Overview. On this weekend, I had Bork and Dan with me, so we opted for a big hike to see what we could see. At more than 11 miles, this loop and spur hike was perfect. We enjoyed visiting my favorite tree in the Red, Hidden Arch, and the footbridge over Red River. Add wildflower season to the mix, and it was a perfect hike.
Route Type | Loop and Spur
Total Distance | 11.4 miles
Overall Difficulty | Moderate
USDA Forest Service Map of Red River Gorge Area
Trailhead. We stayed at Koomer Ridge Campground, but non-campers can park at the front of the campground by taking a left at the first fork and an immediate left to the parking lot. Follow the road back past the pair of double campsites to find the walk-up sites and Koomer Ridge Trail. [map]
Trail navigation. Head out on Koomer Ridge Trail and at the first intersection (mile 0.1), go left (north) on Hidden Arch Trail. Enjoy the walk out, take in a view, checkout my favorite tree, and head down the steps to the arch (mile 0.8). Continue around the arch and up the hill to regain the ridgeline and rejoin Koomer Ridge Trail at mile 1.0. Keep walking the ridge and at mile 1.9, intersect with Buck Trail. Keep right to stay on Koomer Ridge Trail until reaching Rough Trail at mile 3.2. Take a left (northwest) and walk 0.3 miles to reach Sheltowee Trace. Turn right (north) to make your way to the footbridge spanning Red River at mile 5.3. Retrace your steps to Rough Trail at mile 7 and turn right (west). From here, follow Rough Trail for another 1.3 miles (mile 8.3 total). Make a left onto Pinch ‘em Tight Trail (west) until reaching the intersection with Buck Trail (mile 8.7). Turn left (southeast) and follow the trail to mile 10.1 where you’ll return to Koomer Ridge Trail. Stay on this trail (staying left at the intersection with Hidden Arch Trail) until reaching the trailhead.
Hanson’s Point. At the intersection of Rough Trail and Pinch ‘em Tight Trail, you can continue on Rough for less than a tenth of a mile to the unmarked trail heading north to Hanson’s Point. This will add a couple miles to the trip, but the views are among the best in the Gorge. [learn more]
Banjo music. While it’s often joked about a la Deliverance, we did, in fact, hear banjo music on this hike. On our return from the footbridge, an older gentleman and his wife were sitting trailside playing a little Bluegrass music. You never know what you’ll see or hear on the trail, right?
CAUTION - Cliffs. Be careful to avoid getting too close the edge of cliffs, as this is the leading cause of serious injury and death when hiking in Red River Gorge.
CAUTION - Poisonous snakes. While the gorge is within the range of timber rattlesnakes, copperheads are the most common poisonous snake encountered. Stay alert on the trail, as snakes are commonly found taking in the warmth of the trail. Give them a wide berth or wait for them to move off the trail.
CAUTION - Bears. Black bears are growing in number throughout Daniel Boone National Forest. Be sure to follow bear safety precautions. [Be Bear Aware by US Forest Service]