Fall Weekends
in Red River Gorge



Camping - State Parks

dogs are allowed at campgrounds, but not allowed on state park trails

Middle Fork

Camping - National Forest

no reservations

Koomer Ridge Campground

Eat & Drink

Miguel’s Pizza

The most famous restaurant in Red River Gorge serves up some outstanding pizzas and keeps expanding year after year. Enjoy the covered patio or hang out in the newly added indoor area.

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Sky Bridge Station

One of my three must-visits while hiking the Gorge. Cold Kentucky craft beers, quesadillas and dogs, and locally-sourced burgers. Plus, great music every weekend.

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Hop’s Fork

The newest addition to the restaurant scene in the Red, this place is AWESOME. The widest selection of beer, deliciously small menu, and all right next to a nature preserve.

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Red River Rockhouse

Near Natural Bridge, a small, but ranging menu with plenty of cold beer to go with it. The veggie burger is excellent and so are the fries after logging big miles on the trails.

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La Cabana Mexican

Big meals after big miles - that’s the theme here. Get your south of the border grub with plenty of chips to fill your belly and cleanse the pallet with cerveza, margaritas, and tequilla.

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Daniel Boone Coffee Shop

Great coffee with even better eats. We pop in whenever we need a little extra caffeine to get us going on our day - or when we’ve had a couple too many around the fire the night before.

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Meh, sometimes you just feel like grabbing a foot-long and taking it with you on the trail. Thankfully, these subs are more satisfying with every passing mile you hike:-)

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Red River Smokehouse

Meat-a-tarians will agree, this place has some excellent smoked meats. With a convenient location off the Slade exit toward Natural Bridge, stop in to grab some barbecue to enjoy fireside.

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Be Safe


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.

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