Balanced Rock Trail
ElevationAscent: 352' 107 m
Descent: -16' -5 m
High: 1,252' 382 m
Low: 916' 279 m
GradeAvg Grade: 11% (6°)
Max Grade: 27% (15°)
Popular runs nearby
Rough Trail 25K
14.9 mi 24.0 km • Loop • 3,772 ft Ascent 1149.67 m Ascent
Auxier - Courthouse Loop
4.8 mi 7.7 km • Loop • 669 ft Ascent 203.81 m Ascent
Hanson's Point Loop
9.7 mi 15.6 km • Loop • 1,782 ft Ascent 543.2 m Ascent
Sheltowee - Osborne Loop
19.8 mi 31.9 km • Loop • 2,474 ft Ascent 754.15 m Ascent
Swift Camp Creek to Wildcat Trail Loop
5.3 mi 8.6 km • Loop • 624 ft Ascent 190.21 m Ascent
Bald Rock Loop
4.5 mi 7.3 km • Loop • 624 ft Ascent 190.2 m Ascent
“Stairs, lots and lots of stairs—some wooden, some stone—but quiet and scenic as well.”— Eli Caudill
Features Birding · Cave · Fall Colors · Spring · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
The Balanced Rock Trail has the interesting distinction of being the steepest trail at Natural Bridge State Resort Park. Because of this, the trail is one of the least-trafficked (at least the portion above the balanced rock) at that park—although I have no numbers to prove that, it's fairly obvious when you only pass a couple of other users during peak seasons. Many people to run from the Lodge to the Balanced Rock and then turn back, so that section of the trail can be busy.
The trailhead is located off of the sidewalk behind the Hemlock Lodge. You'll face your first set of rock stairs right off the bat, barely a warm up. You'll be somewhat rewarded with a view of a cave entrance, but because of vandalism and "White-Nose Syndrome" among bats, the cave is not open to the public any longer. As I understand it, tours can be scheduled, but I'm not certain about the details.
As you pass the cave you encounter more stairs. It's only a short jaunt to the Balanced Rock from here, though. You'll see it come up on your left side. It's really hard to miss. A small wonder of geology, due to the way the rock was weathered and eroded, you wind up with one of the best examples of a pedestal rock east of the Rocky Mountains.
From Balanced Rock on, it's up, up, up. You'll run up past the base of a sandstone cliff known as "Rocky Point." From there, it's on up to where you'll pass the Sand Gap Trail junction and shortly arrive at the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corp) Wooden Shelter located near the Natural Bridge itself.
Flora & Fauna
Land Manager: Kentucky State Parks - Natural Bridge State Resort Park