Facts About Natural Bridge State Resort Park
Natural Bridge State Resort Park in Kentucky was established as a KY State Park in 1926 but was a tourist destination long before then.
Originally founded as a tourist attraction by the Lexington and Eastern Railroad in 1895. Visitors to the area have gotten a thrill walking across the landmark 30-foot wide natural sandstone arch for well over a century.
Currently, the park contains about 2,300 acres and is surrounded by the Daniel Boone National Forest. It can get a little confusing for visitors when they try to figure out exactly what “park” they’re in sometimes!
The natural sandstone arch that is the key point of this KY state park spans an impressive 78 feet and is over 65 feet high.
While not just limited to a casual stroll across the top of the arch, there are also over 20 miles of hiking trails throughout the Park. From trails to White’s Branch Arch and the 7+ mile Sand Gap Trail.
If you don’t want to hike the 0.75-mile trail to the top of the arch, you can always take the Sky Lift (it’s like a ski lift).
This “shortcut” is an 11-minute one-mile journey up the steep terrain surrounding the Bridge. Once you reach the top you’ll be able to walk atop this miraculous 30-foot wide “sidewalk” in the sky.
The roundtrip time for the Sky Lift is 22 minutes and costs $13 for adults and $10 for kids. The Lift is open daily at 10 AM from the first weekend in April until the last Sunday in October and closes at 6 PM.
Natural Bridge State Park Camping
While we’re certainly biased to rent a cabin near Natural Bridge State Resort Park here in Kentucky, that doesn’t mean you can’t rough it if you really want to!
Camping in the area consists of two campgrounds: Middle Fork Campground, and Whittleton Campground.
Middle Fork camping site offers both standard electric/back-in (35 spaces) and primitive/tent (11 spaces) site types.
Whittleton also offers standard electric/back-in (17 spaces) and primitive/tent (23 spaces) site types.
Both camping sites are pet-friendly, so bring Fido along to enjoy the great outdoors with you!
Natural Bridge, KY Cabins
Most visitors to Natural Bridge in Kentucky rent a cabin during their vacation.
Many of these vacation rentals in the area are owned by private individuals (think VRBO) while others are professionally run by property management companies.
Some well-known options for cabin rentals near Natural Bridge are:
- Red River Gorge Cabins
- Natural Bridge Cabin Company
- Scenic Cabin Rentals
- 5 Star Cabin Rental
When choosing a cabin to vacation at, it’s important you consider how many folks will be staying in the cabin and the amenities you’ll need/want.
Most cabin rentals in our area are smaller cabins that can have up to 4 bedrooms. Because we saw a need for large group cabin rental options, we built two massive luxury cabins on our property that can each sleep at least 48 people.
The Cliffview Lakeside cabin has 12 bedrooms and can sleep 50 individuals and the Cliffview Retreat offers 11 bedrooms and can sleep up to 48 guests.
Things To Do Near Natural Bridge
Sometimes you want to do something more than just walk along a trail or sit around a fire.
For those days, we recommend you check out some of the other fun things to do near Natural Bridge State Resort Park.
Our #1 favorite is the Red River Gorge Zipline that’s right on the Cliffview Resort property. Where else can you fly over the Gorge at 55 MPH and more than 300′ up? Tours last 2 – 3 hours and are a great way to see more of the natural splendor of the Red River Gorge.
Another great destination that’s nearby is the Kentucky Reptile Zoo, a non-profit facility who’s number one goal is to provide venom for antivenom and biomedical research. That’s right, these guys are all about venomous snakes like vipers & rattlesnakes! Open for tours every day Memorial Day through Labor Day from 11a – 6p, be sure to check this one out (if you’re not too squeamish around snakes, that is!).
Snakes and high-speed thrills just not doing it for you? Then we recommend you buy a ticket for the Natural Bridge Sky Lift or enjoy one of the many hiking trails found throughout Daniel Boone National Forest.
Where To Hike Around Natural Bridge, KY
What is a trip to Natural Bridge State Park without hiking trails?
Thankfully, you’ve got a number of great hiking options to lug your daypack along.
One of the most popular trails is the Rock Bridge Trail #207. An approximately 1.5-mile round-trip hike, this well-traveled trail is easy with relatively few steep sections. Perfect for families with younger kids (who are sure to love the waterfall and pond!).
To get to Rock Bridge Trail, just turn down Rock Bridge Rd and follow the signs to the trailhead.
Another popular hiking trail in Slade, KY is Auxier Ridge Trail #204. Along this route, you’ll be treated to numerous beautiful views. This trail is on the more challenging side though and can take about 4 hours to complete. We don’t recommend this trail for families, only avid (and in shape) hikers.
To get to the Auxier Ridge Trailhead, go down Tunnel Ridge Road. From there, just follow the signs.
Canoe Rental in Natural Bridge State Park
From Memorial Day through Labor Day, you can rent a kayak or stand-up paddleboard (SUP) in Natural Bridge State Park to paddle around Mill Creek Lake (a great place for fishing and beginner paddlers).
Boat rentals are provided through Red River Adventure (formerly Paddle Adventure) for fairly affordable rates. As of the 2019 season, boat rental rates are as follows:
- Tandem kayak (seats 2 adults and 1 child): $40
- Single-seat kayak: $25
- Stand-up paddleboard (SUP): $25.
Please note, Red River Adventure only supplies kayak rentals to Mill Creek Lake on weekends and holidays.
For more information, please call Red River Adventure at 606-618-0299
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