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Ky.gov An Official Website of the Commonwealth of Kentucky
Red River Gorge

Division of Abandoned Mine Lands
Tour 2 - Natural Bridges

 
The Red River Gorge and the Natural Bridge State Park are part of a scenic area that encompasses over 30,000 acres of canyons, high sandstone cliffs, rock shelters and over 100 natural rock arches. The rugged topography offers a diverse variety of plants, wildlife and archeological treasures.

The sandstone arch that is called Natural Bridge has stood for millenniums. The arch is 78 feet long, 65 feet high, 12 feet thick and 20 feet wide. Some geologists believe that the stunning natural sandstone arch is at least a million years old. There are other natural archways in the area, but none have gained the prominence of Natural Bridge​. Since 1889, visitors have made the trip to the eastern Kentucky mountains to see this amazing natural wonder.
 
In 1889 the Kentucky Union Railway established a rail line through the town of Slade to connect with some of the Commonwealth’s most extensive timber resources. Railroad executives also sensed the potential for visitors to come to the area to witness the spectacular beauty of the land. The railroad acquired the land around Natural Bridge and began to build trails and campgrounds. The Louisville & Nashville Railroad later acquired the property and in 1926, donated the lands around Natural Bridge to the state park system, becoming one of the four original state parks.
 
The Red River Gorge is a unique, scenic natural area that attracts thousands of visitors each year. Spectacular rock features, including sandstone arches and towering cliffs, are just part of the attraction. Outdoor enthusiasts come to the gorge year-round to enjoy hiking, camping, canoeing, wildlife viewing and other recreation opportunities.
 
 


This tour will feature a day of beautiful scenery with stops at Sky Bridge and Natural Bridge. Mild to moderate walking/hiking can be expected and guests should wear comfortable shoes and suitable clothing. Guests will ride the Natural Bridge Sky Lift to the top of that majestic arch. In the afternoon, the tour will visit the Kentucky Processing AML enhancement site. This is a coal wash facility, located near the Kentucky River, that is actively processing and shipping coal from a 400 acre pre-law coal refuse dump.


 
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