Overview. The Original Trail is the fastest, shortest way to the top of Natural Bridge. It’s a steep climb, but the views up top are fantastic. On this day, we caught one of the best sunsets I can remember with a beautiful sky from a quiet, peaceful perch.
Route Type | Out and Back
Total Distance | 2 miles
Overall Difficulty | Strenuous
Natural Bridge State Park Trail Map | KY State Parks
Trailhead. There are numerous trailheads to reach Natural Bridge. We chose the Lakeside lot. [map]
Trail navigation. This trail, like many others in popular state parks, is extremely well defined and marked. From the Lakeside Trail Parking Lot, descend the steps, walk along the lake, and reach the footbridge. Crossover and keep going straight to reach the Original Trail. Follow the signs and take breaks along with way if you like at a number of benches and shelters on the trail. Once under the arch, make a left to go through a narrow passage between rocks. This will take you to the top of the arch where you can take your time exploring the ridge. Retrace your steps back to your car.
No dogs. Unfortunately, dogs are not allowed on this hike.
CAUTION - Cliffs. Be careful to avoid getting too close the edge of cliffs, as this is the leading cause of serious injury and death when hiking in Red River Gorge.
CAUTION - Poisonous snakes. While the gorge is within the range of timber rattlesnakes, copperheads are the most common poisonous snake encountered. Stay alert on the trail, as snakes are commonly found taking in the warmth of the trail. Give them a wide berth or wait for them to move off the trail.
CAUTION - Bears. Black bears are growing in number throughout Daniel Boone National Forest. Be sure to follow bear safety precautions. [Be Bear Aware by US Forest Service]