Catch-up Post… Natural Bridge, Part I – Sat, July 5 to Mon, Jul 7, 2014

Saturday, July 5, 2014 – Just Chilling ;o))
Our campground before the July 4th crowd arrived!!00 - Campground when we left for hike
Our campground after the July 3rd, 4th & 5th crowd arrived ;o((00b- Campground when we returned from hike02 - View to the right01 - View to the left
We decided to just chill until they leave tomorrow, Sunday, the 6th ;o))
Sunday, July 6, 2014 – A Hike… Sort Of !!

Today, most of the Holiday Campers are packing up to leave.  However, the roads around the State Park and Red River Gorge will still be busy with Sunday Tourists!!  So we decided to do a hike which is close by… but one that is not used to much.

The Whittleton Branch Hike (#216) is two miles one way and begins behind the Whittleton Campground in the State Park.  However, the trail actually is in the Red River Gorge Area.

00 - Whittleton Branch and Arch Trail Map

The trail starts at the back of Whittleton Campground which is just north of Middle Fork campground.  You park at the entrance to Whittleton Campground and hike to the trailhead in the back.

Click on any photo to enlarge or hover your mouse on any photo for a description.
We planned to hike 1 mile to where the trail meets the Whittleton Arch Trail (#217) which is a 1/4 mile spur trail to see the arch.  Then we would come back and hike the second mile to Rt. 15 and turn around for the 2 mile return hike.
01 - Whittleton Branch Trailhead      01a - Whittleton Branch Trailhead
02 - Pretty hike along Whittleton Branch      03 - Amazing Tree roots
04 - Rock Scrambling
Whittleton Branch Arch Spur Trail begins at the bridge.
05 - Whittleton Arch Trail     05b - Whittleton Arch Trail Sign
06 - Short Trail uphill      07 - Approaching Whittleton Arch
08 - It's a Big Arch, but waterfall was dried up
As I hiked the short trail to the arch, I was beginning to sweat which is very unusual for me.  By the time I arrived, I snapped one picture and told Bill we needed to head back to the motorhome.  It became very apparent that I was getting sick with some sort of stomach/intestinal thing;o(( 
I just couldn’t believe it.  The Doctor warned us that Bill needed to watch out for the “Big D” because of the high dose of antibiotic he was taking.  So we made sure to adjust our diet to help avoid any problems. Well, he is doing great:o))  However, I must have caught some bug while we were in the hospital and I was the one who got the “Big D” ;-(
So we cut the hike short. I spent the rest of the day sleeping, consuming clear liquids and doing what one does when they have the “Big D” !!!
Monday, July 7, 2014 – Red River Gorge Scenic Byway!!
I woke this morning feeling better, but not ready for any major hiking.  We decided to drive the Red River Gorge Scenic Byway.  Its about a 40 mile drive with several rest areas and restrooms in case I might still need them;o)
We packed our lunch and headed out!!
Click on any photo to enlarge or hover your mouse on any photo for a description.
00 - Red River Gorge Geological Scenic Byway
00a - Red River Gorge Geological Area Map 
We picked up the Scenic Byway on Rt 77 just northwest of the State Park.
01 - Tour Start - Rt15 & 77 right turn to Nada Tunnel
Not far down the road, we came to Nada Tunnel which is one lane, dark and NARROW!!02 - Nada Tunnel Sign02a - Approaching Nada Tunnel 02b -  Nada Tunnel Narrow and Dark
Really hate taking pictures from the car and in the dark ;o((
The byway continues through some beautiful wilderness. It is a narrow two way road, but I don’t believe we passed more than five cars during our entire trip. On weekends, it is a favorite ride for motorcycle groups and can be very busy!!
03 - Pretty Drive

From Rt. 77, we turned right onto Rt 715 and followed it to The Gladie Learning Center. Be sure to stop and check it out.  They have a short film, many displays, and a restored homestead to explore.  This is also the place to get good maps and info on hiking in the Red River Gorge!!

04 - Gladie Learning Center Sign 04b - Gladie Learning Center04c - Gladie Learning Center - display
Click on any photo to enlarge or hover your mouse on any photo for a description.
We continued along the scenic drive…  just lovely!!!

05 - Narrow birdge over Red River 05b - Red River very low
06 - Byway is narrow, hilly and winding, but very good condition

Our next stop was at the Sky Bridge Recreation Area. 07 - Sky Bridge Rec Area
There is a hike to the bridge, but we decided today wasn’t the day for that;o) 
Instead, we walked the short path to an overlook, but couldn’t see the bridge.

07a - walkway to overlook 07b - view from overlook

Our final stop for today was at Whistling Arch Trail (#234), another short walk:o)08 - Whistling Arch Trail #234 - .25 miles 08b - Whistling Arch easy walk through the Rhododendron
Another pretty arch!!
08c - Whistling Arch first view 08d - Whistling Arch looking thru the arch
As you continue on Rt 715, the byway turns  right onto Rt 15. 
We stayed on Rt 715 until it intersected with Rt 11. 
There we made a right onto Rt 11 and headed back to the campground.

9 - Rt 11 back to campground

It was a wonderful drive and we now know where we want to come back and explore!! 


  1. Hope you're feeling better now, you wore yourself out taking care of Bill!

    And thanks for the tip, I know now not to thaw my frozen TNT next to a fire! :cD

  2. Boy that hike you took before you didn't feel well gives new meaning to a rocky trail. Great that you were able to take the drive the very next day even if you had to stick to short hikes. This looks like a wonderful area that I knew nothing about so I'm grateful for your posts and information.

  3. Sorry to hear you picked up a bug . . . that's no fun at all! Hope you're back to 100% really soon, and back to enjoying the great outdoors!

  4. Hope you're much better by now :)