dogs on leash




nature trips


wild flowers


kid friendly

trail running



dog friendly




rock climbing


This is an excellent trail. Even with snow on the ground, we were able to follow the trail easily, up until we got to the waterfall. We had trouble finding the trail after that tho. Make sure after you go around the waterfall, to take an immediate left. There is a large boulder that you ether have to climb up on the left through a crack, or go around the right side of it for an easier way up. Let me emphasize how immediately you turn left... you can see the giant rock/crack from the falls! Maybe it’s not hard to see the trail when it’s warmer, but when there is snow on the ground, it was impossible to follow any type of trail from the falls up past the rock. Once you get going up the steep climb, it’s pretty straight forward from there. Clearly the majority of people only hike to the falls and back, but it’s definitely with the climb all the way to the point.

Time this hike just right and you can upgrade the rating to a five star hike. Most of the rating hinges on the flow of Yahoo Creek going over the falls. During droughts, it drys to a trickle. After periods of heavy rain, this waterfall is impressive. Another time to visit is during the a lengthy period of freezing weather. After several days of subfreezing weather, a large cone of ice develops in the plunge pool, below the falls.

Combine this hike with Yahoo Arch, a very underrated arch that is part of a larger system of rock shelters. Unlike Twin Arches, this arch has the appearance of a cave or a former rock shelter that has seen its ceiling collapse after years of erosion.

One word of caution-the trail system at yahoo falls is somewhat confusing. There are several trails that form a ring around Yahoo falls. The park has improved signage at important intersections. Be aware of straying off on unofficial trails. This is high cliff country and not paying attention could cost you big time. Also, be on the lookout for black bears during the warm months. Yahoo falls is also a picnic area, and that tends to draw the bears in looking for a quick meal or handout. Bear sightings are not uncommon during the summer here.

A new favorite at Big South fork. I have procrastinated on this hike for years. Finally hiked the loop on a warm day in between two long periods of freezing weather. Due to ice on the road going down into Blue Heron, i started my hike at one of the trailheads located along the gorge overlook road.

This hike offers a variety from rock shelters, awesome rock formations, cultural history and a river walk. There is quite a bit packed in this nearly seven mile loop. My highlights on this hike would be the coal tipple, which has been converted into a bridge high across the BSF river, Crack in the Rock formation and the rock shelters that the trail hugs along the bluff line. Also, check out Devils Jump rapids-a class IV drop on the Big south fork, about a .5 before reaching the restored mining community.

Plan on closer to a 7.5 mile hike once you account for walking across the tipple bridge and hiking to the two main overlooks (Devil Jump overlook and Blue Heron overlook).

4 days ago

This trail has everything- well marked path, scenic river to follow, & breathtaking cascades in the end. This is an all time favorite of mine since childhood! It is the perfect length for a few hours of day hiking. The scenery will keep you in awe for the hike’s entirety.

super nice winter hike. cliff lines were layered with icicles, frozen waterfall, & snow covered trail added to beauty

Winding Stair is very lightly traveled, last time I was in the area, it was poorly signed as well.
The entire Rockcastle Narrows/Sheltowee loop is very isolated, and does have a creepy feel to it. I hiked towards VanHook from FR 119 last october and found quite a bit of bear scat and ripped up stumps along VanHook Branch.

Very scenic. Lots to see if you really look. The low grounds in the summer are nice. The views from the cliffs are beautiful. Not too difficult at all. Trail not marked too well for the walk back from Courthouse Rock.

15 days ago

Okay for a short family outing. Really not a lot of scenery. The river followed the trail the first half and that was cool. Really not a lot of places for camping.

15 days ago

One of the local favorites. Especially in the summertime. The trail head is hard to find if your not familiar with it. A lot of high walls, rock formations and water scenery on this trail. Especially in the winter time. A lot of icicles and frozen water falls, in the colder weather, make for some very cool pics. But the end is the true reward. Awesome tiered waterfalls with wading pools on each level. Great family outing trail.

Parking lot is a little sketchy looking, but I've never had a vehicle messed with. Cool little walk across the spillway to the trail head. Trailhead is marked pretty well. Plenty of signage since it's part of the Sheltowee. Just stay to the right of the road and you cant miss it. Trail is an easy hike with cool rock formations and some cool water scenes. Very child friendly.

Great hike! My 6 and 10 year old daughters and my 5 year old nephew had no problem keeping up and we had a blast. This is a long trail so give yourself plenty of time.

This ranked moderate but should be marked HARD. This is an unmarked trail. There are a lot of side trails to different things and camping sites. Very easy to get lost once you’re up there. Climbing the actual Indian staircase is practically bouldering. It wasn’t hard. But it wasn’t easy. Don’t take a dog. I took mine and it was a struggle. Once you get to the top follow the trail down into the cave and around to be other side. You follow that along the ridge until the trail seems like it dead ends and the only way down is to shimmy down a washed out split in the rock covered in tree roots. Be careful. I could see where people could get hurt with this trail. Or lost.

Decent hike. Follows mostly along the lake, which is great, but there’s not a lot else to see. Pretty easy hike overall, we went all the way in and out and it was 8 miles round trip. Nothing technically difficult. Trail is well marked and maintained.

its a nice hike, just not a lot to see.

one of my favorites!

20 days ago

This was a great, but difficult hike. The trail is entirely unmarked and requires several side paths to get around extended areas of downed trees as well as going over or under numerous trees along the trail. There are also a few perilous boulder crossings along the river that were especially precarious given the time of year and ice. We went counter clockwise and could not see any safe way down from the top of the cliffs along this version of the trail. We may have had better luck coming from the other direction, but we also had our dog with us and chose to backtrack and scramble down and follow the river until we came across the trail again. If you take a similar path as we did, I would still recommend going along the upper cliff for the view. The trail goes along the edge and I would not recommend this for children, and I especially note a small bend with vegetation that hides the 200 foot drop off. However, for adults, the view is worth it. Overall, fun and challenging and we look forward to returning.

20 days ago

Loved it. Sunset is amazing!

its a nice hike

it is very isolated and I agree with one pf the other reviews...creepy. Its beautiful once you get down to the river but its very isolated.

21 days ago

this is not a long hike but its beautiful when there is water running. we did it on Jan 1 and it was 16 degrees so there was an ice volcano at the bottom. Everyone needs to see this at least once.

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