Overview. The hike to Pinch 'em Tight and Hanson's Point is among the easiest five mile out and back hikes you'll find in Red River Gorge. The trails are on ridge tops from the Pinch 'em Tight Trailhead all the way to the overlooks and the footing is excellent throughout. Once you reach the overlooks, you'll be rewarded with some of the best panoramic views available in the Gorge.
Route Type: Out and Back
Total Distance: 5.5 miles
Overall Difficulty: Easy
USDA Forest Service Map of Red River Gorge Area
*This hike is if off trail; experienced hikers only*
Trailhead. Parking is available at the Pinch 'em Tight Trailhead off of Tunnel Ridge Road. From KY-15, turn onto Tunnel Ridge Road and the trailhead will be the first parking lot on your left. [map]
Trail navigation. Start by following the Pinch 'em Tight Trail until in intersects with the Rough Trail at 1.7 miles. Stay on Pinch 'em Tight Trail through intersections with Rush Ridge and Buck Trails. Turn left (west) onto Rough Trail at the final intersection and follow it less than 1/10th of a mile to a very large downed tree. Take a right (north) onto the trail just past the tree.
At this point, you will be on unmarked, user trails, so be sure not to get lost by carrying a map, compass, and GPS (please use all three and have a battery backup for your GPS).
Follow the user trail by staying to the right (east) at the first large backcountry camping area until you arrive at the second even larger backcountry camping area. At this point, move to your left (north) to find the trail out to Pinch 'em Tight at mile 2.4. At mile 2.65, reach the overlook from Pinch 'em Tight.
Return the way you came, make a left (east) at the camping area. This will take you out to Hanson's Point at mile 2.95 where you can relax and take in some of the best views the Gorge has to offer.
To return to the trailhead, go back through the campground moving west until you pick-up the trail again. From here, stay to the left (south) at the next campground and continue until your reach Rough Trail at mile 3.84. Turn right onto Pinch 'em Tight Trail and follow it 1.7 miles back to the trailhead.
CAUTION. A few days before we hiked this, a young man from Louisville fell to his death near Hanson's Point. Take care during your hike to avoid getting too close to dangerous cliffs. Also, if you're not confident in your map and compass skills, skip this hike.