Natural Bridge at Red River Gorge

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If cell phones and city noise have got you down, you needn’t do more than drive two hours south for a mind-refresh in Red River Gorge.
The natural bridge is worth seeing. It’s a huge bridge, naturally carved out of stone. This is by all measures cool. It’s a three-quarter mile hike from where you park your car, and if you’re taking kids, the whole family’s sanity stands to benefit from sticking to the (still great) trails nearby. But if you’re looking for solitude, you might not find much there, as it does carry the Disney World–trappings of a main attraction. Seriously: There’s a gift shop.

In such an instance, however, the bridge is still a great starting point for the more extensive network of hiking trails that link there, which can take you miles out. If you opt for the 7.5 mile sand gap trail (the longest), you will be out on the uninhabited fringes. The trail is worn enough for you follow along, but not so much so that you lose the lost-in-the-woods feeling—and although long and at times narrow, it’s generally pretty level. For a shorter (and steeper) trip back to your starting place, try the low gap and rock garden trails; they’re quite scenic (rock garden: monolithic rocks, not pet rocks) and a fairly different type of hike.
And you know that “airplane mode” feature on your iPhone? Use it. You get all the anxiety-calming of having a means of communication in case something goes awry, all the memory-keeping capabilities of the camera function, and—best—all the stress-removing of no one can contact you. Chirp, chirp said the little birds. Not the Twitter account.

Stop into rock climbing crowd–favorite Miguel’s Pizza to fuel up before heading home. Because not replenishing the calories you just burned would be a terrible waste of delicious pizza.

2135 Natural Bridge Rd., Slade, Kentucky

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