Location: Powell County (about 50 miles east of Lexington)
Distance: Choose your own adventure (our choice was ~5.5 miles round trip)
Entry Fee: $0
Last Sunday Paul got really amped to go for a hike. So we got up nice and early, dropped Spike off at daycare (Marsha), and headed east into Powell County. Which is dry. So no post-hike beer.
You may remember our last real hike in Kentucky, which pretty much turned me off to hiking here forever. I am a fan of hiking (see: origin of this blog), but round here it takes some serious convincing that we are going to a heavily populated area with absolutely no hunting within a 100 mile radius for me to go. Turns out Natural Bridge is like the HOTTEST tourist attraction in Kentucky outside of Derby, which was enough to convince me we wouldn’t be confused for deer.
After a post-drive bathroom break and some superior mullet spotting at the Hemlock Lodge, we headed out on the Original trailhead, then veered off onto the Hoods Branch Trail (the trip from the lodge up to the bridge ranges anywhere from .75 miles-4 miles.) Our mishmash route was about 3 miles to the top.
This site is adjacent to the Red River Gorge, so the rocks started getting pretty cool pretty quick.
I can’t really speak to this personally, but apparently rocks like this are a rock climber’s dream.
…so of course Paul started up with this.
the whole. hike. up.
We eventually “climbed” our way up to the bridge…
…where the final stretch to get up to the bridge must prevent about 85% of the state’s population from actually experiencing the view from the top.
It is a seriously tight squeeze, I felt a little claustrophobic going through. I am genuinely curious if anyone’s ever gotten stuck before.
We got to the top and it was…
…completely void of any barriers to keep people from falling off.
This made me nervous.
After that it was back on the trail…
…with a quick stop at the chair lift station to buy some more water from the two teenage kids in their John Deer hats sitting there drinking Ale 8 and listening to country music.
Best job ever.
Then it was down, down, down.
The “stairs” really were that steep.
And…back to the car! Then, of course, a stop by Miguel’s, the climber hangout, for full pizza with potatoes, mushrooms, and kielbasa.
Holy crap, delicious.
Fun, short hike, nice views, worth the trip to see one of the Seven Wonders of the Commonwealth.