This trail was developed by the U.S. Forest Service and begins on the state park at Whittleton Campground. Hikers should park near the check-in-station and walk to the end of the left fork of the road.
It follows a small stream known as Whittleton Branch for most of its length and ends along KY 15 at the entrance to the Tunnel Ridge Road. It is a connector between the trails in the Red River Gorge and Natural Bridge. Whittleton Branch Trail follows the grade of a logging railroad built in 1898 that ran from Natural Bridge to Chimney Top. Watch for signs of the Mountain Central Railway as you walk this trail. Approximately .75 miles in, hikers have the option of turning right onto Whittleton Arch Trail which will lead to the rock shelter-like arch. This is one of the largest arches in the area. Most hikers use these trails as a pleasant round trip hike of 2-miles from the campground to Whittleton Arch and back. Elevation change of 280 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!