Overview. Each of the parking lots on Tunnel Ridge Road will take you to either an official trail (Gray’s Arch, Auxier Ridge, Double Arch) or designated backcountry camping areas. Pioneer is a camping area complete with bear-proof trash bins and pit toilet. This hike is short and sweet, heading back to a pair of decent sized camping areas, some limited views into the Gorge, and a water source to the south.
Route Type | T-Out-and-Back
Total Distance | 0.75 miles
Overall Difficulty | Easy to Moderate
*this trail is unmarked
Trailhead. This trail departs from the Pioneer Parking Lot located off of Tunnel Ridge Road in Red River Gorge. To reach it, turn onto Tunnel Ridge Road from KY-15 and head north. Continue on the road, passing Gray’s Arch Picnic Area and a number of other parking lots. Pioneer Parking Lot will be located on your right. [map]
Trail navigation. While this hike won’t show up on any official trail maps, it’s pretty simple. Head out past the pit toilet and trash bin moving east. You’ll find a well trodden path to the first of two backcountry campsites. Continue to the second campsite and feel free to explore to the edge where you can find some limited views. Head north to move out to more views (all views are partially obstructed by trees) and return to the camping area when ready. Once there, continue south and follow a slightly less distinctive trail downhill to a small stream. This is your camping water source, but reliability is questionable during dry periods. Retrace your steps back to the parking lot and this short and sweet hike is all done.
CAUTION - Unmarked Trail. This is an unofficial trail with no markings.
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]