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Red Ruver Gorge Map
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hiking
6 days ago

*THIS IS AN UNMARKED UNOFFICIAL TRAIL* don’t get worried if the stream is dry as it runs under ground for a little over half the hike. Could be complicated with kids and after rainfall but this gem is worth the hassle.

Beautiful overlooks. Extremely muddy today. Hanson's Point is one of the best overlooks in the gorge.

We did this hike yesterday, after some heavy rain the previous day. From the Bison trailhead the terrain is very muddy. Tall hiking boots and trekking poles will help from falling into the mud, although we didn’t have trekking poles. My wife did fall in once, and I nearly did too several times. Would be good to bring an extra set of clothes and shoes for the ride home, as well as bandana to wipe any mud off from a fall.

Once up the trail, the junction to go up towards to the Indian staircase is not marked at all. We relied on GPS to find it, and other visitors were telling us to go the wrong directions at the Y. From here, elevation increases quickly, first on dirt, then it turns to a stone and tree root split between large boulders where you have to scramble. There are no markings, so use GPS. Next section is a series of different levels of sandstone. There are multiple ways to get from one level to the next, so pick the easiest sure footed way up.

Next is the Indian staircase. If you have never been to the Indian staircase and do not rock climb, it is intimidating. We watched several people go up before we attempted. I wish we had rope as extra security from a misstep. The climb is potentially deadly (do some searches on red river gorge fatalities) so I would suggest not attempting if conditions are wet, snowy, or windy. Take your time and spot your hands and feet deliberately and carefully. We had overnight packs which made it considerably harder (could not lift our heads with the frame of the pack above our necks). The very top of the staircase has the last level of sandstone to get up. Use the small tree at the top to lift you up and slide your butt onto the top level. We saw various people struggle with this. My wife has a little trouble but not as much as some we saw.

Once on the ridge at the top, I thought the hike was physically easy but there are other challenges. Signage and junctions are not well marked. The cliffs are SHEAR drop offs and are everywhere. There are beautiful natural arches which are also a hazard. Watch where you are going, don’t take stupid selfies, and stay away from the cliffs. Also, be mindful of the sunset time. Most deadly accidents in the park seem to involve darkness, inexperience, drugs, and alcohol.

Overall this was one of the most rewarding hikes I’ve had in a while, highly recommended. Come prepared with GPS, battery backups if you are using your phone for navigation. We got lost several times and nearly ran out of battery %. With maps and conserving our batteries, we made it out okay. I do not suggest attempting Indian staircase with a dog or small children.

Beautiful!!! The mist by the river on Double Arch trail was amazing!! Recommend this to anyone.

Great views along the trail on both sides as it traverses along the ridge. It is a popular trail and dog friendly so it was quite busy on our hike. It was a bit muddy in shaded vales which made the rocks there slippery but it really wasn’t an issue. Our two dogs didn’t even finish the hike muddy. Being December 30 it was unusually warm at nearly 60°. All in all it was a very pleasant hike. I recommend it and will likely hike it again someday.

This was a fun hike with incredible views! It’s my favorite hike in the Gorge! Once you get to Court House Rock, you can take Double Arch trail, which I highly recommend. You’ll hike through forest and alongside a river. Once you make it up to Double Arch, there is an amazing view!

rock climbing
23 days ago

This is an extremely tough trail. The path up is basically a runoff crease from the top. In wet conditions, the mud makes it very difficult to climb, much less a muddy slip and slide on the way down. There’s no safe way to the top. Whatever rope was there, is gone. The final climb to the summit is risky and could be climbed, but coming back down is the dangerous part with no real safe ways to get up. Bring your own 50’ rope to help you. This is also not a trail for dogs. We took our GSD, along with at retriever and there were a few places where we had to lift them onto a ledge. The dogs definitely would not be able to climb the last bit to the summit.

Such an easy out and back, a very majestic gem of the area. Much bigger than anticipated and lots of places to explore around the arch.
Easy hike down to Skyview Arch once you get back onto Star Gap trail.
Highly recommended

Definitely a must see at the gorge!

great trail but not clearly marked.

Amazing views, not too difficult. Just too many people, but still worth it.

Fairly easy hike and well worth the view! There’s quite a few stairs to get to the arch, but overall not too bad! We also took 3 dogs and didn’t have any issues getting them there.

hiking
1 month ago

Absolutely gorgeous falls. A hidden gem! Far bigger than I expected, and in a gorgeous clearing. Granted it had just rained a lot, so the falls were probably bigger than in dry seasons. Easy to get behind the falls and up on top. The trail is just vague paths made by other people. Be prepared to get your feet wet, you cross the creek 10 or so times depending on which paths you take. It's too deep to avoid wet boots! But very worth it.

From the parking, go past the one lane Bridge, past the bathroom, and down the road 50 steps or so to the right is the trailhead. If you follow the creek, you can't miss the falls. There are many paths, my advice is to take the most straightforward one, even if you have to cross the creek. Your feet are gonna get wet no matter what, and you come to a lot of dead ends if you don't follow the creek closely. Gorgeous hike, not very strenuous. A little over a mile and a half one way.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful display - loved the hike. Even on the stairs, I was surprised they were there, but didn’t find them too difficult. Only complaint is that the trail was extremely muddy.

We completed this hike today. Perfect weather. I think we only encounter 5 or 6 people on the whole trail. We hung out for sunset on Cloudsplitter. Very windy up there, but well worth the view. Dark as all get out going down. Headlamps are a must. The trail was very well marked despite all the leaves on ththe ground. Muddy though.

Amazing hike! A must-see! That said, I never could have done it without GPS. With leaf and snow cover over parts of it and no markings halfway through, I never would have found it. Two keys: 1) When hiking from Gray's Arch parking (either lot), you come to a crossroad with Rough Trail in 1.5 miles. TURN LEFT. (I mistakenly thought that the unmarked trail to Hanson's Point was off of the "Pinch 'em Tight" trail. It isn't.) Turn left onto Rough Trail. In about 150 paces you'll come to a large fallen tree and the trail bends 90 degrees left. Follow the trail left a few steps, but then immediately after you pass the fallen tree, turn right! You'll see the trail. 2) After some time on the unmarked trail you'll come to a large opening. KEEP TO THE FAR RIGHT. If you stay right, I think you'll be able to pick up the trail again. I hope so, for your sakes. It's amazing!

hiking
1 month ago

Went hiking a couple weeks ago. It hadn’t rained in a while so the falls were kind of disappointing, I would recommend going not long after it has rained! I would definitely go back to Copperas again!

I did the loop over the weekend and it was amazing!!!!! I can’t wait to get back there!!!

A really good hike but can be challenging at times

This is probably our favorite hike. Lots of cliff clear views, very rugged. Really shows off the terrain of the gorge.

Incredible view at the end. Very easy hike overall. Reports of the trail being overgrown are exaggerated imo. Certainly tighter in some areas, but easy to follow and navigate.

The terrain made for a very fun hike. The views were incredible, especially the view of Double Arch.

Awesome experience for a shorter hike!!

hiking
2 months ago

Great arch! Easy to reach the top. A little scary going down to actually see the arch. You have to scramble down a sandstone face to a narrow one foot wide ledge at the edge of a sheer cliff which you follow to the arch. Don’t attempt if you are not sure-footed or if you are afraid of heights.

‘This is NOT a moderate trail!!! If the section between Bison Way and the Adena Arch were any more difficult we’d need respelling gear. Indian Staircase is one of the best spots in the gorge, but skip Adena Arch or do it as a spur and take Sheltowee back to Bison Way. This route is given in the “Indian Staircase “ trail. We hiked this route to allow my dying father to relive his gorge memories through the photos. I don’t think we’ll go this route again. If you do decide to hike it, go clockwise. This puts you going DOWN Indian Staircase, but that is better than going down the cliff from Adena Arch. My Dads directions: At the first side trail off Bison Way, go straight up the steep hill. When it looks like the trail ends, look up. You will see roots and vines in a crack in the rock. Climb them. Then you come to sandstone without a real path that you scramble up. Adena Arch is at the top. After that you just follow the cliff edge on your right... You know what? He hasn’t been there in at least 10 years but that was a perfect description. I guessed I thought he was exaggerating since the trail was rated moderate. Also, make sure you use the app to follow your progress on the trail map. There are a lot of unmarked crisscrossing paths.

hiking
2 months ago

This is probably the best route for hiking Indian Staircase as if avoids the VERY tough nearly vertical climb/descent between Bison Way trail and the Adena Arch. It is a fabulous hike with great views, great geology, and great history. The Indian Staircase trail is an unmarked trail that both starts and ends at the Sheltowee Trace Trail. Tips for finding the correct route: Take Bison Way then left on Sheltowee Trace Trail. After the SECOND stream crossing and a U in the trail take the well traveled unmarked trail to the right. At the top of the Staircase stay on the well trod path near the cliff edge in a giant U until you return to the Sheltowee Trace Trail. Take a left and follow it back to Bison Way.

hiking
2 months ago

The title of this trail is confusing as the trail does not actually go to or up the Indian Staircase. We started following this trail but realized it didn’t follow the correct route to the Staircase. We switched to “Indian Staircase to Adena Arch” which is the trail we really were wanting to follow. A word of caution though: that route is a difficult route with scrambles over rock faces and a few climbs up/down water drainages where you’ll be grateful for tree roots. This trail incorporates the worst of these without the actual Staircase or the amazing views from the top. After our experience today, I think the best route combines the two—going up the Staircase and then down the Sheltowee trail back to Bison Way to create a lollipop route. See the “Indian Staircase Trail” for this route. That’s what we’ll hike next time, though it misses Adena Arch.

hiking
2 months ago

It was definitely difficult this time of year. Most of the hike was muddy and slick with all the fallen leaves, but the views of red river were amazing!! My second time doing this trail and will definitely do it again.

my favorite trail. I love cloud splitter. it is all up hill and hard to climb through the rock but awesome hike

It had beautiful colors this time of year. wonderful place to watch the sun rise and set.

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