Buck Hill Trail
A leisurely stroll through recently logged hardwoods and past old ruins. The park asks that you leave no trace; pack out everything you carry in, collect your pet's waste, keep pets on a lease, be aware of bears, and leave only footprints.
Accessible from the Caverns at Natural Bridge—a separate entity from Natural Bridge State Park—the parking/picnic area there is a sign for the Buck Hill Trail. Immediately after entering the woods the trail forks. This description follows the left fork, heading in a clockwise direction. The trail is marked with green blazes and is easy to follow. The forest here is composed of young oak, hickory, and poplar.
There is an easy uphill around a bowl above the entrance to the Caverns followed by a set of five stone steps before the grade becomes flat as it passes over a shoulder. There are eight wooden steps during a short climb.
Buck Hill Trail continues straight making an easy climb to a short flat section. Here there is a bench dedicated to the trail’s builders. After the bench, the trail descends through series a “S” turns before crossing a narrow hollow near a small sink hole on the left. Past the sinkhole, there is a short climb to an old road. Turn right on the road. The distance is 0.5 miles.
Once on the logging road, there is a short climb to a small saddle before descending steeply to a small drainage. After crossing the drainage, it climbs again. There is a Blackberry thicket on the right. They make a delicious snack in the early summer!
The short climb is followed by another easy drop. At the end of this drop there is a signpost for the Buck Hill Trail. The distance is 0.9 miles. The trail exits the logging road to the right and becomes a path again. Shortly after entering the woods, the trail turns right again.
There is an easy climb around the flank of Buck Hill. The forest is composed of larger hardwoods including Black Cherry, Tulip Poplar and White Ash. There is even some American Holly in the understory. At the end of this climb, the trail is primarily flat punctuated by a series of easy ups and downs as it passes through several small hollows coming down from the right. The distance is 1.25 miles. The path bends to the left and begins to descend.
At the end of the descent, there is a right bend followed by a left bend through another narrow hollow. There is a huge dead Red Oak on the left. It crosses an old, paved road and turns left back into the woods. Almost immediately, the Buck Hill Trail crosses a small footbridge. The distance to the footbridge is 1.4 miles.
A short distance later, there is a second road. The trail turns right and follows the road about fifty feet before turning left back into the woods. Here there is an old stone foundation and cinder block building. The path begins with an easy uphill section. This is followed by a short steep descent (1.55 miles). Stone steps have been laid to make the drop easy. The end of this drop is marked by passing between two small boulders. The descent is followed by an easy climb to a narrow hollow, and through a left bend. A second left bend is followed by an easy descent. Here the forest opens back up. Small hardwoods dominate the forest canopy. The easy descent continues to the wooden post. Turn left to head back to the parking area.
Download Natural Bridge State Park Trail Guide to explore the park's 7 miles of hiking trails!
Natural Bridge State Park Activities
Snap a selfie with the Virginia is for Lovers LOVEworks.
Did you know the park is an official International Dark Sky Park? Visitors may stargaze on Skyline Trail with a self-guided experience on Tuesday nights April–October. Special dark sky events lead by rangers or knowledgeable volunteers run March–December.
Interested in stargazing and learning about the night sky? Plan a visit during one of Natural Bridge State Park Dark Sky Night Programs.
From the Lexington Visitor Center, drive east on Washington Street to a left at the stoplight onto East Nelson Street (US-60). Continue .2 mile to a right onto Lee Highway (US-11 S Bypass). Drive .9 mile to a left at the stoplight, continuing south on Lee Highway/US-11 for 11 miles. Once you pass Natural Bridge Zoo and Dino Kingdom II you will see the park's gateway sign on the right.
Continue south 1.2 miles and turn left into Caverns Road. Proceed 0.2 miles to a picnic area on the right.
- Guided tours of the deepest caverns on the east coast and gem minning are available at Caverns at Natural Bridge. Attractions such as Natural Bridge Zoo, Dinosaur Kingdom II and Virginia Safari Park are local favorites.
- Nearby is Great Valley Farm Brewery & Winery and Halcyon Days Cider Co. and their apple orchard labyrinth feature over 2,000 trees of 50 varieties, perfect for a stroll and sip of crips craft cider. Buy some fresh fruit and sip sangria at the tasting room at Virginia Gold Orchard.
- Pink Cadillac Diner on Route 11 serves up burgers and shakes in a nostalgic 50s style atmosphere, while Natty B's General Store offers sandwiches and made from scratch desserts, just minutes from the park on Route 130 as you head to Glasgow.