Scott and Ariane May 22, 2009 14

Backpacking Red River Gorge

First, let me say that I wanted to spend a lot more time in this awesome display of nature. I feel I was cheeted by only being able to hike the short 10 – 12 mile loop I did. Having said that, Red River Gorge is now in my top 20 places I’ve ever hiked in. The Red River Gorge is part of the Daniel Boone National Forest Red River Gorge Geological Area – 29,000 acres, designated in 1974.

Rock Arches are the celebrity at this park. If you live in the Midwest and want to see Arches without traveling to Utah, this is the place to visit. With deep gorges, and caves, this is one place you need to visit if you are in Kentucky.

Many arches in the Gorge can be found or viewed from the 60 miles of backpacking trails. The number, size, and variety of natural stone arches in the Gorge contribuite to the beauty of this park. Becareful however, some the cliffs are steep and dangerous. There are over 100 arches in this park.

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There are some definate rules and regulations while backpacking in this park. Make sure you understand the camping situation. There are NO formal campgrounds but many are out there. You WILL need a permit to camp overnight. You can get permits at the Gladie Center. But you can also get permits at the Shell Gas Station located right on Hwy 15. It might save you a drive if you are going to hike and camp on th South end of the park.

The Sheltowee Trail runs through the Red River Park, but also runs Natural Bridge State Park, and the Clifty Wilderness. The trail is 278 miles long.

If you have a Kayak or Canoe, this is the place to trek down the Red River. Runs right through the Park.

Most of the Trails are easy to moderate, but there are a few sections that you will be climbing up or down hand over foot.

Backpack to Grays Arch. Worth the extra hike. It’s a nice loop hike if you take #205 trail to #221 to #203 back to your car. 10 – 12 mile loop.

The Trail Map is located HERE. For more information call the Gladie Cultural Center at (606)663-8100. They are open from 9:00 to 5:30 from Mid March to November.

Check out some photos of the Red River Gorge

See you on the Trail