A majestic natural sandstone arch surrounded by miles of wilderness may be found just 57 miles east of Lexington, Kentucky. This scenic area, inside Natural Bridge State Resort Park, lies within both the Daniel Boone National Forest and the Red River gorge area offering guests access to miles of wilderness and rustic beauty.
Natural Bridge State Resort Park attracts nature lovers, rock climbers, hikers, and bird watchers and also features trails, a resort lodge, cottages, restaurant, a Sky Lift, mini golf, and 2 campgrounds. Many enjoy visiting this area for the chance to hike, rock climb, paddle, fish, picnic, camp, swim, and much more.
Pack your overnight bags and book a room at the scenic lodge or just stop by and visit this Kentucky state park for the day. Whichever choice you make you certainly won’t be disappointed.
Natural Bridge State Resort Park features a lake, trails, a resort lodge, cottages, and campgrounds plus scenic picnic areas. These picnic areas, scattered throughout the park, have tables, grills, and restrooms.
Also located within the day use area are a playground, an 18-hole Miniature Golf Course and Snack Bar (with rental equipment), a Gift Shop that features Kentucky handmade crafts and souvenirs, and the Sky Lift. The Sky Lift, open April through October, takes guests on a leisurely ride up over the top of Natural Bridge. For more information call: (606) 663-2922
Here are some of the activities that you can do during your visit to Natural Bridge State Park:
Boating at Natural Bridge State Resort Park
Mill Creek Lake provides guests with a peaceful and scenic area for paddling, fishing, and bird watching. Guests may bring their own boats or rent a canoe or kayak during the summer. A launch ramp allows for easy access to the lake.
For more adventure take your canoe or kayak over to the Red River. The 19.4 mile Red River is a designated Wild and Scenic River (the only one in Kentucky!) and considered ideal for most paddlers, from beginners to experts.
Swimming at Natural Bridge State Resort Park
Don’t forget to pack your swimsuit. Natural Bridge State Park’s Hemlock Lodge has a large pool and a wading pool with water jets, floor bubblers, and a fountain for guests to enjoy during their visit. The pool area features a river theme and offers spectacular views of the lake and sandstone cliffs.
Hiking at Natural Bridge State Resort Park
Natural Bridge State Park features 10 hiking trails that wind throughout the woodlands and surrounding sandstone cliffs. Most of the trails are located within a nature preserve and as such dogs are not allowed on them. The Whittleton Trail and Henson Arch Trail are the exceptions to this.
There are an additional 60 miles of hiking trails located within the adjoining Red River Gorge area.
Here are a couple of the trails at Natural Bridge State Park
- Balanced Rock Trail – A moderate 1.6 mile trail that begins near Hemlock Lodge and leads up steep limestone steps to reach a small cave. The trail continues to climb until it reaches Balanced Rock and then further up to reach Rocky Point and finally out to the top of Natural Bridge. This trail is considered the most steep of all within the park and contains some 600 stairs.
- Whittleton Trail – This moderate 4.5 mile trail begins near Whittleton Campground, follows a stream and ends near Tunnel Ridge Road. This trail serves as a connector between Natural Bridge and Red River Gorge and is pet friendly.
Fishing at Natural Bridge State Resort Park
Serene Mill Creek Lake is an ideal location for anglers hoping to catch bass, channel catfish, sunfish, rainbow trout, black bullhead, and bluegill. Whether fishing from shore or boat you’ll enjoy the peaceful surroundings of woodlands and towering sandstone cliffs. Be sure to pick up a Kentucky fishing license while you’re packing up your fishing gear.
Natural Bridge State Park has a fishing loaner program available for guests who don’t have a fishing pole. Just stop in and ask at the Visitor Center.
Birding at Natural Bridge State Resort Park
Spring and fall migration are among the best times of the year for bird watchers to visit Natural Bridge State Park. The rugged landscape and wilderness surrounding the park attracts many species all year making this a popular destination for bird lovers.
Many species of woodpeckers, kinglets, nuthatches, wrens, sparrows and woodland warblers may be observed within the park as well as Great Blue Herons, American Goldfinches, Indigo Buntings, Carolina Chickadees, Northern Cardinals, Belted Kingfishers, Wild Turkeys, and Tufted titmice.
Nature and Wildlife at Natural Bridge State Resort Park
Natural Bridge State Park lies within the Daniel Boone National Forest and the Red River Gorge area. This incredibly scenic part of east-central Kentucky has miles of wilderness, high sandstone cliffs, waterfalls, natural bridges and majestic rock shelters.
Within this area live many species including deer, squirrels, foxes, birds, black bears, and two venomous snakes, the copperhead and the timber rattlesnake.
The Red River Gorge’s intricate canyon system, with more than 100 natural sandstone arches, is also considered one of the best rock climbing locations in the world.
Pets are allowed within designated areas at Natural Bridge State Park as long as they are supervised and leashed. Pets are not permitted inside park buildings or most of the trails. Henson Arch Trail and Whittleton Trail are open to pets as well as all of the trails within nearby Red River Gorge.
Come spend a few relaxing nights inside Natural Bridge State Park. This scenic park features a year round resort lodge, cottages, and a campground to accommodate its overnight guests.
The mountainside lodge, Hemlock Lodge, has 35 guest rooms with private balconies, a restaurant, and function rooms that are ideal for meetings and special events.
The 11 cottages have either 1 or 2 bedrooms and all of the comforts of home. And the campground’s 87 campsites have picnic tables and grills and are located near restrooms and hot showers. Additional primitive tent only campsites are also available within the park.
All overnight accommodations are pet friendly but there is a limit of 2 pets per lodge room or cottage.
Natural Bridge State Resort Park
2135 Natural Bridge Road
Slade, KY 40376
Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Natural Bridge State Resort Park:
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