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In the 1930’s, a large tulip poplar that stood in a deep ravine gorge was felled by a severe storm and came to rest against a sandstone bluff. It was eventually discovered by the park’s trail building crew who cut hand-hewn steps into the side of the tree and used it as a stairway. Though fallen, the tree’s root system was still intact and continued to live and produce leaves annually on its upper branches despite its use as a “living stairway.” Actual use of the old stairway was discontinued in the 1980’s when the metal stairway currently in use was installed alongside it. The tree declined in health over the years and finally died in 2002. Though the Living Stairway is gone, it was in use for over 40 years and was regarded as one of the most unusual and unique trails structures in all of Kentucky State Parks. Living Stairway trail is a loop trail bringing hikers back to the point of origin. Both entrances to Fern Garden Trail lie along this trail and a side spur access to the park’s log cabin area connects to this trail. Elevation change of 150 feet and marked with purple blazes.
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