This is the steepest trail in the park with more than 600 stairs. The trailhead is located off of the sidewalk behind Hemlock Lodge. At the trailhead, hikers are immediately faced with a steep series of limestone steps leading to a small cave on the right side of the trail. Past the cave, Balanced Rock Trail climbs up more steps to the Balanced Rock, an extraordinary sandstone block on the left. From here, the trail gets steeper and eventually hikers will find themselves at the base of the sandstone cliff called Rocky Point. As the trail continues, hikers will pass the Sand Gap Trail junction and end shortly afterwards near a large CCC wooden shelter and the top of Natural Bridge. Because of its steep grade, most hikers prefer to use Balanced Rock Trail as the downhill part of a loop trip. The Balanced Rock Trail is also a part of the Sheltowee Trace Trail. Elevation change of 400 feet.
The sandstone arch which Natural Bridge State Resort Park derives its name took millions of years to form. Located just a few minutes from Slade in eastern Kentucky, Natural Bridge is found off the Bert T. Combs Mountain Parkway. The park has some of the most unique geological formations, and breathtaking views found anywhere in the commonwealth. Serious adventure seekers love to visit Natural Bridge due to its plentiful year-round and seasonal activities. Hiking, camping, wildlife viewing, geological landmarks and a Skylift are just a few of the opportunities available to visitors. There is also a 60-acre lake in the park, as well as a lodge that offers accommodation options full amenities—reserve your room early. People find themselves totally immersed in their natural surroundings when visiting Natural Bridge State Resort Park, and it keeps many people returning year after year. Come see one of the most spectacular natural bridges in the region, stay at the campground or lodge, and recreate in Kentucky’s great outdoors!