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Natural Bridge

Natural Bridge State Park

A massive natural rock arch is the centerpiece of the expansive Natural Bridge State Park in eastern Kentucky.

Natural Bridge State Park features more than 20 moderate to difficult trails which can feature steep grades and plenty of stairs leading up to the namesake Natural Bridge that is 78 feet wide and 65 feet high, White’s Branch Arch, Henson’s Cave Arch, and other fascinating geologic features including Lovers Leap, Fat Man’s Squeeze, Balanced Rock, and a small cave.

The state park is also notable for hosting traditional Appalachian square dances on an open-air dance floor which are held on Friday and Saturday evenings throughout the summer.

Natural Bridge State Park was founded as a private tourist attraction along the Lexington & Eastern Railroad in 1895 as a way of drawing tourists to take the train to the natural attraction. In 1910, the railroad and park were acquired by the Louisville & Nashville Railroad. The railroad president turned over its holdings to the state in 1926, making Natural Bridge one of Kentucky’s original four state parks when it was established later in the year.

There are more than 20 moderate to difficult trails at Natural Bridge State Park. Some of the most memorable include:

  • The Balanced Rock Trail (No. 2) is the steepest trail in the park which includes more than 600 stairs, but it passes by Balanced Rock, a small cave, and provides an alternate path to the top of the ridge.
  • The Henson Arch Trail (No. 7) is a short trail that leads to an unusual limestone arch at the entrance to a small cave.
  • The Laurel Ridge Trail (No. 9) features an easy walk atop Laurel Ridge, connecting Natural Bridge to the Lover’s Leap which features an overlook of the canyon below.
  • The Original Trail (No. 1) was built in the 1890s by the Lexington & Eastern Railroad and is the most popular trail for hiking to the Natural Bridge. It features five trail shelters, three of which were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the 1930s.

A full listing of trails can be found at the Natural Bridge State Park website.

  • Website
  • (606) 663-2214
  • 2135 Natural Bridge Rd., Slade, KY 40376

From the Mountain Parkway at Slade, follow KY Route 11 south for 2 miles.


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