SUMMARY: Laurel’s Ridge Trail is a flat trail from the top of Natural Bridge out to Lover’s Leap. After passing the top of the Skylift, there are several overlooks along the way including Lookout Point and Lover’s Leap. This trail begins at the top of Natural Bridge and is meant to be combined with the other routes up to Natural Bridge like the Original Trail and Balanced Rock Trail.
RATING: Easy hike (approximately 1.5 miles total.)
BEST TIME OF YEAR TO HIKE: Early spring when flowers are blooming or autumn when you can catch the fall colors. The USDA Forest Office is located in Winchester, Kentucky about an hour from Red River Gorge. For up to date information either stop in the Ranger District Office, visit their website or telephone: (859) 745-3100. Hemlock Lodge in the Natural Bridge State Resort Park has information on the state park and complimentary trail maps and guides for Natural Bridge.
AMOUNT OF TIME NEEDED: Allow less than a half of a day (1-2 hours) to enjoy this hike.
DIRECTIONS TO TRAILHEAD:
- From rest area at exit #33 off of the Mountain State Parkway Turn right onto KY-11, and go to the entrance to Natural Bridge State Resort Park (2.4 miles)
- Turn Right into Natural Bridge State Resort Park and follow signs to Hemlock Lodge (0.2 miles)
- Park in Hemlock Lodge Parking Area or at the base of the Skylift depending on which trail you have chosen to take to the top of Natural Bridge.
- Select a route such as the Natural Bridge via Balance Rock and the Original Trail and arrive on top of Natural Bridge.
- From the top of Natural Bridge cross to the side with the chairlift (across from the pagoda). Cross underneath the top of the Skylift.
- Follow Trail #9 Laurel Ridge Trail to the end of the trail at Lover’s Leap. About 0.25 miles after beginning the trail you will pass Lookout Point on your right, take a short break here and enjoy the view. (0.75 miles)
- Return to Natural Bridge on Trail #9 Laurel Ridge Trail, cross back and find Trail #1 Original Trail descending on the right side of Natural Bridge. (0.75 miles)
- Descend from Natural Bridge by selecting another route such as the Natural Bridge via Balance Rock and the Original Trail.