Red River Gorge: The ‘Grand Canyon Of Kentucky’ Is A True Hidden Gem

The Bluegrass State will certainly surprise you. While Kentucky is known for bourbon, horses, and houseboats, few people realize that it is also home to one of the most beautiful National Parks in the country. Located within the state’s Daniel Boone National Forest, Red River Gorge is the Holy Grail of outdoor recreation and adventure. For the ultimate Kentucky day trip, look no further than Red River Gorge.

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Red River Gorge truly is Kentucky’s crown jewel and should be on any adventure seeker’s bucket list. Can’t wait to explore? Check out this amazing aerial video featuring some of Red River Gorge’s most iconic landmarks by Robert Zinn via YouTube:

General Information:

Accessibility: With over 600 miles of trails, Red River Gorge offers something for everyone. On the north end of the forest in the Red River Gorge Geological Area, Skybridge provides an accessible overlook of the arch. Natural Arch and Barren Fork Trails are two of the park’s more accessible trails, though they are unpaved. For a complete listing of trails at Red River Gorge, visit the USDA Forest Service website.

Pet Friendly: Red River Gorge is pet-friendly and dogs are welcome on the trails, as long as they’re kept on a leash. Exercise caution if you plan on bringing a pet with you; the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources regulations do allow hunting and trapping in the area and visitors should take appropriate safety precautions to protect themselves and pets during hunting and trapping seasons.

Parking: At each park within Red River Gorge, there are myriad free places to park your vehicle. Please note, however, that parking on Tunnel Ridge Road is limited to designated sites only. Please do not park on the shoulder of any road, and do not block gates.

Seasonal Access: Red River Gorge is open all year long.

Cost: Admission to Red River Gorge is free; however, if you plan on camping, you’ll want to note that vehicles on KY-15 or in the Red River Gorge and Indian Creek area north of KY-15 must display a recreation permit for backcountry camping between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. Permits are $3/day or $30/year and can be purchased at the Cumberland District Office, located at 2375 KY 801, South Morehead, KY, 40351.

If you’re looking for another swoon-worthy place to stay while in Red River Gorge, The Canopy Crew has some of the most magical accommodations in the park. Their one-of-a-kind destinations include the cliff-mounted Cliff Dweller treehouse, a truly spectacular place that you’ll never forget.

Feeling inspired to fill your Bucket List? Check out our previous feature of Ruby Falls in Tennessee and Hoh Rain Forest in Washington, then subscribe to our weekly Bucket List newsletter to discover new destinations across the country that definitely deserve a visit.

Address: Red River Gorge, Kentucky 40387, USA