With stunning geological features and sweeping views, Natural Bridge is one of the most popular outdoor destinations in not only Kentucky but the entire region. Both Natural Bridge State Resort Park and its namesake rock formation sit within the popular climbing and outdoor mecca known as the Red River Gorge Geologic Area. Formed over millions of years, the sandstone arch stretches more than 75 feet long and 65 feet high.
There are several options for exploring Natural Bridge. One unique way is by sky lift, which soars through forest canopies to the top of the ridge, affording complete views of the arch. After you’ve admired the formation from afar, a short trail takes you from the sky lift drop-off to the base of Natural Bridge, which visitors are encouraged to walk across. Take advantage of the park’s lodge and campgrounds to make your visit into a vacation amid some of the Bluegrass State’s prettiest settings. Discover the legendary places and experiences that inspired Daniel Boone to proclaim: “Heaven must be a Kentucky kind of place.”
The world’s longest cave system, Mammoth Cave National Park, has added 8 miles to its length, bringing the total length of the south-central Kentucky cave system to 420 miles. The additional mileage was mapped and documented by the Cave Research Foundation. The park has also been officially designated as an International Dark-Sky Park, recognizing the exceptional quality of night skies in the park and opportunities for astronomy-based interpretive programming in the park. This is the first Kentucky site to receive this certification. The park is open daily for tours.
Louisville’s Waterfront Botanical Gardens plans to add a touch of zen with the creation of an authentic Japanese garden just north of the current Graeser Family Education Center. The 2-acre garden will include a Tea House, summer house, Zen Garden, bonsai garden, pond, waterfall and traditional arched bridge. Construction began 2022 and will take 15-18 months.
Pikeville – This eastern Kentucky mountain town, famous for the legendary Hatfield-McCoy feud, offers astonishingly beautiful views. The Pikeville Cut-Through Project (completed in 1987) is one of the largest and most impressive civil engineering feats in history. The Cut-Through overlook sits atop a majestic mountain – the perfect place for a picnic and adventures. One such adventure Pikeville offers is the Zip Paddle and Saddle Tour. Soar through the trees and over the mountainsides, paddle down the serene Levisa Fork of the Big Sandy River and ride a horse through the picturesque mountains.
Woodlands Trace – Running along a ridge of land between Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley, Woodlands Trace is a beautiful, easy drive in rolling terrain with opportunities to pull off and explore on your own or at developed interpretive facilities. Travel this byway through Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area and take in the seasonal splendors of nature, with blossoming trees and flowers in spring and summer, brilliant foliage in the fall and the open view in the forest in the winter.