Kentucky Road Trip: Natural Bridge State Park and Red River Rockhouse

September 22, 2012
 
During the summer of 2012, my husband and I made it a point to visit a few places around central Kentucky that were new to us, or that we have put off year after year. One place I reviewed a few weeks ago, The Bluebird, is a wonderful restaurant serving local foods in the small town of Stanford, Kentucky.
Our next stop included food, but some activity too. Kentucky is pretty well-known in the world of rock climbing for Red River Gorge, an area located in south eastern Kentucky, only about 45 minutes from Lexington. Nearby is Natural Bridge State Park, surrounded by Daniel Boone National Forest. For those of us who aren’t rock climbers, this may be a better fit. 
Walk up to the Natural Bridge
 
The natural bridge is just that – a natural sandstone bridge that arches  65 ft above the ground. The area is beautiful, and a nice place to spend the day hiking especially in late summer or early autumn. 
View of the bridge

 

Walking across the Natural Bridge

View from on top of the Natural Bridge
After a day of activity, you’ll likely be hungry. Until recently, pickings were limited. You could eat the traditional Kentucky buffet at the resort park, or there is always Miguel’s, the pizza place very popular among rock climbers. 
A few months ago, I had the pleasure of meeting the owner of a new place that opened up in the area. In fact, they are celebrating their one-year anniversary this weekend. I had promised to visit soon, so we knew what our lunch would be on this trip. 

The Red River Rockhouse is a cool little burger joint that has the charm of a quaint coffee shop. They source their meats from local farms, and they offer plenty of vegetarian and vegan options. And because they are located just across the county line, they also serve beer. 

 

 

 
Now, I have to be completely honest. If you are not a rock climber, you will be an outsider. That’s not to say that everyone isn’t incredibly friendly. They are. But you will likely get a few stares as you pull up to the parking lot. That is something I wasn’t expecting the first time I went to the other eating option in the area, Miguel’s. Rockhouse did seem to be a little more diverse with more locals as well as traveling climbers, but there is no doubt that I have – I’m not a climber – written all over me. But hey, when good food is involved, I step out of my comfort zone. 
We got there early so they needed to change the breakfast menu over to lunch, but we were still able to get a burger. A good burger too, with grass-fed beef from a Clark County farm. Unlike just about everyone I know, I don’t like thick burgers. I like thin, griddle style burgers that have crispy edges. It’s difficult to get a grass-fed burger like this, but if you like them too, then the Rockhouse is the place for you.
We left happy, full, and exhausted. (I think my exhaustion had a little bit to do with my 2 hour adrenaline rush due to my fear of snakes, but that is a story for another time. The burger got my mind off of it.) 
If you find yourself enjoying some of Kentucky’s gorgeous parks soon, be sure to seek out the Rockhouse. Oh, and a tip for finding it – just keep driving. The sign will jump out at you at the last minute, and you’ll have to turn around and go back. But that’s part of the fun in driving in rural Kentucky. Enjoy! 
Red River Rockhouse
4000 KY Route 11
Campton, KY 41301
http://redriverrockhouse.com/
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  • Sonia ~ Nasi Lemak Lover September 23, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    Beautiful natural place.,it is interesting to see burger serve in the red basket and it sound yummy!

  • Reeni Pisano September 24, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    What a gorgeous place! Everything on the menu looks delicious! I’m more of a skinny burger girl too.

  • Velva September 24, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    Kentucky is a beautiful state. Your hiking trip one that would make for a good day-the food was a bonus.

    Thanks for taking us along with you.

    Velva