The awe-inspiring beauty of Natural Bridge State Resort Park is an inspiration to those who wish to see one of the great natural wonders of Kentucky. The Kentucky Nature Preserves Commission has set aside 1,188 acres within the park as a nature preserve. This not only protects, but also enhances the pristine beauty of this eastern Kentucky marvel.
Natural Bridge Hoedown
The famous Natural Bridge Hoedowns have been a popular tradition at Natural Bridge for over 45 years! Natural Bridge State Resort Park and square dance caller, Jane Bolin, invite you on Saturdays from May through October to Hoedown Island for some easy to learn Appalachian square dancing, line dancing, two-stepping, polka’s, waltzes and other couple and individual dances. The warm-up dance starts at 6:30 pm and the regular dance program begins at 7:30 pm. Admission is $3.00/person (ages 12 & under are free). As an outdoor event, there is the possibility of cancellation if inclement weather is forecast or occurs.
The best time to bird watch is in May and June when the woodland warblers (and other neotropical birds) return and are most vocal and active. The Fall migration is also good, in late September. Winter bird watching at the park can be fun because many of the leaves have dropped, making it easier to view various species of woodpeckers, kinglets, nuthatches, wrens, and sparrows. Year-round residents inlcude northern cardinal, American goldfinch, indigo bunting, song sparrow, belted kingfisher, American crow, great blue heron, wild turkey, pileated woodpecker, Carolina chickadee, tufted titmouse, white-breasted nuthatch, and Carolina wren. Best places to spot our feathered friends: Hood’s Branch Trail, Rock Garden Trail, Whittleton Branch Trail, Lakeside Trail, Mill Creek Lake, Picnic Shelter 3 & 4 area.
Enjoy the great outdoors in a park campsite. Two campgrounds, Whittleton Campground and Middle Fork Campground, provide 87 sites with utilities. Tent campsites are also available. Dump stations and two central service buildings with restrooms and showers are furnished for your convenience. Closed Nov 15 - Mar 15.
Canoes are available for rental Memorial Day through Labor Day.
Mill Creek Lake is a small peaceful lake surrounded by beautiful forest and towering sandstone cliffs. Bass, bluegill, black crappie, longear sunfish, green sunfish, rainbow trout, channel catfish and black bullhead are found here. The lake is also perfect for paddling canoes and kayaks and a launch ramp is available for fishing boats (only electric trolling motors may be operated).
The ten hiking trails range from one-half mile to seven-and-one-half miles. Trail maps are available at the Hemlock Lodge.
Due to it's Nature Preserve status, dogs are not allowed on hiking trails at this park except for the Whittleton Trail (managed by the U.S. Forest Service). It is pet friendly and can be accessed via the Park’s Whittleton Campground.
Kayak rentals available Memorial Day through Labor Day.
Adults and children can enjoy playing 18 holes of mini golf located at picnic shelter #2 near the skylift parking area. Mini golf balls and putters can be rented at the Mini Golf Snack Bar, or if closed, at the front desk of the Hemlock Lodge. ($) Open seasonally.
Pedal boats are no longer available until further notice.
Four picnic shelters with rest rooms, tables, grills, and a playground are located throughout the park. Shelters available for rental up to one year in advance. Fee charged for shelter rental.
For a more relaxing climb to natural bridge, enjoy a ride on the sky lift. The ascent begins one-half mile from the park entrance and ends within 600 feet of Natural Bridge. Open daily first weekend of April through the last weekend in October. For pricing call: (606) 663-2922.
The pool complex is tucked between the lake and the cliff beneath Hemlock Lodge. The complex includes a spacious stone bathhouse, and a zero-depth (one can enter pool without steps) pool that holds 80,000 gallons of water. The main pool has a "river" theme with directional water jets and floor bubblers. Next to the main pool is a new fenced wading pool with floor bubbles and fountain.