leaf peep: Natural Bridge State Park

Clockwise from the top:  The Skylift at Natural Bridge; Shadows of my hubby and I on top of the Natural Bridge in the Red River Gorge;  Underneath the bridge–the sky was so blue!

My fall day-trip pick this year is Natural Bridge State Park.  This is a favorite spot for my husband and I for hiking and taking in great views of the Red River Gorge.

It looks like the leaves will definitely be peaking this weekend, which makes the easy drive (about an hour southeast of Lexington) even more pleasant.  When you arrive, you can either drive up to Hemlock Lodge and hike, or if you are looking for something less strenuous, you can follow the signs to the Skylift which carries you straight up to beautiful views of and from the bridge.

Even if you decide to take the Skylift up, you can still get in a good hike from the top with several trails of varying lengths to choose from.

There were two huge rocks that looked as though there were faces carved into them in two separate areas of the park.  Left: Facerock on the Hood’s Branch Trail; Right: Facerock on the Skylift ascension (Sidenote: Skylift Ascension would be an awesome Styx tribute band name).

If you go down on the Skylift, check out the fudge in the gift shop.  Tip: Hash out your fudge plans during your hike instead of on the Skylift.  It’s hard to resist fudgey thoughts as you descend toward the inviting little cabin that is the gift shop.  My husband and I spent half of our Skylift time discussing impending fudge–rookie mistake–the Skylift ain’t cheap, so enjoy every minute.

Above: A DIY Instagrammed (is this a verb yet?)  photo of the bridge from Lookout point, which is easily accesible from the Skylift

Trail maps are available at both Hemlock Lodge and Skylift gift shop.

If you go:

Natural Bridge State Park
2135 Natural Bridge Rd
Slade, KY 40376

Follow signs to either Hemlock Lodge or The Skylift.

The Skylift is open daily at 10am and runs through the last Sunday in October.  Adults $10, Children 12 and under $7 (children 3 and under free), Seniors $8, Military $9.  Call Hemlock Lodge for more info at (800) 325-1710.

All images by dthoskins

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