Natural Bridge and Hood Branch Trail

MODERATE
#1 of 11 trails in Natural Bridge State Park
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Natural Bridge and Hood Branch Trail is a 2.7 mile loop trail located near Slade, KY that features a great forest setting and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is accessible from January until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

2.7 miles 754 feet Loop
hiking forest views
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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. Elevation change of 420 feet.
Hiking

Todd Caudill

1 Completed1 Reviews

Fantastic journey & adventure

Jon Gaddis

21 Completed19 Reviews

What's not to love about the Red? Plenty of trails. This trail is one of the most scenic. Fun area to hike with great views. Be wary, though, your GPS goes in and out, and cell reception is sketchy at best, so familiarize yourself and plan. Happy trails!

Kirk Barnes

7 Completed1 Reviews

Great view with my son. Highly recommend!

Molly Harty

1 Completed1 Reviews

Great trail with lots of side trails to add extras to the trip

Andrew Lambert

1 Completed1 Reviews

Finally did it, well worth it!

Drew Slayton

4 Completed4 Reviews

Fun area to hike with great views. Several different ways to get to the Natural Bridge. We usually go about 4-5 miles (Round trip) each time we're out there. This time, did The Original up under the bridge, Rock Garden Trail "around the back" to Battleship Rock Trail. Up through Needles Eye (pretty muddy and Slick when we were there - pretty good climb)) to check out all points from Lovers Leap to across the bridge. Backtracked across bridge to head down Devils Gulch, back to Rock Garden to Original and out. Trails in great shape, and the views up top are fantastic.

Kari Simpson

2 Completed2 Reviews

Several choices for difficulties and the trails are slightly hard to follow with the map. We were lost on the wrong trails several times. Landscape was one of a kind and we appreciated the peacefulness.

Carolyn Wilson

3 Completed3 Reviews

Truly spectacular hike up steep hill to a magnificent view from atop the Natural Bridge! Worth every ounce of energy you can muster to get up there and explore the various paths. climbed up the "Original Trail and came down the stairs on another trail back. There is a sky lift for cheaters or those who just cannot make the climb. The view from the lift chair must be spectacular too, but we climbed up and down the mountain and felt a great sense of accomplishment. So many things to see each way.

Hannah Ashley

2 Completed2 Reviews

It's really fun to hike up here in the morning and watch the sunrise.

Danny G

11 Completed11 Reviews

Extremely popular tourist destination. There's actually a chair lift you can take to the top, although I didn't take it. We took the original trail to the top-about 1.5 mile or so (each way). Steady climb all the way up, but plenty of benches to stop and rest. Very impressive at the top with a view for miles. If you want another, and dare I say, better, natural bridge check out Sky Bridge which is close by, an easier walk, and far less people.