Red River Gorge
Tunnel Ridge Road Area
Tunnel Ridge Road is a gravel road that gives access to many of the best features of the Red River Gorge. The Sheltowee trace enters Red River Gorge here. Some of the highlights include: Grays Arch, Double Arch, Auxier Ridge, Courthouse Rock, Star Gap Arch, and Arch of Triumph. You must have an overnight pass to park in the Gorge. The Red River Gorge is very popular so do your part to leave no trace.
Whittleton Arch, Grays Arch, Indian Stairway
Whittleton Arch is a 160' wide arch with a waterfall that is an easy hike from Whittleton Campground. Whittleton Trail follows along a creek with beautiful views. From Whittelton Arch continue to Grays Arch. Grays Arch is my favorite arch in the Red River Gorge Area. It's 50' tall and 80' long buttress arch. Grays Arch popularity is evident. The area has had an overpopulation problem for many years and I suggest you stick to the marked trials so that the forest can reclaim some of the area. Parking access is about 1.5 miles down Tunnel Ridge Road at Grays Arch parking area. Toilets and picnic area are available, but no water. Trail Head 205 to Grays Arch. From Grays Arch continue on Rough Trail to Rush Trail, Cross a bridge at Hwy 715 on the Sheltowee and contiue toward Cloud Spliter and Indian Stairway. From there return Bison Way to parking area.
Whittleton Arch to Grays Arch
0.0 Whittleton Campground 10:04
cross bridge level 10:11
cross another bridge 10:13
0.08 cross another bridge 10:17 trail switches back and forth over creek.
0.16 Nice camp near rock 10:21
0.32 Large bolder with tributary, just past the rocks is another bridge, stream makes island of the trail. Look for a spring to your left. 10:30
0.36 Trail head to Whittleton Arch. 10:35 spent 30 minutes
.20 to the arch, arch is 160' wide
0.36 trail begins to ascend 11:06
0.01 trail drops and follows along a the creek past a small rock out cropping
0.25 Cross creek where foot bridge is washed out, shortly to your right stream heads under ground.11:11
0.30 cross foot bridge where two tributaries meet. 11:19
0.63 pass a small fall in the creek, trail switches back and through the creek bed 11:30
0.72 trail passes through some blow down, but has been cleared cross foot bridge.
1.10 Tunnel Ridge Road/Hwy 15 11:49
1.19 After short break continue across Hwy 15 over bridge on Tunnel Ridge Road. The trail then leaves the road on the left. 11:53
1.33 Trail continues to follow along the road 12:10
2.01 Trail crosses Tunnel Ridge Road. Leave the trail and follow the road to Gray's arch parking lot. 12:30
2.10 Gray's Arch parking lot 12:33. Took 30 minute break
Grays Arch to Rush Creek
2.10 Gray's Arch trail head (205) sign posted says 1.20 to Arch. 1:09
2.40 junction Gray's Arch and Rough trail (221) trail turns right with view of Auxier Ridge to your left 1:15
2.92 Trail passes several campsites to your left, some with no camping posted. Trail descends toward the arch. 1:27
3.11 Trail continues down, looking to your right you can see Gray's arch through the trees. 1:36
Trail passes rock out cropping to set of 79 wooden steeps. At bottom turn right to visit Gray's Arch, continue left on Rough Trail 1:46.
3.11 After visiting Gray's arch we continue on Rough trail 2:30
3.76 Good group campsite 2:43
3.96 Pass small campsite 2:51
4.12 Begin climb of long series of steep steps 3:00
4.31 top of ridge 3:08
4.35 Junction with Rush Trail(227), sign posted 3.0 Chimney Top road, 1.0 to Gray's Arch, just below the junction is a trail spur that leads to two nice ridge campsites and a nice overlook. Took 20 minutes to investigate this spur.
4.51 Trail drops with small scramble over rock and continues to rock house where trail descends in between rocks and my have water in it. 4:00
4.81 Rush Creek, campsites on both sides of creek with 2 more further up the creek. 4:12 Elevation 925'
Rush Creek to Bison Way Parking Area
0.00 Leaving Rush Creek and ascend immediately 8:25
0.37 Spur trail to right leads to rockhouse 8:38
0.46 Large rockhouse to your right 8:45
0.53 Top of ridge 8:49
0.61 Sigh posted Natural Bridge 3.75, Pinch'em Tight'Tunnel Ridge Rd. 1.50, Red River 3.0, Gray's Arch 2.4, Chimney top Road 2.25. Elevation 1,271'
1.58 trail follows along above Chimney Creek 9:22
1.70 Chimney Creek wet crossing. Campsite near trail. 9:27 (10 min break)
1.86 Cross another creek, campsite near trail. 9:45 Elev 780'
1.87 Trail junction Rough Trail (221) and Sheltowee Trace (100), sign posted Hwy 715 1.30, Chimney Top 1.0, Gray's Arch 4.5
1.93 Wet trail crossing, more campsites along the trail 9:47
2.02 Wet trail crossing 9:55. (16 min delay) 10:11
2.20 Cross creek again, view of Half Moon from the trail 10:15
2.46 Cross creek again 10:24
2.50 Trail crosses creek and moves around boggy area 10:26
2.67 Trail begins to ascend again 10:28
2.98 Descend along several switch backs 10:40
3.00 At bottom cross creek and trail levels out. 10:42
3.19 Logging road goes right, continue left, Chimney Top Rock up to your right, trail is now following Red River. 10:45
3.41 cross tributary 10:50
3.64 Red River Suspension Bridge, cross bridge. 10:55
3.66 On other side of bridge, trail to the left leads to backpackers parking lot. (Break for lunch) 12:19 Reset milage
0.07 Trail leads directly up to Hwy 715 and crosses to other side 12:23
0.38 short spur to Rockhouse on your left. 12:42
0.69 Trial continues to climb, Sky bridge up and to your right. 12:55
0.90 More rock houses on your left, lots of rock house in this section 12:59
1.88 Cloud Splitter and "unknown rock"to your right 1:26
2.12 Trail passes through rhododendron growth 1:32
2.72 Descend down and cross creek, head back up ridge and cross another creek passing through more rhododendrons and a small rock formation. 2:02
3.11 More rockhouses on left trail somewhat levels out 2:11
3.50 Trail gets steep and is sternious 2:27
3.50 Trail gets steep and is sternious 2:54
3.53 Campsite left near overlook above Indian Arch.
3.66 Indian Arch 3:09 Elev. 1,188 take stairs and descend along a shear rock face.
4.01 Cross small creek, trail begins to ascend 3:22
4.27 Unmarked spur trail leads left to Indian Stairway. 0.36 short hike leads you to some moderate climbing before scrambling up the sandstone face of Indian Stairway. Trail behind stairway lead to campsites and to Indian Rock house.
4.51 Trail head Bison Way and Sheltowee. Sign posted 5.0 miles Koomer Ridge, 5.0 Red River, 0.75 to Hwy 715 4:32
4.55 Cross small creek climb small sets of stairs 4:34
4.70 Cross small foot bridge 4:38
4.84 Cross small creek 4:42
5.03 Bison Way Parking lot 4:47
Grays Arch only
0.0 Grays Arch Trail Head 205
1.0 Rough Trail 227, turn Right
1.1 Open field
1.3 Trail fork go left over the ridge crest
1.4 Trail descends left in to hollow
1.5 Grays arch is visible to the right, continue
1.6 Trail proceeds to right of Arch, small rock house
1.7 Descend three sets of steps to bottom of ravine.
1.8 Grays Arch 205 & Rough Trail 227 junction, turn right on 205
1.9 Rock house, wooden bridge across sometimes wet stream
2.0 Grays Arch
Auxier Ridge/Courthouse Rock
Auxier is a beautiful ridge top hike that has many excellent overlooks. Ravens Rock, Double Arch, Haystack Rock and Courthouse Rock. are some ot the geological features that can be seen from this 1.8 mile trail. The trail begins at Courthouse Rock parking area. Toilets and picnic area are available, but no water. The trail takes about 1-1.5 hours to hike one way.
0.0 Courthouse Rock parking Area, Trail Head 204 Auxier Ridge.
0.1 Fork in trail, go left. Drops down into rhododendron patch.
0.2 Logging road, follow to right.
0.4 Clearing, leave logging road and continue on straight ahead.
0.8 Courthouse Rock Trail 202 & Auxier Ridge Trail 204 junction, turn right.
1.1 Overlook of Tunnel Ridge Road
1.2 Overlook of Double Arch to left, Ravens Rock to right
1.3 Haystack Rock
1.5 Narrowest part of trail, beautiful views left and right.
1.7 View of Courthouse rock
1.8 Courthouse Rock, Courthouse Trail 202 to left leads to stairs that decent to bottom of Courthouse Rock. Climbing Courthouse Rock is not suggested, but is possible with great difficulty. BE CAREFUL.
Double Arch is a 1 mile easy hike to an unusual twin arch, one large 30' long by 12' high arch, with another smaller 25' long by 2' high arch on top. There is a junction with Courthouse Rock Trail 202 that leads to the bottom of Courthouse Rock. Toilets available, but no water. Trail begins at end of Tunnel Ridge Road.
0.0 Double Arch Trail Head 201, trail descends down and to the left, wooden steps through long narrow crack. Tunnel Ridge above on left.
0.1 Auxier Branch Trial to right, continue straight
0.9 Trail rounds Tunnel Ridge, large bolder to left. 100 yards to wooden steps that decent to the bottom of the arches.
1.0 Double Arch, steps to right lead to top of arch. Nice view of Courthouse Rock and Auxier Ridge.
The Red River Gorge is located in Kentucky inside the Daniel Boone National Forest. To get there, take the Mountain Parkway to the Slade, KY exit. At the bottom of the exit ramp turn left to proceed to Red River Gorge. Turning right at the bottom of the exit ramp takes you to the Natural Bridge Information Center. (Right-Camping at Tunnel Ridge Road.)
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