What are some of the best things to do in Red River Gorge, Kentucky?
After all, when we think about the area of Red River Gorge, what typically comes to mind?
Well for starters, Red River Gorge is located in east-central Kentucky and sits near the inside of the expansive Daniel Boone National Forest.
The reason the gorge is shaped as it is, is because of the historic Red River that cuts through the gorge. And after millions of years passing, it has slowly chipped away and carved the over 150 sandstone arches within the geological area’s 29,000 acres. In fact, this is the only area east of the Rocky Mountains where you can find this many freestanding arches, in addition to a mix of rock shelters, jagged cliffs, natural forming bridges and even waterfalls.
The entire area has even been designated as a National Natural Landmark, which recognizes the gorge’s outstanding example of the natural history of the United States. This is a big deal because only 599 sites have ever been added to this national registry, including significant ecological features in 48 states, Guam, Puerto Rico, American Samoa and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Aside from all of that however, Red River Gorge is also a travelers dream come true.
With so many things happening in and around the gorge, there are simply so many things for travelers to see and do.
For instance, this gorge is known for its world class climbing and hiking, all while being surrounded by the natural beauty of the Gorge. Families can also come and discover a wealth of fun activities that includes things like zip-lining, underground kayak tours, mountain biking, bird watching, guided activities and more!
The options are endless!
Which is why, if you are wondering exactly what you are able to see and do here at the Red River Gorge, then you are in the right place.
In this post, we’ll be detailing all the best things to do in Red River Gorge, Kentucky.
So if you’re ready, lets get started!
Things To Do In Red River Gorge, Kentucky
In no particular order, here are the best things to do in Red River Gorge, Kentucky.
Go Rock Climbing
If you love to rock climb, then one of the best places you can ever go to do such a sport is at Red River Gorge.
Here at Red River Gorge or “The Red”, as some may call it, is home to some of the best sandstone cliffs you can ever find. These cliffs stand at a staggering 200 feet tall and provide some awesome opportunities for people to go rock climbing.
Inside the gorge, there are many areas which you can do such a sport, with 3 of them being the most popular. The three areas are called Bald Rock Recreational Preserve, Pendergrass-Murray Recreational Preserve and Miller Fork Recreational Preserve. Each of which are actively maintained by the Red River Gorge Climbers’ Coalition where they always provide open access to climbers.
For example, if you head on down to Bald Rock Recreational Preserve, you’ll be able to find some of the steepest lines in the gorge, making it a favorite for all types of rock climbers. And because this area boasts some of the highest concentration of both steep and long routes, this is where the elite of the elite come to spend the majority of their time climbing.
Or if you choose to go to the Pendergrass-Murray Recretional Preserve area, then you’ll be able to find over 750 acres of pristine parkland. With over 590 climbing routes existing in this area, it is basically a paradise for all climbers.
In the end, whichever place you decide to go rock climbing, doesn’t really matter. Almost all of which will offer you some really fun and challenging routes for you to enjoy.
Hike Around The Many Trails
If you are interested in hiking around some of the most beautiful places ever, then there is no place better than Red River Gorge.
Here at Red River Gorge, visitors are able to find a plethora of different hiking trails for them to go on. Many of which will loop in and around scenic areas, cliffs and waterfalls giving you some of the most impressive views you have ever seen.
For example, one of the most popular hiking trails is called Indian Staircase and Indian Arch. This trail is about a 3 and a half mile long trail that is rated as fairly difficult. In fact, because of the fact that this trail can be very dangerous or deadly to people, it is usually recommended that you do not go on this hike alone. But during this hike, you’ll be able to see things like blooming flowers, colorful leaves and even a spectacular view on top of the Indian Staircase.
Another popular hike is called the Double Arch, Star Gap Arch, Arch of Triumph Hike. This hiking trail is rated as a moderate hike which means more people are able to do this without having to worry about any types of danger. This hike stretches for around 6 miles long and at least 2 of the miles is being on gravel roads, which makes the hike an even easier task to do.
Or if you’re looking for the most beautiful hike to do, then there is no place better than Gray’s Arch. This hiking trail is arguably the number one rated hike in popularity as it offers so much in what you can see and explore. The trail is pretty easy but is usually always packed with people because of how popular it is. The 4-mile long hike offers some splendid views and even has a trailhead with basic services.
In the end, with many hikes being offered here a this park, you can spend days or weeks to try them all. It is a fabulous experience which everyone definitely have to try.
Go On An Underground Kayak Tour
One of the coolest things you can ever see or do while visiting Red River Gorge is to simply go on a kayak tour.
But not just any regular kayak tour.
In fact, here at Red River Gorge, you’ll be able to go on an underground kayak tour through some mine caves which makes the entire experience so much more magical. For example, Thrills Ville Adventure Park which is located right next to the campground sites and cabins, offers visitors a chance to kayak into these underground caves.
This cave tour lasts about an hour long and you’ll be guided by professional guides who will lead you through the darkness of the Gorge Grotto, where you can paddle through a dark cavern and see all that it has to offer. For instance, you’ll be able to see the beautiful cave walls and crystal clear waters. And if you bring a flashlight, you can even see fish swimming on by all around you.
And best of all is that no matter how hot or cold it is outside or what kind of weather conditions are happening, inside this cavern you’ll always be dry and at a cool 50 degrees. Not to mention that during this entire tour, the guide will offer a great deal of information about the history and background about this cave mine itself.
It’s one of the more unique things you can do here at the Red River Gorge, and one where everyone will love.
Do you like fun thrilling adventures?
If so, then you would absolutely love zip-lining.
And here in Red River Gorge, you can find one of the best zip-lining companies around offering this type of service.
Known as the “Red River Gorge Ziplines“, they are the premiere destination where you can have fun zip-lining all throughout the area. It is located only about 50 minutes away from Lexington in the beautiful Red River Gorge area.
Visitors who are wanting to try this adventure will be able to find 5 separate zip-lines that reaches a staggering 300′ feet above the gorge. Riders can expect to travel at blazing speeds of up to 55 miles per hour from over 1,000 feet long. During these times, riders will be met with some breathtaking views of the entire surrounding regions. From the rocky gorge to the trees around, this is one experience everyone will love.
Best of all is that the price to go on these zip-line adventures are all very reasonable and won’t break your bank. The zip-lining adventures last between two to three hours and can accommodate individuals from around 70 to 250 pounds.
It’s a fun filled adventure that will have you leaving breathless. So if you ever feel like you’re in the need for some fun and excitement, then the Red River Gorge Ziplines is definitely the place to visit.
Catch Some Fish By Fishing
Do you like fishing?
If so, then you will absolutely be thrilled to know that the area of the Red River Gorge is home to some really amazing fishing spots.
The most popular being the famous Red River which helped carve the area into what it is today. This river is home to many types of fish and makes for a great place for fisher’s of all levels and experience to catch some fish.
Fishers who are wanting to catch some fish can either bring their own equipment, or rent out some from one of the nearby companies. These companies also offer kayak or boat rentals for you to use if you want to get out onto the river to do your fishing.
Some of the fish you can catch here includes fishes like Rainbow Trout, Channel Catfish, Bluegill, Crappie, and Brown Trout. With so many fishes around, this is a fishers paradise dream come true.
Overall, its a totally fun experience and one where you can also enjoy the peaceful surroundings of nature.
Ride A Horse
One of the best things you can ever do here in and around the Red River Gorge is to simply go on a horse ride.
All around this gorge, you will be able to find all kinds of trails for you to go on which enables you to see some of the most beautiful scenery ever.
And there are multiple companies around that provides this experience for you. For instance, one of the most popular companies around that does this is one called “Cable’s Riding Stable’s“.
They are a family owned and operated company that offers trail rides through the wilderness, besides the Red River Gorge, and even down the dirt road. The rides are perfect for anybody of all ages and is a fun and insightful thing to do. All rides last approximately an hour in length and enables you to see so many things.
Best of all is that all their horses are beautifully maintained and cared for properly, so your experience will be hands down one of the best. And prices are also really affordable too as adult prices is only around $30 dollars while kids is only around $20.
So if you ever want to see the gorge in a whole different manner, then you might want to try going on a horse ride. It’ll be an experience you will never forget.
Kayak Around The Red River
Sometimes traveling around and seeing all that the Red River Gorge has to offer isn’t enough. Sometimes you want to do something more.
And if that’s the case, one of the best things you can ever do is to simply go down to the Red River and kayak or canoe around the place in a nice calm manner. This is the same mighty river that helped carve the Red River Gorge into what it is today. Which is why going around this river is one of the best things you can ever do.
And here in Red River Gorge, there is only one company that offers this type of service. Known as the “Red River Adventure“, they provide kayak and canoe tours along the Red River.
During this time, visitors are able to take pictures, stop for some amazing views of Creation falls, or even go swimming at the Jumping Rock Swimming Hole. There are also many different types of tours for visitors to choose from, including an 8-mile self-guided tour if you prefer to bring the family and go at your own pace.
Pricing for these tours are also pretty affordable as they also include parking, shuttle and equipment. For instance, canoes for 2 people are around $75 dollars, kayaks for 1 person is around $50 dollars.
Overall, it’s a really fun way to experience the area in a whole different manner. Definitely one of the best things to do in Red River Gorge.
Visit The Kentucky Reptile Zoo
If you’re interested in doing a short day trip type event to somewhere else away from the Red River Gorge area, then you’ll be happy to know that the Kentucky Reptile Zoo is actually really close by.
The Kentucky Reptile Zoo is located about 30 minutes away by car and is the perfect place to visit if you love learning about and seeing all kinds of different reptiles up close and personal.
For example, the Kentucky Reptile Zoo is home to various kinds of snakes, and other reptiles from all around the world. Aside from the animals, visitors will also be able to enjoy a range of different programs. From things like milking the venom from a snake or even listening to some information about some of the most venomous creatures in existance.
But the most awesome feature about this reptile zoo is the fact that they also sell venom! Now we personally do not know what to do with such a thing, however it is a really cool and insightful thing that they are doing. Visitors will be able to find hundreds of different venoms on sale at various different price points.
So why not take a break from roaming around Red River Gorge and pay a little visit to the Kentucky Reptile Zoo. You will be sure to see and learn so many new and interesting things.
Explore Nada Tunnel
One of the most interesting places you can ever visit is one called Nada Tunnel.
Nada Tunnel is a former railway tunnel that was built back in the early 1900’s. It’s been listed on the Natural Registry of Historic Places. The tunnel is only around 900 feet long and is located along Rt. 77 and was formerly used to transport timber from the gorge.
What makes this tunnel special is that it is also know as “The Gateway to The Red River Gorge”, which means that going through this route will considerably cut down on the time it takes to reach Red River Gorge. And all along the way, visitors will be able to stop and take pictures of all the beautiful surroundings that are around the area.
But the only thing you have to watch out for is that this tunnel is only big enough for 1 car at a time. There is only 1 lane so if you are wanting to travel through this tunnel, you will need to have your lights on and also use your horn from time to time to make sure you are the only one using the tunnel.
Otherwise, it’s a really cool and interesting tunnel to see, so if you get the chance and want to take the shortcut, then this tunnel will do wonders for your travels.
Ride On The Skylift
If hiking isn’t really your favorite thing to do, then you’ll be happy to know that there is another form of transportation.
Located in the Daniel Boone Natural Forest and Red River Gorge, visitors will be able to find a skylift that’ll take them on a 1/2 mile journey through some of the most beautiful mountain scenery in the surrounding areas.
Once you are at the top, you’ll be within easy walking distance of over 900 tons of sandstone molded by nature into a 30-ft wide sidewalk now known as Natural Bridge. Plus, a right turn from the top platform will take you on a 1200 foot scenic pathway to Lookout Point, which is a beautiful viewing area and one of the best places to take pictures in Natural Bridge.
The only problem is that the Skylift is not open all year-round. So you will have to double-check on the schedule and see when they are exactly open so you can ride this lift. And also, you do not have to take the lift up or down if you do not want to. You can also hike up or down from the area as well as there are trails which you can follow.
It’s definitely something all visitors should try at least once in their time spent visiting this area. Mainly because you’ll be met with some of the most beautiful mountain scenery and will have a birds eye view of many different places. Definitely one of the best things to do in Red River Gorge.
The area of Red River Gorge in Kentucky is definitely one of the best places you can ever visit. This place offers so many interesting things for you to see and do. You will definitely enjoy your time here.
So hopefully this post about the “10 Best Things To Do In Red River Gorge, Kentucky” was able to help you out in some sort of way. This way if you ever find yourself visiting the area of Red River Gorge in Kentucky, you will know exactly what things you are able to do for some fun.
Also, if you’re going to be visiting the state of Kentucky anytime soon, then you might be interested in some of my Kentucky posts:
Or, if you are interested in reading some of my other posts about traveling, you can do so by clicking these links:
- Essential steps for planning a trip
- How to find cheap flights
- There is no such thing as a perfect time to travel
Or you can check out all my blog posts by click this link.
Have fun traveling and let me know how it goes~