Swift Camp Creek, Wildcat, and Angel Windows Loop

 We spent the night prior at Sky Bridge Station - my favorite post-hike destination in Red River Gorge

We spent the night prior at Sky Bridge Station - my favorite post-hike destination in Red River Gorge

Overview. 

Route Type:  Loop
Total Distance:  7.5 miles
Overall Difficulty:  Moderate
USDA Forest Service Trail Map
USDA Forest Service Map of Red River Gorge

Trailhead. This parking lot services trailheads for Rough Trail and Swift Camp Creek Trail just off KY-715. [map]

Trail Navigation. Head east from the back of the parking lot and across KY-715 to begin your hike on Swift Camp Creek Trail. You'll descend down to Swift Camp Creek over the first 1.5 miles.

When you reach the creek, look across to see a large backcountry camping area just northeast of the trail. It's worth moving across the creek (if water levels are safe) to see a large, eroded boulder pictured below.

From here, you'll move alongside Swift Camp Creek, but spend much of the hike well above it. The trail through this section is narrow and eroded - take care to stay to the high side of the trail for surer footing.

Continuing on, you'll come to the junction with Wildcat Trail at mile 3.3. Take Wildcat Trail back up into the forest and continue until you come to KY-715. We opted to explore some backcountry campsites accessible from the Wildcat Trail parking lot.

From there, head north on KY-715 until you see the Angel Windows parking lot (be sure to walk facing traffic and yield to vehicles - especially near sharp turns). Head west to the trailhead and continue for a short hike of about 1/3rd of a mile. You'll see this pair of arches with a large rock shelter behind them.

Return the way you came and head north on KY-715 to return to the Rough Trail/Swift Camp Creek Trail Parking Lot.

CAUTION. We encountered a juvenile copperhead snake in the very early part of this hike. Always be aware of your surroundings and give these guys a very wide berth. We waited patiently for it to move of the trail...with a little prodding...using a very, very long tree limb.

 Map of Swift Camp Creek, Wildcat, and Angel Windows Loop

Map of Swift Camp Creek, Wildcat, and Angel Windows Loop

 Elevation Profile of Swift Camp Creek, Wildcat, and Angel Windows Loop

Elevation Profile of Swift Camp Creek, Wildcat, and Angel Windows Loop

 Swift Camp Creek Trail sign on KY 715

Swift Camp Creek Trail sign on KY 715

 One of many beautiful varieties of mushrooms along Swift Camp Creek Trail

One of many beautiful varieties of mushrooms along Swift Camp Creek Trail

 A juvenile copperhead snake on Swift Camp Creek Trail. Copperheads are plentiful in Red River Gorge. Give them a wide berth.

A juvenile copperhead snake on Swift Camp Creek Trail. Copperheads are plentiful in Red River Gorge. Give them a wide berth.

 This beautiful rock can be found just off Swift Camp Creek Trail near a large waterside backcountry camping area - look for it when you first descend to the creek.

This beautiful rock can be found just off Swift Camp Creek Trail near a large waterside backcountry camping area - look for it when you first descend to the creek.

 
 Looking upstream at Swift Camp Creek

Looking upstream at Swift Camp Creek

 
 
 A big pine on Swift Camp Creek Trail in the Clifty Wilderness - where plenty of old trees reside

A big pine on Swift Camp Creek Trail in the Clifty Wilderness - where plenty of old trees reside

 
 Wildcat Trail sign at the junction with Swift Camp Creek Trail

Wildcat Trail sign at the junction with Swift Camp Creek Trail

 Angel Windows trail sign off KY 715

Angel Windows trail sign off KY 715

 Angel Windows - where you get two arches for the hike of one;-)

Angel Windows - where you get two arches for the hike of one;-)