Sand Gap Loop is a 9.5 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Slade, KY that features a great forest setting and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is accessible year-round.
Our most challenging trail, Sand Gap requires 4-6 hours to complete. There are no shortcuts once youve started, so allow adequate time to make this trip before dark. Sand Gap Trail begins near the upper end of the Balanced Rock Trail about 500 feet from the top of Natural Bridge. For the next 3.5 miles, Sand Gap follows an old logging road and is easy to moderate walking along the ridgetop. The first section of this trail is a part of the Sheltowee National Recreation Trail. At approximately 1.5 miles from the beginning, Sand Gap Trail makes a sharp right turn and the Sheltowee Trace Trail splits off of the Sand Gap Trail and heads south. Here you will turn right continuing on the Sand Gap trail which heads northeast. About 3.5 miles from the beginning, the trail descends steeply into Lower Hood Branch. It will level out in the vicinity of a bog, then turn right across a bridge and begin to meander below the cliffs through rhododendron thickets. At about 6.5 miles, the trail descends to a bridge over the Lower Hood Branch. From here, the trail climbs up the side of the valley for about .25 mile following a skid road built by loggers in the 19th century. As you climb this section, watch carefully for the sharp left turn where the trail leaves this old road. From here, youll wind around a couple of ridges then follow a fairly level grade for about 1.5 miles to the Hood Branch Trail. You will take a left onto the Hoods Branch Trail and walk downhill for approximately .25 mile which leads to the sky lift and miniature golf parking area. Elevation change of 450 feet.
We made this a loop starting at Skybridge. Took Low Gap trail to Rock Garden trail to Natural Bridge to Sheltowee Trace to Sand Gap. I enjoyed the hike very much. The Sheltowee and southern section of Sand Gap are pretty level and uneventful but still nice. The upper two thirds of the Sand Gap were very nice, lots of nice scenery with valley trails looking at rock outcropping and Rodendron's on the southern faces. Lot's of dark hollow's and overgrown vegetation at times which added to the pleasure of the hike. This trail is not crowded and is very quiet. Not very challenging in difficulty but very worthwhile.
Starting from Skylift parking lot, took trail marked Hood's Branch. Took right at fork (there is a sign for Sand Gap). Went to Natural Bridge. Then took Rock Garden to Low Gap, which led back to parking lot. 9.63 miles. Moderate hike.
No nice views but it was peaceful. Only saw one person and I was able to hike it in about 2.5 hours by myself (not much to stop and look at). The only buildings and vehicles I saw were within the first and last mile. Flies were annoying but came out without big bites
Nice trail. One nice viewpoint once you get to the top ridge. Took about 3.5 hours to complete if you keep moving.
First long hike my friends and I had done. A lot longer than the 8 miles on here but still manageable in about a half day trip if you keep moving. Lots if streams and caves to keep the hike interesting. Lots and lots of switchbacks. There is an old CCC building behind a tall rock bear the beginning of the trail that was neat to see. Bring plenty of water on this one unless you are okay with drinking from streams. Also, bring lots of bug spray...for flies mostly. Didn't get a single tick or mosquito bite. A machete might also be a good thing to bring so you can actually make it through some very tall grass. Great trail and had a blast! Love this area!!
not that many pretty overlooks and I was told it was a loop so when i found out it was not it was a little frustrating but it ended up being a good hike.