I generally feel like a summer weekend spent outside is a summer weekend well spent. From working in the yard to attending a festival to enjoying a patio to cooling off in the water, I love it all. Perhaps my favorite outdoor activities are those that involve water, nature, exercise, and dogs. The Rock Bridge Trail in Red River Gorge hits all of those marks!
Named for its natural “rock bridge” arch over water (the only one in the Red River Gorge), Rock Bridge Trail offers one of the most picturesque hikes in the Gorge. The 1.4 mile loop trail is rated as easy to moderate and runs along Swift Camp Creek for much of the journey. The Creek leads to a shallow pool with a sandy beach in front of beautiful Creation Falls that is perfect for dogs and humans alike to splash around in. If you’re making a day of it, there’s a small clearing for a nice picnic spot surrounded by lush greenery, including rhododendron, broadleaf magnolia, tulip poplar, laurel, and hemlock trees. You can also access other trails in the Gorge, such as Turtleback Arch Loop and Swift Camp Creek #219.
I recommend allowing 1-2 hours for this hike, which should give you more than enough time to keep a leisurely pace and enjoy the waterfall and arch when you pass. Much of the trail is partially paved with rough asphalt or gravel, and it begins and ends at a parking lot with a picnic area and restrooms. It does descend into a ravine, but there are stone steps in the steep sections. It isn’t suited for stroller or wheelchair access.
Rock Bridge Trail is about an hour and ten minutes from downtown Lexington, Kentucky. Take I-64E to the Bert T. Combs Mountain Parkway. Take exit 40 off the Parkway near Pine Ridge, Kentucky, and head west on KY 14. Turn right on KY 715, travel 0.3 miles, and turn right onto Rock Bridge Road (Forest Service Road 24). You’ll know you’re close when you see a small log cabin on your right and a sign on your left. Follow this road (it was gravel the last time I visited) for 3 miles, and it will end at the Rock Bridge Picnic Area where you will find the trail head. You can see Google Maps directions here. Officially, the Rock Bridge Trail is named Daniel Boone National Forest Trail #207.
I highly recommend a visit!
© 2017 – Amelia Adams