Kentucky Highway 11 runs from Maysville to Barbourville, KY. It is 182.5 miles in length and is planned to become a “macro-corridor” within Kentucky. This post only covers a small section of the highway as it runs through the world famous Red River Gorge National Geologic Area and through Natural Bridge State Resort Park and into Slade. This area is probably the most highly visited natural area in Kentucky and this section of Highway 11 is most certainly the most heavily traveled of anywhere along the nearly 183 mile stretch.
Being a major tourist draw, especially near Natural Bridge, this section features numerous eating establishments, many cabin rentals, a smattering of gift shops and even a a Reptile Zoo where visitors can see one of the largest collections of venomous snakes in the world.
The area is full of wildlife, including bears, bobcats, deer, opossum, racoons and a gazillion different birds. One rarely sees any bears or bobcats unless they are hiking some of the less-traveled hiking trails.
On a recent visit I decided to do something fun. We may not see any “real” bears along Highway 11, but in the nine mile stretch from Slade, where it meets the Bert T. Combs Mountain Parkway, south to the community of Zachariah there are numerous wood-carved bears on display as a draw to bring customers to cabins, eateries and other establishments. Following are photos I took of the bears along the road. Their specific locations are noted in the captions.
As well, a stop in the gift shop at the Natural Bridge Sky Lift (and in other shops in the area), shoppers can find many bear tchotchke to take home and add to their collections.
Along with the wood-carved bears, there are a variety of other wood-carved items on display, even some Sasquatch goodies!! One can also find other quirky things along the road. Here are a few.
Highway 11 through the Red River Gorge / Natural Bridge area is actually a fun little drive. Sometimes it is just a great thing to simply “Enjoy the Ride.”
Did you enjoy what you saw here? My books cover so much more.
LESS BEATEN PATHS OF AMERICA TRAVEL SERIES
You can get my books online! The series now has five books and I am working on books six and seven. Book Six will be all about murals from all over the country!! Watch for them later in 2023 as I get time from my recovery.