Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Trip Report: Red River Gorge, Kentucky

Between our family's first trip to South Haven, Michigan in November and April, the holidays came and went, our niece/cousin arrived, and we sold our house and moved an hour away. So needless to say, while we had a few hometown adventures throughout the winter, we didn't get to do much traveling in those months.

By the time April rolled around, we were ready to resume traveling as a family. So we rented this cabin near the Natural Bridge State Park. It had two bedrooms, a full kitchen, two bathrooms, and a nice living/dining area. We loved the outdoor area--a beautiful deck and just down a gravel road from a beautiful rock formation. It also had a hot tub, which wasn't working when we visited, but we got $20 a night off our rental.

The cabin was about a 3 hour drive from our house, so we broke up the ride with a stop at the Louisville Zoo. Its not the biggest or nicest zoo I've ever been to, but it had all the typical animals you'd expect and the size of the place was just about right for a 1-year old. His favorite (and our favorite) had to be the giraffes and the carousel, so don't miss those if you visit.

When we arrived in Stanton, KY, the cabin rental staff gave us a list of nearby restaurants and attractions. Because this area is fairly remote, I had not been able to do much trip research in advance online. So their suggestions were helpful. We ate at a Mexican spot that first night and stopped at the grocery store to pick up picnic supplies for lunch the next day.

The next day we took a morning hike near the Nada Tunnel. It was gorgeous. (The trails are well marked on the map provided by the cabin rental company... you'll see a small parking lot just past the tunnel.)

That afternoon we headed into the state park. From there, we took a sky lift ride to the top of Natural Bridge, and then hiked to Balanced Rock. The views were amazing. Then the sky lift took us back down. If you have a really squirmy kid, I definitely suggest you secure them to yourself somehow before getting on the lift. Its very high off the ground. The park is free, but the lift has a reasonable charge.
That night we had a great meal at Miguels, a local pizza joint that is a hot spot for mountain climbers. The Gorge is a great area for climbing, apparently. The license plates in the parking lot ranged from Texas to Ontario. So fun! We ended the night with a trip to the playground in the state park, and we were lucky enough to be able to watch the ducks go by.

We wanted to explore the horse parks in Lexington on our way back home the last day, but it was pouring raining so we just drove straight back to Indiana. Another fabulous trip under our belts!

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