The Kentucky River is pretty cool (albeit a little dirty), in case you weren’t already aware. It’s got bridges and dams aplenty. It’s got cool rocks and high cliffs galore. So in light of all these interesting destinations, a friend and I decided to dedicate our Friday adventure solely to attractions along the river with an end goal of catching High Bridge at sunset.
The Original Plan consisted of six locations. We ended up taking out two along the way based on time and location constraints. What I’ve laid out below is the best of the best, and some other stuff too.
Raven Run is a beautiful nature sanctuary between Lexington and Richmond on the Kentucky River. It has a network of trails boasting of cliffs, creeks, waterfalls, and wildlife which culminate in an overlook of the river. 10/10 highly recommend, although try not to sneak in after the gates close at dark because the gatekeeper will find you and mistake you for some hoodlums who had recently given him trouble and tell you he never wants to see you around the sanctuary again.
Lock and Dam #9
We came. We saw. We were too scared to hop a fence and trespass through somebody’s pig/mule field to get a better look at the dam. What a cop-out, I know. Maybe next time.
Old Danville Pike Bridge
This whole area is amazing. I found the bridge just surfing around on Google Earth looking for some cool picture spots. Lo and behold, there are a bunch of interesting things here, and the bridge is closed to traffic which made it substantially easier to explore.
Across the river is a pretty beat up RV park, and tucked up in the cliff behind the park are some old foundation and chimney ruins. I imagine (not having done my research) that the area used to be full of roadside attractions when the Old Danville Pike was the main road.
Speaking of the main road, on the north side of the river, there is a huge hill between Old Danville Pike and the current US 27. With a little bit of climbing onto the old terraced bedrock and a lot of uphill hiking, we discovered that the hill actually opens up to a beautiful view from directly above US 27.
High Bridge (the crown jewel)
Finally, we made it to High Bridge with plenty of time to spare. We walked around the park to find the best vantage point of the bridge and came up with this:
Maybe not the best shot of the bridge there ever was, but the sun was in a great location so I’m satisfied for now.
After some park exploration, we shifted our focus to the bridge itself and climbed our way down below. This is where the magic happens. The shear magnitude of this superstructure really comes together with the raw sight of every beam connection and truss plate, with the complexity of steel that makes up this behemoth of a bridge.
As the sun set, we went up top and strolled all the way across the river, 300ft above the water, just to say we did. It was calm up there. It was nice. What a day.