This trail was built in the 1890’s by the Lexington and Eastern Railroad. It is the most popular trail for hiking to the Natural Bridge. Beginning near the gift shop, the trail gently climbs .25 mile to the trailhead behind Hemlock Lodge. From here, you will see the steepest part of the trail before you, but at the top of the limestone steps it levels off. There are five trail shelters along this trail, three of which were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) during the 1930’s. The trail climbs over 400-feet through an impressive forest of hemlock, tulip tree, white pine, and thickets of rhododendron. It ends beneath the span of the Natural Bridge. Access to the top of the bridge is through a natural fracture on the other side of the arch. Elevation change of 420 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!