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Natural Bridge and Battleship Rock Trail [CLOSED]

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Natural Bridge State Park

Natural Bridge and Battleship Rock Trail [CLOSED] is a 4.2 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Slade, Kentucky that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from January until November.

Distance: 4.2 miles Elevation Gain: 1,289 feet Route Type: Loop

kid friendly

hiking

nature trips

walking

bird watching

running

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

closed

no dogs

Note: Users have reported that this trail is currently closed due to COVID-19. This trail was built in the 1880s 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 1930s. 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.

hiking
12 days ago

Closed at the moment

hiking
28 days ago

Childhood favorite! Great trail!

hiking
flooded
icy
muddy
off trail
rocky
washed out
3 months ago

hiking
muddy
scramble
4 months ago

hiking
bridge out
rocky
scramble
4 months ago

Great trail, challenging in spots depending on which loop you ultimately take. We started on the easy natural bridge “original” trail, crossed over to the other side to see the bridge from the other side where the skylift brings people up, worked our way back around battleship rock, Devil’s Gulch, Laurel ridge, needle point and lovers leap and back down again. Honesty one of the funnest hikes I’ve ever done when you combine the views and it was pretty challenging at times but not impossible. The decent from laurel ridge/lovers leap area was a little scary and I recommend taking it very slow going up and coming down. Some of the staircases were sketchy and you definitely need to be watching where you’re stepping. The trail had some great sights along the trail, and breathtaking views from the top of lovers leap especially. I plan on coming back and trying some of the other trails in the area but this one is one worth coming back to.

I walked a bit up and around the Natural Bridge. The weather was 62 and sunny. There were just a handful of people on the trail. Pretty much a perfect hike.

hiking
rocky
7 months ago

great trail. my 4 year old was able to do it no problems

hiking
7 months ago

My wife and I hiked this at the end of the day in fall. Colors are just starting to turn, give it a few weeks and the colors will be even better! The hiking traffic was very low because of the time of day and because our ascent/descent were both on the Original Trail. Seeing the sun setting and timing darkness for departure was critical. The views are spectacular from above the bridge (make sure to go up the skinny stone stairs) and the hike up the mountain is somewhat steep. Very enjoyable, don’t miss!

hiking
7 months ago

Spectacular views - somewhat steep ascent, but wide well kept trail. Many people, so not a get away from people, but perfect family hike for 2-3hours when leaving Red River Gorge. We’re going back!

hiking
7 months ago

Nice trail. The balanced rock portion was the best and most challenging part. The actual natural bridge arch was awesome but any portion of the "natural bridge trail" is very crowded. We took balanced rock on the way up and battleship on the way down and only had crowds on the actual bridge. I'd recommend doing it this way but it depends on what your going for.

hiking
7 months ago

Although it can be hard to find if you take the wrong path once you find out which way to go it’s actually a unique experience knowing you’re on a unique geological bridge and you’re just staring off into the distance

hiking
7 months ago

really pretty

Really fun hike! Very busy on this beautiful fall Saturday! The views are awesome!

hiking
8 months ago

pretty easy hike if you’re capable, beautiful views at the top.

hiking
8 months ago

Good hike. Lots of stairs. We chose to end with the balanced rock trail out to avoid some of the crowds. Definitely bring water and be prepared for some steep areas but the two look outs are well worth it!

hiking
8 months ago

Popular trail and worth wading through the crowds that can gather. The arch is beautiful and the views are great!

hiking
8 months ago

Great view at the top but it’s pretty crowded and lots of steps and uneven footing.

We started at Lakeside Trail parking lot, went past hoe down island to original trail. Took that up to natural bridge. Ride the sky lift round trip to use bathroom and get a cold drink. Then we did hemlock trail to devils gulch. Very steep stairs we took down. Amazing views and hiking. Moderate to hard. Would do again.

hiking
10 months ago

Bring plenty of water and prepare for a great workout when climbing this location. When you arrive at the top of NB you’ll know that you’ve earned it. We started at the Nature Center, but some take the easy hike from the lodge and use the lift to go back down. Either way, if you’re thinking about seeing NB, it’s well worth the hike. Hike a few 100 more yards to Lovers Leap to give yourself a great view of the Natural Bridge.

hiking
10 months ago

Very nice trail. The view is awesome.

hiking
10 months ago

Excellent trails with lots of options and a lot of stairs depending on your route so be prepared. Some trail areas are a little crowded, go during the week to avoid the crowds, beautiful area!

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