Explore the most popular rock climbing trails in Daniel Boone National Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Stayed at the Blue Heron Campgrounds and then hiked the trail. The trail is marked well except when it came to forks in the trail and as to what direction you are supposed to go. Esp when it overlapped the horseback trail. Overall its a great hike and the inclines are pretty gradual for the most part. Only a couple places when you come out of the valley that you can feel your legs burn.

Beautiful mountain and river scenery.

Completed the trail without seeing any other person. If you like quiet walks this is for you. The view on the gorge from the overlook is beautiful.

Beautiful view at the top. Easy trail to follow. At the end there is scrambling, not very difficult to do. We brought our dog (35 lbs), so the hardest part was figuring out how to get her up. We had to pass her several times because she couldn’t get a good footing on just the rock face, though there were many places that had tree roots and dirt that she could stand on securely. Basically, if you bring a dog you need two people who are comfortable holding the dog while scrambling.

I would rate the hike as moderate, not hard. It was short and quick. There are trees to set up a hammock at the top, too.

(If you’re interested in an even better view then do Indian Staircase. But don’t bring a dog, the trail is hard to follow and there’s more and harder scrambling)

I've spent a lot of time in the Gorge and this may be my new favorite place. I visited for the first time yesterday. There's no longer a rope for the final ascent to the top but I was able to scale the last section following the split in the rock below the cedar where the rope use to be. I wouldn't recommend attempting it on a wet day, but then again I wouldn't recommend being on top of cloud splitter on a wet day. Here's a link that gives some great perspective of cloud splitter and what makes it unique, the 360 degree views it gives of the gorge. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BqvCvMHpKIg

Beautiful trail

Climbing the staircase was a challenge but well worth it! The views at the top are amazing!

I was not able to find the hidden trail :(

finally made it to the cloudsplitter, and dang! it was brilliant. Don't let other reviews fool you, the trail and rock scrambling up may be strenuous, but it is definitely achievable and well worth reaching the top. there was a lot of traffic coming out of the cave right below the peak, so we bypassed seeing what was in and on the other side, but our next trip we will be going through it.

Indian staircase provided me with my favorite trail in the gorge so far. This hike was fairly easy-going, yet beautiful. Climbing the "staircase" was challenging and rewarded us with stellar views once we made it to the top of the rock formation. Next we're making it a point to venture to the cloudsplitter.

Great views atop.

Three of us hiked in on the Double arch side, descended to the creek between Double arch and Courthouse rock. We found a campsite well off of the trail and stayed 2 nights, making short day hikes as we wanted - In June 2017 (=hot weather) But the creekside campsite was cool enough and the bugs were not bad.....worth it!

Love the trail. Something about this trail makes it so peaceful.

A simple fun hike that takes into the gorge along the creek. Parts of the trail are paved which makes the trail even easier than it already is.

A simple fun hike that takes into the gorge along the creek. Parts of the trail are paved which makes the trail even easier than it already is.

2 months ago

Nice walk around the lake! We were coming off illness (but needed to stretch our legs) and looking for an easy Sunday hike. Also wanted something relatively dry (no creek crossings) as it wasn't an especially warm day. This checked all the boxes. Minimal elevation changes and obstacles. Easy to follow trail (you take the road back to complete the loop). Expect to see lots of lake views, accessible beach areas, and some rock formations. Also, lots of trash. Like a lot :-(. I'm sure on a summer day it would be a different experience with lots of boat traffic as well, but the lake was fairly quiet on this March day. I had a toddler in a backpack carrier (and a baby in my belly), and an 8 year old on foot - the loop took about 2 hours with plenty of breaks to skip stones and play.

2 months ago

One of my favorite trails in red river. Has all you want, climbing, waterfalls, and you see some arches

Really perfect hike — we did it backwards, starting towards double arch, and it couldn’t have been better.

Beautiful lakeside early March hike. We found a small beach to stop for a quick lunch and just to enjoy the lake with no boats and no one else around. It’s a super simple hike. You will need a map as the trail is not marked until you get right up on it. There are benches throughout the trail overlooking the lake you need a little break. We also found picnic tables and grills at the end of the trail we didn’t see when we piled up so that was a nice little surprise. Excited to come back in the summer when it warmer to float and grill! ***** There IS lots so trash

My friend Justin and I just completed this trek yesterday. A backcountry combination of several pieces of trails through the serene and beautiful deep Red River Gorge. We parked a car at the Sheltowee Suspension Bridge parking area, then drove another to the Martin's Fork trailhead and hiked back to the first car. It took us just over 4 hours to complete the 8 mile excursion. The start of the hike up Martin's Fork is one the nicest places in the Gorge and a pleasant hike. Then you'll quickly ascend to the top of Tunnel Ridge, which will definitely get you warmed up for the rest of the hike! After this you'll descend to a low saddle between Tunnel Ridge and Koomer Ridge before ascending the latter. From there you'll descend the remainder of the hike and follow Chimney Top Creek all the way down to the Red River. Most of the trail sections selected for this hike are very lightly trafficked and the sense of space and seclusion out in the middle of this section of the Gorge is superb. Great day hike. Bring lots of water, some good snacks and chocolate, and give yourself plenty of time!

This easy hike takes you to Creation Falls and Rock Bridge Arch. This was my son’s first experience of Red River Gorge. At 4 years old he said “ Daddy, this is much better than Bernstein Forest”. I will say parking at this trail head is a nightmare.

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 months ago

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.

Beautiful trail with some awesome creek access.

5 months ago

If you begin on the southern portion (counterclockwise, following the river), some lengthy switchbacks make the climb up from the river a bit more laid back.

The different overlooks and points-of-interest are very well spaced across the trail. Leave room for plenty of down time to enjoy them :)

Took Auxier Ridge to Auxier Branch to Double Arch back to trailhead. Very nice with some good little side spurs. Just be careful on the spurs, especially with children. Most of them are cliffs that you better watch what you're doing.

Great trail with lots of fantastic views and varied terrain. Starts along the auxier ridge, goes to courthouse rock (climb up the thru the crack onto the top of the formation if you're daring enough!), descends along Auxier Branch trail following a beautiful stream, climbs back up to Double Arch (one of the best views in the entire gorge), then goes back to the parking lot along the ridge line road (closed to vehicles). ~8 miles, a bit strenuous, but well worth the effort!

Good for some light climbing. Great cave/lookout. Great view from the top!

7 months ago

Did this trail and completed it. Took about 4 hours or so to complete with small breaks to grab water and a get a breath in. This trail was amazing and the highlight of our trip! The river was beautiful! Beautiful views! Highly recommend and if we return to the are would def love to do this one again.

Some beautiful sites and great places to spend some time resting in nature. We had 2 of our 3 young kids and started counter clockwise going in from the end of the trail. Much better way to go with small kids. Lots of steps on both sides.

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