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The Unrivaled Canyon Hike In Kentucky That Everyone Should Take At Least Once

No need to travel all the way to the southwestern United States for a canyon hike. You can do that right here in Kentucky. The Red River Gorge in eastern Kentucky is an intricate canyon system that boasts more than 100 natural sandstones arches, pristine waterways, lush forests, and gorgeous panoramic ridge top views.

Perhaps one of the best hikes in the entirety of Red River Gorge is Rough Trail, a long and challenging hike that traverses all the way across the heart of the Gorge from west to east. The whole trail is nearly 8.5 miles, but it intersects with several other trails along the way, so you can adjust it to make it shorter or even longer. Many people hike Rough Trail in sections, but for those that are fit enough, hiking the whole thing at once is going to show you the wide variety of natural wonders that the Red River Gorge has to offer.

As previously mentioned, Rough Trail is quite long. Definitely take with you a map of the area, compass, and guide book. Check out this trail guide by Jerrell Goodpaster, and consider buying it before you attempt Rough Trail. He breaks the whole thing up into sections, and gives very specific instructions on navigating this trail, so it’s a valuable tool to have with you. If you do decide to hike the whole trail at once, consider taking your camping equipment with you, as there are some gorgeous spots for back country camping along the trail.

Has anyone ever done Rough Trail, or parts of it?

Rachel Shulhafer
I grew up in Louisville, Kentucky. I have lived elsewhere twice, but keep coming back. I'm a video editor and freelance writer who enjoys watching people wearing University of Louisville uniforms excel at sports, scaling the faces of large rocks, and hanging out with my border collie/laborador/cattle dog mutt thingy that I have.