Explore the most popular Rock Climbing trails in Kentucky with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

hiking
11 hours ago

I really enjoyed this trail. On my Fitbit it was 1.8 miles round trip. I would rate it moderate because it gets rocky and there are some slopes the closer you get to end. A beautiful waterfall awaits you at the end. If you like to fish, I suggest taking your pole also. It is very isolated and not many people around if you like solitude.

My wife and I found this to be an excellent hike. Indian staircase was a bit intimidating, but not too bad, as long as you don’t have children or dogs. There was some rope climbing involved to get to the top of Cloudsplitter, but it was well worth it! The hike took us 4 hours, including a stop to eat.

hiking
scramble
6 days ago

Awesome time here for my Birthday this past weekend. Here's the route we took which I believe to be the more adventurous (and strenuous!) of the two.

Start by taking the Bison Way Trail (GPS will take you straight to the trailhead where there is plenty of parking, a bathroom, and clearly marked trail with outpost/map) - you will gain a bit of elevation in a relatively short period of time. After hiking for around 5 minutes or so, you will come to a split. The route we took is to the left and goes vertical whereas the path to your right (headed to Sheltowee Trace Trail) will be more level and accommodating. Get ready for a climb. After another 5 minutes or so you will come to a near vertical pathway covered with tree roots and stone. Battle your way to the to the top and follow the trail to your right. Fight through the thick, unkempt trail until you reach more rock scrambles. You will continue this pattern three or four times until you reach the sandy rock outcrop at the top. Take a breath; you've done it! Navigate the top of the bald outcrop and wave to the people to your right at Cloudsplitter. Explore the neat rock cut out at the top, and when you are ready to leave, follow the trail to a neat little Arch. Once you're done marveling at the beauty of Nature and her element, follow the staircase down and follow the blazen path. You will cross a handful of streams along the way as you follow the Sheltowee Trace Trail. Look for white markings on the trees and a "turtle" symbol - this indicates you are going the correct way. After a mile or so you will round a downward bend where a clear cut trail becomes open to your right. This is the Bison Trail - follow it back to the parking lot. Grab some Miguels on your way home!

Great hike. The access road is open now. In March, still isn’t very busy. Perfect beginning hike of the year to get back into the swing of things.

hiking
off trail
7 days ago

Did this hike today. My wife and I absolutely loved it. It's strenuous, sure, but it's very doable. The trail mapped out on AllTrails isn't exactly how we hiked this. When you start up the Bison Way trail, there's a right turn to continue onto the trail. There's a straight path from there that is very steep. It adds a few more scrambles up roots and rocks, but it adds a lot of amazing views and fresh air as you hike over a ridge before taking a right (on the dotted line between the two AllTrails has marked) to rejoin the original route just before Indian Staircase. CloudSplitter is amazing as well, but be prepared for the steep climb to the top. There is a paracord there, as others have said. Use the knots in it to get a good grip and it's a very accessible climb. Most people have issues coming back down though. I suggest climbing back down the rope or if you're tall/thin enough there's a way to climb back down from the giant crack/slot in CloudSplitter if you go left from the top of the rope.
10 / 10 would definitely hike again. Use AllTrails to follow the map as there's no signs to show where you're headed.

Fun trail to hike. The waterfall is small but the rock formation it falls out of is beautiful. Great for pictures. Easy quick hike. Only complaint is the trail isn’t marked very well. However, it’s still easy to follow because you can hear the waterfall.

hiking
rocky
10 days ago

Really short hike at a decent elevation. Your calves will be shredded, but the view is worth it. There’s also a little cave you can go into to the right of the big rock you climb in to get to cloud splitter. You can shimmy your way through the right crack for another cool view/dope spot for camping in a cave.

Great trail...however the directions took me to the wrong road. Once I found the correct road, it was closed due to conditions. I’ve been before though and it’s a beautiful easy trail.

Pretty area with a nice waterfall and pretty rock formations. It can be a little busy at the parking area to the falls, but if you don't mind no trails, you can hike the whole lake and won't see people. Hard to do close to Bowling Green. Definitely go.

Awesome trail. Beautiful views.

Incredible vistas for a quick day hike.

hiking
1 month ago

Short and easy. Nice view of waterfall after a good rain.

Great family hike. Creation Falls is a great place to let the kids swim and play.

The Trail was awesome. What we got to see of it at least. We didn't know that they close the access road to the trail head seasonally so we ended up hiking 4 miles of the access road to get to the Double Arch trail. We ended up just hiking to the Arch and camping then back tracking out. Just a heads up to those interested in doing this loop in the winter, make sure the roads not closed.

hiking
muddy
1 month ago

I was training a new pup to hike with me today. Good beginner trail. Very nice lake views.

hiking
1 month ago

nothing much to see. only visited because I use to live in the area

one of my favorite in the Clear Creek area. very secluded but hilly in some parts. the trail is unique in the terrain in comparison to other trails in that area.

On a backpacking trip I connected the Buck Creek trail with this loop and I’m glad I did. It was absolutely freezing with snow on the ground but that didn’t stop this trail from being very enjoyable, in fact, the snow made the cliffs and rock formations much more dramatic and the cold kept everyone away, I didn’t see a single soul the whole day. That night I found a grove of hemlocks to camp out under while I watched the super blood moon. It was an unforgettable night at a very nice trail.

hiking
2 months ago

not much to see and trail isn't marked. the lake is pretty but I could see those views without walking the trail. I didnt have a bad time which is why I didn't give it a 1 star but I won't do it again.

of all the trails in the indian fort theater area, this one is by far the most challenging.

Great outing for the family (kids ages 6 - 14). Pretty waterfall with knee deep pool for kids to play in.

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.

rock climbing
2 months 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.

Nice trail. Not difficult. If you want to see the waterfall in full force, be sure to go a day or so after a hard rain, otherwise the waterfall will be dry or almost dry. Waterproof shoes recommended.

Definitely a must see at the gorge!

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.

Beautiful trail with a little bit of everything. we will definitely be back when things are in bloom.

We went after it had snowed so things were a little slick but if it was a pretty day this trail would’ve been a piece of cake. The arch and creation falls did not disappoint!

Absolutely loved this trail. Gorgeous views and exciting hike - Sometimes felt more like climbing than hiking! Will definitely return.

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