The Red River Gorge is a canyon system on the Red River in east-central Kentucky. The Red River Gorge Geological Area is an area of around 29,000 acres. This intricate canyon system features an abundance of high sandstone cliffs, rock shelters, waterfalls, and natural bridges. There are more than 100 natural sandstone arches in the Red River Gorge Geological Area.
With that being said, Red River Gorge has a little bit of everything to offer a hiker and/or climber. The terrain varies in difficulty between each marked trail. Even the easier trails can sometimes be intimidating. HikingRRG always recommends hiking with a friend just in case of an emergency. At the very least, an experienced solo hiker should inform friends/family of his/her hiking plans.
One of the shorter, easier, day hikes is referred to as Rock Bridge Trail #207. It is a loop trail that descends into a deep ravine with towering hemlock trees and dense rhododendron understory. One of the highlights of this trail is a natural sandstone arch that spans across the creek. This arch is the only "bridge" in the Red River Gorge over water. A small waterfall upstream, Creation Falls, provides an ideal spot for some quiet time with nature. We always bring along plenty of snacks such as Lucky Beef Jerky and Clif bars to refuel while relaxing.
The trail is marked well and only 1.5 miles long. However, along the way you will need to traverse down and up the terrain. Most hikers will travel this trail in a counterclockwise direction. The beginning of the trail is paved and gives a false sense of an easy hike for those not prepared to tackle uneven terrain. After a few short minutes of hiking you will reach the first set of downhill steps and rock ledges. While they are easy to navigate for most, it isn’t a level hike when compared to Chimney Top Trail #235.
The weather in Kentucky adds a little difficulty to the hiking trails in Red River Gorge. With frequent summer storms, you will most likely run into down trees that you will need to make your way over, under or around. The volunteer trail crews and U.S. Forest Service do a great job of keeping trails open but sometimes it takes a little longer to clear all of the trees. Keep this in mind when hiking after a recent Kentucky thunderstorm.
The final leg of Rock Bridge Trail begins just a short distance beyond the arch formation known as Rock Bridge. At the junction for Swift Camp Creek Trail #219 you will want to stay left. The next .5 mile is an ascent back to the Rock Bridge Picnic Area.
I have added pictures from a recent hike on Rock Bridge trail after a storm. Hopefully, this will provide a better idea of how a seemingly easy trail can be a little more difficult than expected. Stay safe my friends, and feel free to schedule a hike in Red River Gorge with us here at HikingRRG. We would love to help you explore the natural beauty of Kentucky.