Red River Gorge
Your One-Page Guide
This page has just about everything you need to plan your next adventure in Red River Gorge.
All hikes include maps, directions to trailheads, points of interest, and of course, plenty of photos of these beautiful places.
For the wife and I, it is our happiest place on Earth. We hope you enjoy it too.
in Red River Gorge
Camping - Backcountry
Chimney Top Rock Road
Indian Creek Road
Sky Bridge Road
Tarr Ridge Road
Tunnel Ridge Road
Camping - State Parks
dogs are allowed at campgrounds, but not allowed on state park trails
Camping - National Forest
Eat & Drink
Falls from cliffs are the most common cause of serious injury and death at the Red. Keep a safe distance at all times and never hang over a ledge.
Spending a night in the woods without camping gear is bad news. Always take a map and compass and know how to use them. And, share your hiking plan and check-in time.
Copperheads and timber rattlesnakes are venomous snakes that call Red River Gorge home. Copperheads are the more common. If you encounter one, stop and slowly back away.
Black bears are increasing their numbers in the area. Be bear aware by practicing safe food storage and leaving no trace. Review the linked safety tips below.
Leave No Trace (LNT)
Seven Principles of Leave No Trace
1 | Plan Ahead and Prepare
2 | Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
3 | Dispose of Waste Properly
4 | Leave What You Find
5 | Minimize Campfire Impacts
6 | Respect Wildlife
7 | Be Considerate of Other Visitors
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it dry on Sundays?
Yes and no. Powell County is wet seven days a week. Wolfe County is dry on Sundays. Menifee County is completely dry.
Is it safe to hike at Red River Gorge?
Yes! While there have been a number of deaths and serious injuries over the years, nearly all were completely avoidable by simply keeping a safe distance from cliffs.
Are bears a big problem?
Not yet. While it’s still uncommon to hear of a black bear in the area, they have been spotted a number of times in recent years. If everyone follows the bear safety tips above, it’ll keep bears away from human contact. This means it’s important to take appropriate precautions with food storage and to truly leave no trace while in the forest. It would be best to avoid having this turn into the shit-show that is Gatlinburg.
How common are copperheads?
Very. We come across copperheads at least a few times a year while hiking. It’s easy enough to spot them and to either wait them out or give them a wide berth while passing.
How difficult is the hiking there?
It varies, but generally speaking, it’s much easier than mountain hiking with less total elevation gain. That said, Rough Trail and a few others will have you moving in and out of the gorge on short, steep climbs and descents.
When is the best time to go?
It depends. Weekdays are great because there are fewer trail users and restaurants aren’t busy. Weekends are a lot busier, but live music is nice to enjoy after a day of exploring. As to seasons, Spring is for wildflowers, Summer is for rhododendrons and big views, Fall is for foliage, and Winter is best for off-trail exploration. We enjoy the Red year-round and all its changes in flora, fauna, and visitors.
Will I hear banjo music - a la Deliverance?
I’ve only heard a banjo once on the trail, and while that was weird, the player was a nice older gentleman who knew his bluegrass music. In the years that we’ve enjoyed the area, we’ve never had anything but positive experiences with the people there. Most tend to have a more progressive view of the world - something I like to think most outdoors-folks share.
What phone service provider is best in the area?
Verizon. Hands down.