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The sandstone arch that gives Natural Bridge State Park its name. ~ photo by KSNPC staff

Natural Bridge State Park Nature Preserve

Location: Powell County
Size: 1,188 acres
Access: Open to the publicOpen to Public

Kentucky Department of Parks
Kentucky Department of Parks
Purchased with Assistance of:  
* Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund

Link to Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund
Dedicated Dec. 16, 1981, Natural Bridge State Park Nature Preserve today consists of approximately 1,188 acres and is located in Powell County. The preserve lies within the boundaries of Natural Bridge State Resort Park. This area was dedicated into the nature preserves system to protect a significant geological system and rare species habitat.

The rare Virginia big-eared bat (Corynorhinus townsendii virginianus), a federally endangered species, occurs at this preserve. The Hood Branch watershed supports one of the most diverse macroinvertebrate communities in the Kentucky River system, indicating excellent water quality. Fortunately, the entire watershed lies within the preserve and state park boundaries, which provides protection for this diverse aquatic community.

  • Features - Natural bridge, rare species, scenic views
  • Access - 13 miles of trail over uneven terrain, moderate to strenuous
  • Facilities - state resort park
  • Parking - abundant
  • Hazards - cliffs, venomous snakes (rare)
  • Activities - hiking, nature study, geological study
  • Directions - Powell County. From the junction of the Mountain Parkway and KY 11 at Slade, follow KY 11 south for two miles to the Natural Bridge State Resort Park entrance.

State nature preserves located within Kentucky state parks are special places with different management priorities. While the parks are there primarily for public recreation, the acreage that has been dedicated as a nature preserve is set aside for the rare, threatened or endangered species and communities that occur there. KSNPC is focused on management for these species and communities while providing opportunities for scientific research and nonconsumptive recreation. For information concerning use of state park facilities, programs, recreation opportunities and lodging visit the Natural Bridge State Resort Park Web site.