Sky Bridge forms an arch with an opening 74-feet in length and 23-feet high. It is one of the largest and perhaps the most beautiful of more than 100 natural arches to be found in the Red River Gorge. Sky Bridge belongs to the finished arch class since its surfaces are graceful and smooth.
Sky Bridge is reached by a gravel side road off the main loop through the Gorge. There is a small parking lot and a short hiking trail which leads over the top of the arch and then descends and comes back under it, before climbing a flight of stairs on the return trip.
A narrow gravel road, Chimney Top Scenic Drive, leads about four miles off the KY-715 loop road to the Chimney Top parking area. You will find restrooms here. Cars going in opposite directions on this narrow gravel road can just barely pass one another if it is done at a snails pace.
An easy 2/3-mile round trip hike takes takes hikers right to the cliff top above the Gorge. Chimney Top, about 200-feet-high and 600 feet above the Red River, is a slump block created by a joint fracture that has broken away from the cliff face and is about 3 1/2 feet from it. It can be a spooky place if you suffer from acrophobia. Sturdy guard rails keep visitors back from the edges, but some idiots, like those pictured here, climb over the rails and court death. It's not a funny matter. Several have died here, including two hang gliders, both from Cincinnati, just one day apart. Hang gliding has not been allowed from the rock since that time.
The Chimney top provides a spectacular unobstructed panoramic view of several miles of the lower Red River Gorge. It just may take your breath away.
To accomodate the growing number of visitors to the Red River Gorge Geological Area, the Gladie Cultural-Environmental Learning Center was opened in early 2004. It is owned and operated by the Daniel Boone National Forest. Here you can learn about the cultural heritage, unique resources and spectacular geology of the area.
The center offers several interesting exhibits and also provides trail, camping and other information. Maps, passes, books and souvenirs are available for purchase.
The Center is open seven days a week, spring through fall, 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
An easy half mile hike from the Chimney Top parking lot leads to this very lovely arch. With its 32-foot length and 8-foot height, it is not one of the most spectacular arches, but its gently curved surfaces give the viewer an attractive example of what is known in geologic terms as a finished arch. The trail ends at the top of the arch. If you want to see it from underneath, go back up the trail about 70 feet and you will find a small unmarked path through the underbrush that leads down a steep grade to the base of the arch.
The cliffs just beyond the arch are very high and there are no guardrails. A marker at the trailhead memorializes one young man who lost his life by falling there.
At the Slade (Ky-11) exit off of the Mountain Parkway you will see a rest area and a red caboose next to it. This is the Natural Bridge/Powell County Information Center operated by the Chamber of Commerce. It is an excellent first stop in visiting the area because you will need a free map of the Red River Gorge in order to find all the many interesting features which are to be seen there.
If the Information Center happens to be closed, go about 1/4 mile south on KY-11 to the Daniel Boone Trading Post and you can get a free map there as well.
The Gladie Cabin, a reconstructed log house, is the only structure in the Gorge that dates back to the late 1800's. It is furnished with authentic period pieces and open for public viewing, administered by the Daniel Boone National Forest. Up the hill from the house is an old barn which displays several pieces of century-old farm equipment which we found of special interest.
On Shawntee Trail (Sp?) There is a suspension bridge a little past the Gladie historical site. It crosses the Red River. I recommend hiking down and crossing the bridge.