Red River & Nada Tunnel + ADD NEW ROUTE
1 in Kentucky Kentucky25 Miles
By Chopper King
on February 1, 2007
- Trip Toolbox
Get yourself to the starting point of Stanton, KY (about 35 miles southeast of Lexington, KY) then just head south on the Bert Combs Parkway until you get to Rt 77 (also known as Nada Tunnel Rd) where you need to go east (turn left). Keep following 77 until Rt 715 turns off to the right. This will take you back to the Bert Combs Parkway at Pine Ridge, Ky. If you take 77 to the right off of Bert Combs Parkway you will enter Natural Bridge State Park.
I think this is one of the most unique rides I have ever been on. You will be riding along the Red River. This was a logging river at one time. There are numerous rock formations and outcroppings to amaze and amuse. Make sure you stop to get a drink at the spring coming out of the pipe along the road (on Rt 77 before the Nada Tunnel). It is the best water I have ever had. The day we rode was very hot and still, a cool drink and head dunk felt mighty good. Riding along the river allows many opportunities to pull off to explore trails or take a dip. Keep your eyes peeled and you will see some big rocks with a ladder on them which you can climb on and jump into river. Now you will come upon the Nada Tunnel. My friend who told me about this route didn't tell me about the tunnel. I really don't call it a tunnel. I say it is a 12 ft. by 12 ft. by 900 ft. hole in a mountain. Take your sun glasses off after the spring as this tunnel isn't lit. This is a slow cruise road, stop often and enjoy nature.
This is just your regular 2 lane black top road. It was in good shape in 06. It has the usual repaired potholes but nothing out of the ordinary for this type of road. The road is quite twisty and hilly, I think it follows and old Indian trail. I would caution to take it easy as it is a local road and some are just putting along. Watch for the Nada Tunnel which is after the spring a little bit. Keep watching for the 12 ft. clearance signs. Each entrance to the tunnel is out of a small curve so go slow and peek in first. I made a lot of noise going through the tunnel i.e. blowing my horn, revving my motor, and such. I told my wife it was for safety, but she didn't believe me.
This route is not populated so no shopping or such. The area does have some nice attractions. Make sure you stop at visitors center and look around. We got a fridge magnet with picture of Nada Tunnel in winter with icicles hanging off it. Also much area history. Look for the story of Old 96, cracked me up. Make sure to take side trip through Natural Bridge state park. It has some wonderful lookouts and trails. We haven't stayed at this State Park Lodge but if they are as nice as the rest I'm sure it would make a great stay, and their restaurants always have good food if you need a bite to eat. We are going back this way next summer and hope to stay at lodge and explore some more of the area. Maybe even take that swim this year.
Going east through the Nada Tunnel
This is the Gladie House that can be found off of 715. You can't go inside it but you can walk around the property
Here is Sky Bridge. I would recommend taking the 1 mile loop hike to see it in person. Be prepared for the stairs at the end of the trail! :)
I looked this up in the Scenic Byways book I have and it says takes 1 hour to drive and 5 hours to enjoy. That is the best I can tell you. Take your time and explore here as it is so beautiful and peaceful. We are going back again this summer and doing more exploring of our own. - View the weather forecast for this area from Yahoo weather .
Nickname (optional) : Chopper King