Red River Gorge
The Red River Gorge in The Kentucky Wildlands is a unique geological wonder, full of stunning natural beauty and multiple opportunities for the ultimate in outdoor adventure. Certified as a Natural Landmark and listed on the Natural Register of Historic Places, the 29,000-acre Red River Gorge Geological Area’s canyon system along the Red River features more than 100 natural sandstone arches, as well as high sandstone cliffs, rock shelters, waterfalls and scenic natural bridges.
Home to world-class rock climbing, more than 600 miles of forest and natural sandstone hiking, abundant fishing, 300 miles of singletrack mountain biking, challenging whitewater rafting, family-oriented paddling, kayaking, natural-bridge crossing, camping, swimming, and more, the Red River Gorge offers abundant recreational activities for any taste or skill level. Known simply as The Red to rock climbers all over the world, it is one of the top rock-climbing destinations with 1,600-plus bolted sport and traditional climbing routes tailored to all levels of experience from easier lines to the most experienced test pieces.
Designated as an official Kentucky Wild River, the Red River in the upper Red River Gorge offers breathtaking thrills with challenging quick-succession Class II and III whitewater rapids, concluding with the Narrows of the Red River, a Class III gauntlet with some areas of maneuverability no wider than six feet. The lower river offers a more leisurely 10-mile stretch of family-friendly Class I rapids with gorgeous opportunities for photos of the Sky Bridge Arch, Tower Rock and Chimney Top Rock along the way. The Red River also offers some of Kentucky’s best canoeing, swimming and shoreline fishing, including smallmouth and Kentucky bass and stocked rainbow and brown trout.
Located largely within the pristine Daniel Boone National Forest, the Red River Gorge allows full access to the more than 600 miles of beautifully connected hiking trails within the national forest, providing hikers of all skill levels access to trails of varying lengths and challenges. Natural Bridge State Resort Park provides even more scenic hiking and walking opportunities, as well as horseback-riding trails. A 323-mile connected backcountry mountain biking trail (with easy access points along the way for loop and sectional riding) winds under the forest canopy that stretches as far south as Tennessee.
You’ll find a variety of sustainably built cabins available for rent, as well as plentiful campgrounds throughout the Red River Gorge.