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A motorcyclist's guide to Natural Bridge State Resort Park

Added September 27, 2016

One of the true pleasures of riding a motorcycle is the opportunity to get out into nature and see its beauty. Unlike traveling by automobile, a motorcycle allows you to feel the environment you’re riding through. The only way to get closer to nature is to park the motorcycle and take a hike on foot. Kentucky’s Natural Bridge State Resort Park offers a close-up opportunity to explore nature and experience a true natural wonder.

Land of cliffs and forests

Riding through eastern Kentucky is like riding through the geologic history of Earth. So many of the scenic roads feature magnificent rock cliffs revealing multiple strata. The region’s also home to the Daniel Boone National Forest, which surrounds the Natural Bridge State Resort Park.

Be prepared to hike

Perhaps the best way to experience the Natural Bridge is to hike up one of the several well-maintained trails. If you plan on making the hike, bring along hiking or walking shoes—heavy motorcycle-riding boots are not ideal. Also carry a bottle of water. You’ll be glad you did.

The Original Trail

The Original Trail, which is touted as the easiest trail to the Natural Bridge, is a steep climb. However, it’s not a technically difficult trail since it features a relatively smooth and wide path, with many stone or wooden staircases. Along the way there are numerous interpretive signs and frequent shelters and benches for rest stops.

The Original Trail access

The Original Trail can be accessed from a dedicated parking area off Kentucky Route 11. From there, it’s a 3/4-mile hike. The first ¼ mile features a cool suspension footbridge across the pond that much of the lower trail runs along.

You can access The Original Trail from the Hemlock Lodge parking area, bypassing the lower section. Parking, however, is limited. From here, it’s a 1/2-mile hike up to the Natural Bridge. If hiking’s not your thing, take the sky lift.

Take to the sky 

Hiking up to 1-1/2 miles makes for a great workout and does take some time to accomplish. If that’s not your style, there’s another way to experience the Natural Bridge—via the sky lift. The mile-long ride provides great views of the Daniel Boone Natural Forest and Red River Gorge Geological Area.

Sky lift details:

  • Ride time: 22 minutes round-trip
  • Cost: $9 one-way; $13 round-trip
  • Discounts: senior (62+)–$12; military–$11; children (4-12)–$10; children (3 and under)–free

Natural Bridge State Resort Park is worth the trip. Experience nature at its finest, and the view from the top is terrific. Remember to bring your camera!

Till next time, ride safe!