Koomer Ridge Campground: The only forest service campground in the Red, Koomer Ridge puts you in the heart of the action, with its own set of hiking trails and arches just beyond your tent.
If you’re looking for something more primitive, there’s plenty of car-side “backpacking” on Chimney Top Road and Auxier Ridge Road. You’ll be just a hundred yards from your car, but you won’t have to listen to RVs or neighbors, assuming you can land one of these coveted spots. Check out the campsite along the short, unofficial trail to Half Moon Arch, which sits on a ridgeline and has partial views of Chimney Top Rock.
True North Inn: This hostel has bunk beds and private rooms as well as a restaurant and in-house climbing guide service, all of which sits just a couple of miles from the border of the Clifty Wilderness.
Natural Bridge State Park Lodge: The lodge has resort-style state park digs complete with a swimming pool and buffet dinner. The park is just a couple of miles south of the Red, across the street from Miguel’s Pizza.
The Casual Tourist
The Red is bisected by a loop of scenic, low traffic roads with trailheads branching off in every direction. You could drive the loop without stopping in about an hour and see a number of cliffs, the Wild and Scenic Red, and Nada Tunnel without leaving your air-conditioned car. Or you could take your time and explore a few of the trails that begin just off the edge of the asphalt. We suggest the latter, particularly if you’re traveling with your family. Many of the most impressive arches in the Red are easily accessible by short “nature” trails that offer democratic hiking with big payoffs. Follow this “flight plan” and you’ll get a scenic cruise and a few leg stretching hikes in just one afternoon.
The Drive Starting in Slade, head east on Route 15, then north on Route 715, which is where the action begins. Route 715 is a narrow, winding mountain road that cuts through the Red, passing by massive cliffs before joining the Wild and Scenic Red River. Complete the loop by taking Route 77 back to Route 15, passing through the 900-foot Nada Tunnel in the process, which is only 12 feet wide and 12 feet tall.
The Hikes Route 715 is packed with hiking opportunities, both long and short. Here are three quick leg stretchers with grand finales.