Hot showers. Free wifi. What more can you ask?

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Natural Bridge State Resort Park

2135 Natural Bridge Rd
Slade, Kentucky
40376 USA

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  • Independent
  • Credit Cards Accepted
  • Pet Friendly
  • Public Restrooms
  • Outdoor Seating
  • Wifi
  • 86 Camp Sites
  • Full Hookup
  • Tent Sites
  • Dump Station
  • Laundry
  • Swimming Pool

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