Natural Bridge and Battleship Rock Trail

MODERATE 223 reviews

Natural Bridge and Battleship Rock Trail is a 3.3 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
3.3 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1190 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

kid friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

no dogs

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. Hikings 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.

hiking
1 day ago

Good views from the top. Would definitely consider this an easy-moderate hike

hiking
11 days ago

The original trail was full of people on the way up and pretty easy - lots of steps and places to rest. We took Battleship on the way down and saw no one. One bridge is still out (like a previous commenter said) but passable with some scrambling. There weren't any signs indicating the bridge being out either. Worth it though!

27 days ago

The original trail is wide and easily navigated with children. The walk does climb and can wind you. Don’t take the Battleship up or back with small children. The stairs can be steep and a small footbridge is destroyed by a fallen tree but passable.

hiking
1 month ago

We went the opposite of this trail and went battleship rock to natural bridge. We liked it much more because the battleship rock trail to start is more natural and is an amazing forest setting. Good geologic features mark the whole trail and it challenged us well. Would definitely do this trail again.

hiking
1 month ago

This was a beautiful place to hike. We took the harder trail that about killed us but so glad we did. Making memories is what it’s about.

hiking
1 month ago

First time hiker and these views and the Natural Bridge has me hooked.

3 months ago

took the OG up and to the lodge on the way back down. wasn't as natural on the way up or down but the views are still worth it.

hiking
3 months ago

This trail was beautiful! Hiked with a group of friends and really enjoyed the scenery. As soon as it gets tiring you are rewarded with awesome views!

hiking
3 months ago

Took the OG trail to the top of the bridge and came back down Needle’s Eye. Beautiful views!

hiking
4 months ago

Took the OG trail up and Devil's Gluch back down. Enjoyed every bit of it.

5 months ago

Good trail and well maintained. I enjoyed reading about the history of the park and the views are beautiful! However, it's not a trail I would come back to to do it again. It wasn't as natural as I would like (railings, tons of steps, pebbles to outline the trail, etc.).

hiking
6 months ago

Easy trail with some scenic views, probably nicest in the fall. Definitely can see it getting crowded then as well. Was hard to figure out the optimal route but it's all pretty short and easy with wide, well maintained trails so it didn't really matter.

7 months ago

Awesome Trails!! Amazing views and awesome overlooks of the beautiful mountains.

8 months ago

Nice moderate trail. The skylift is the best way to get to the top of the natural bridge. I walked and due to the one-lane nature of the climb to the top it was a long wait. Was really busy even on a Thursday. If you don't want to ride the lift, I suggest the OG trail to battleship rock trail, then branch off to the laurel ridge trail(by the devils gulch). Will take you up to the top of the natural bridge without having to pass the one lane stairs.

hiking
8 months ago

Rode the sky lift up and came down the trail. Steep in some areas but nice scenery!

hiking
9 months ago

Went up on Natural Bridge trail, forest well maintained, lots of Hikers on the trail. Came back on Battleship Rock Trail which was not well maintained and forest here was very weedy with lots of poison ivy growing over Trail.

hiking
9 months ago

Really awesome scenery! A must when you come to the gorge!

10 months ago

The views from this trail are beautiful. This trail is best in the fall. Children should not be unattended on the trail.

10 months ago

Beautiful Trails

hiking
10 months ago

Beautiful trails!!

10 months ago

Thought it was really beautiful. A little crowded though

10 months ago

perfect day.

hiking
10 months ago

Had a great time hiking today took Battleship Rock Trail up towards the bridge. We went up Devil's Gulch staircase(very steep for the lil ones) to cross Natural Bridge. We went down the Original Trail to get back to Hemlock Lodge.

hiking
11 months ago

Beautiful trail, but newbies beware! Much more strenuous inclines than indicated. Highlights include Natural Bridge, Balance Rock, and the brief but warmly welcomed "air-conditioned" cave toward the end. Bring tons of water and a fighting spirit! - N Forbus and D MacFarlan, Cincinnati

11 months ago

Was a cold winter day in January but a nice hike.

hiking
11 months ago

Mildly strenuous due to continuous uphill nature of hike but well worth the effort.

hiking
11 months ago

Fairly straightforward loop. Amazing views from atop natural bridge and the lookout point. Light traffic early in the morning. A must-see in Kentucky!

11 months ago

I loved it.

hiking
11 months ago

Very scenic, short easy trail. Took the Original Trail to the Natural Bridge, From there, followed Rock Garden trail back to the trail head. Very crowded, but Natural Bridge is worth the trip.

hiking
11 months ago

The Natural Bridge is really awesome!!!

Load More