The Gorge’s high sandstone cliffs have made the stunning eastern canyon a world-renowned climbing mecca. The unique geological area, which lies mostly within the massive Daniel Boone National Forest, has over 1,400 routes with enough variety to satisfy the tastes of any climber. But the area isn’t just about the epic crags. “The Red” holds some of the best of Daniel Boone’s extensive 500-mile trail network.

Rock hounds like Matt and Amy Tackett came to the Red River Gorge to climb six years ago and never left. They started Red River Outdoors, a climbing guide service and river outfitter in Slade, Ky.

Illustration by Scott DuBar

FAVORITE GORGE GETAWAY

– ESSENTIAL DAY HIKE –
You’ll catch amazing panoramic ridgetop views on the Auxier Ridge Trail. It’s a little over two miles but has the potential to be longer with loops extending off Courthouse Rock Trail.

– OVERNIGHT BACKPACKING LOOP –
Swift Camp Creek and Rough Trail
are two of the longest trails that stretch across the gorge. Swift Camp Creek is one of the most beautiful hikes in the gorge. It stretches 7.2 miles and connects with the Rough. Most hikers park at the Rock Bridge/Swift Camp Creek parking area off of Hwy 715 in the gorge loop. There are numerous loops that will direct you back around to Swift Camp Creek. The Shelotowee Trace Trail also runs through the area and many combinations can be made.

– ROUTES A CLIMBER SHOULDN’T MISS –
The Red River Gorge is one of the most celebrated areas in the world for sport climbing. Left Flank and Military Wall are especially popular climbing spots. You can also climb at the nearby Pendergrass Murray Recreational Preserve, which is owned by the Red River Gorge Climbers’ Coalition. Check out Drive-By Crag, The Gallery, and Solar Collector.

While sport climbing is the most popular, there are some incredible traditional routes as well. A few of the classic trad crags: Bedtime for Bonzo at Fortress Wall and Roadside Attraction at Tower Rock.

– RELAXED RED PADDLING –
The middle portion of the Red River is an eight-mile stretch between the concrete bridge and the iron bridge. The steady Class 1 ramble takes at least three hours.

– PLACE TO HANG WITH LOCALS –
Miguel’s Pizza is the local climber campground and hangout. You’ll hear climbers chat about their day on the rock while enjoying some of the best pizza on the planet.