Natural Bridge and Battleship Rock Trail

MODERATE 206 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.

1 month 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
1 month 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
1 month ago

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

hiking
2 months ago

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

3 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
4 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.

6 months ago

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

6 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
6 months ago

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

hiking
7 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
7 months ago

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

8 months ago

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

8 months ago

Beautiful Trails

hiking
8 months ago

Beautiful trails!!

8 months ago

Thought it was really beautiful. A little crowded though

8 months ago

perfect day.

hiking
8 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
9 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

9 months ago

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

hiking
9 months ago

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

hiking
9 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!

9 months ago

I loved it.

hiking
9 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
9 months ago

The Natural Bridge is really awesome!!!

10 months ago

I

10 months ago

a little busy but beautiful

hiking
10 months ago

This was my first hike of 2017. Drove down from Columbus, OH to the Red River Gorge. Light rain when I arrived. I'm an avid hiker but took the ski lift to the top to save time. Once off the lift, the natural bridge is directly in front of you and Battleship Rock is on a short (15 min) trail to the left. Go toward natural bridge along the path and cross it. While on the bridge you have a great view of the rock. Once across the bridge, follow the steps down to the right, pass through a narrow gap, and emerge under the arch of the natural bridge. From here you can take an easy path over to the base of Battleship Rock where you'll have to climb steep steps to reach the top and the trail back. Atop the rock you'll have a good view of the Natural Bridge in the distance. Below the arch you also have access to the trail that leads down the mountain. I recommend taking the lift up, walk the short trail to the rock so that you can take in the view of the bridge, double track back to the ski lift, go across the bridge, down underneath, and walk the trail down. this way you buy a one-way (cheaper) ticket, save your energy, and enjoy the hike down...which has very interesting rock formations along the way.

10 months ago

One of my favorites!!

10 months ago

I hiked this while 3 months pregnant in a walking cast. Not the best idea I've ever had, but the view was worth it. We had to stop a few times so I could catch my breath because the incline was pretty strenuous.

10 months ago

Me and my Six year old son love this place!

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