Natural Bridge and Battleship Rock Trail

MODERATE 241 reviews
#1 of 10 trails in

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
1,190 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.

hiking
4 days ago

Park closes at dark

hiking
1 month ago

Dog friendly! Several pups on the trail!

hiking
2 months ago

Perfect level of difficulty. Tons of steps. Devils gulch was a lot of scary fun for the kids.

hiking
2 months ago

Gorgeous views from the top.

2 months ago

amazing trails

nature trips
2 months ago

Does anyone know if there are any accessible trails for a Wheelchair?

2 months ago

Beautiful views. Great hike.

hiking
3 months ago

As a Kentuckian, Natural Bridge is obviously a hallmark too us! Love natural bridge!

hiking
3 months ago

I took Rock Garden to the north and then looked back around to connect up with the natural bridge, finishing by taking the Balanced Rock trail to the south. Surprisingly very little foot traffic on Rock Garden, take Balanced Rock down from the Natural Bridge if you want to avoid going up the stairs.

hiking
4 months ago

This trail was awesome. was a little populated but the views were totally worth it. I would def recommend checking it out! Daniel Boone is beautiful in general.

4 months ago

Was there during Labor Day so it had a theme park feel with all the people. Disappointed by all the trash. View was awesome and lots of places to rest on the way up.

4 months ago

it was beautiful! nice ascent to the top, good workout, loved the view

5 months ago

Nice view at the top but you will be ascending quite a bit.

5 months ago

We thought this would be an easy going loop to finish up a nice weekend but the trails are super confusing. There is not that „one loop“ we ended up doing several loops and crossing paths we did before and had to take some trails twice. There are definitely nice views but the trail system seemed like a maze.

hiking
6 months ago

We enjoyed hiking in Natural Bridge State Park. The Original Trail was a nice hike, easily done after dinner with 4 boys, ages 4-12. the views were amazing. There were very few others around when we took the after dinner hike on a Monday evening, however Tuesday afternoon there were lots of people around. It never fails that there's a few fools trying to become a statistic in front of your kids... That's unfortunate.

On Tuesday we hiked the longer way, crossed the Natural Bridge and on to Lover's Leap, then down Devil's Gulch. It was more great scenery. there was one section where we were walking on the edge for 50 feet, but not bad - just keep kids by the hand.

hiking
6 months ago

Good hike with a cool finish. The bridge is awesome and you can even hike around to see it from afar as well. Lots of side views to explore, and none of it was too difficult.

6 months ago

Did the original trail this past Saturday. Good trail. Not very long and good elevation gain. Trail was very busy with hikers because of the great weather.

hiking
6 months ago

This is one of the most beautiful places in Kentucky!........I heard that from an experienced Ohio hiker as well as a Kentucky native who hikes all over the state. Needless to say, I had to go. Once you arrive at State Park Lodge parking area, there are several hiking trails leading up to the Natural Bridge and all are short (less than a mile) located at the trailheads behind the lodge. We chose to take the "Original Trail" to the Battleship Rock Trail (one bridge out; however, you can easily get around it), up the Devil's Gulch Stairway, a side trek to Lover's Leap (well worth the extra 20 minute round trip), and back onto the trail leading atop the bridge. There is a sign at the end of the bridge showing you the way to under the bridge or another side trek to Balanced Rock. Unfortunately, we did not have time to do this trek due to it getting dark. From there, you can take the main trail back to the trailhead.

I would say most people will be able to hike this trail. Elders & inexperienced hikers should not take the Devil's Gulch Stairway as it is steep and one wrong mis-step would end it all. By staying on the "Original Trail" the entire way, most should be able to maneuver it without any troubles.

For me, this was an easy "5-star" hiking area. There are a lot of things to do in this area and next time I will plan to stay at least 3-4 days.
Enjoy!

6 months ago

battleship had a bridge out. not good with kids, which I had 2

hiking
7 months ago

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

hiking
7 months 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!

7 months 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
8 months 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
8 months 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
8 months ago

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

10 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
10 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
10 months ago

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

hiking
11 months ago

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

Monday, January 01, 2018

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.).

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