Red River Gorge, Kentucky, is one of the most beautiful places in America. It is formed by the Ohio River and has a wide range of scenery, including cliffs, waterfalls, natural bridges, and trails. It’s also home to many different species of animals, including black bears, bobcats, cougars, and many others.
The area is truly a sight to behold, so if you’re looking for somewhere beautiful and serene, it is the place for you. Here are some breathtaking destinations that you must visit:
1. Indian Staircase
Indian Staircase is a stunning formation of sandstone rock created by erosion over thousands of years and is a popular hiking destination. It takes an average of 1 hour and 33 minutes to accomplish this trip, and the 5.0 km circle route is accessible close to Frenchburg near Red River Gorge. Hiking is the most popular activity in this region. Hence you will come across many hikers like yours during your exploration.
The route is lovely to explore anytime and is open all year. The trailhead is off the main road between Natural Bridge State Park and Sheltowee Trace Trail. Once you reach the trailhead, you’ll be greeted by an awe-inspiring view of this incredible geological wonder.
You can choose from several trails at Indian Staircase: an easy loop that follows along an old railroad bed. A short spur trail carved into the side of the cliff. Or, a longer loop that climbs up towards Indian Staircase before veering off onto another trail. All three offer breathtaking vistas at every turn and easy access for those looking to spend more time exploring.
2. The Winding Stair
Kentucky is a great place for tourists, and it welcomes millions yearly. According to Kentucky Tourism, 2021 was a good year of recovery after the previous year saw pandemic-related reductions. It saw direct visitor expenditure reaching $7.7 billion and visitor numbers totaling 70.5 million, which was a positive sign.
Thus, when you are there, you must visit the Winding Stairs, a breathtaking place. It’s in the Red River Gorge, which is located in Kentucky.
The Red River Gorge was created by erosion and has beautiful scenery throughout the area. You can access this area via hiking trails or by climbing in your vehicle; no cars are allowed.
If you choose to hike down there, make sure that you bring plenty of water with you. You will also want to wear proper footwear like boots or tennis shoes because it could be slippery if rain falls recently from above ground level, which happens frequently. However, no safety precautions are needed for this trip unless someone decides they want to swim after trekking all day long.
3. Red River Gorge Geological Area
According to WFXR Fox, the Red River Gorge Geological Area is a National Natural Landmark. Furthermore, the park welcomed approximately 1.7 million visitors in 2021, an increase of 600,000 over the previous year. Thus, making it one of the largest and most popular rock-climbing destinations. It also serves as home to many unique natural features.
Red River Gorge is located in Southeast Kentucky, just north of Slade. It features stunning scenery and offers different trails for hiking or mountain biking. Thus, it’s no wonder this area has become quite popular with locals and tourists alike.
If you’re looking for an adventure that will leave you breathless, taking a trip out here with your friends or family is highly recommended. Of course, you’ll want to ensure that you wear comfortable shoes for the trip. There’s no shortage of hillsides with steep drop-offs along them, so you must be careful.
4. Natural Bridge State Park
Natural Bridge is a sandstone arch that was formed by water erosion. It’s one of the most popular attractions in the area, and several hiking trails lead to it.
The Natural Bridge Trail starts at the visitor center and winds through an old-growth forest before reaching a creek bed with an impressive rock formation. Then you can walk along this creek bed until you get to Natural Bridge. There are other trails in this park where you can see more natural bridges. All you have to do is pick which one suits your taste best.
5. Double Arch in Red River Gorge
Double Arch is a trail just a mile long and mostly flat, so it’s perfect for everyone in your group. If you plan on camping overnight or getting out early in the morning, this would be a great place to do so.
Expect to see some beautiful views along the way. Climbing up an old roadbed takes you past a small creek and through some beautiful trees before reaching an open field where Double Arch stands tall and proud against its backdrop of mountains. You will have difficulty spotting it at first if clouds block the sun.
However, once those clouds clear up, which they usually do quickly here, all eyes will turn towards Double Arch as if drawn by magnets.
6. Chimney Rock
Chimney Rock is a natural rock formation in Red River Gorge, Kentucky. It was formed by wind and water erosion over 535 million years. Located along the Daniel Boone National Forest, Chimney Rock is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Red River Gorge.
The entire formation measures about 315 feet tall, and it looks like a chimney from above. The top of the rock is square-shaped, with steep walls on all sides except for one side, which has a gentle slope towards an undercut cliff face.
7. Nada Tunnel
KY Route 77 travels beneath Tunnel Ridge through the 900-foot Nada Tunnel in Kentucky’s Red River Gorge Geological Area. It was built in 1910 for the Big Woods, Red River & Lombard Railroad to reach the Red River valley’s pristine forests.
The 13-foot-wide and 12-foot-tall tunnel was built between December 1910 and September 1911. Logs were transported from the Red River valley via the tunnel to a sawmill in Clay City, 15 miles west, using a 25-ton and a 35-ton Climax locomotive. However, the first batch of logs became stuck in the tunnel and had to be dynamited. After then, the Nada Tunnel was expanded to handle heavier loads.
You can view the layers of rock as you pass through this one-way tunnel and get the impression that you’re traveling back in time.
There Are a Lot of Amazing Things to See in Red River Gorge
There are several amazing things to see in Red River Gorge, Kentucky. First, it is a popular destination for rock hikers. It is evident by the fact by Statista that nearly 59 million Americans engaged in hiking-related activities at least once in 2021.
Moreover, the area has many campgrounds and cabins where you can stay overnight, as well as restaurants and bars to enjoy great food & drinks. In addition, there are plenty of things to do, like hiking or swimming in the natural pools formed in the river over millennia.