Tucked into the Eastern edge of Kentucky you’ll find a long strip of protected forest land. Here is where the Daniel Boone National Forest, the Natural Bridge State Park, and the Red River George Geological Area meet.
This makes for a really special area to visit. Not only are the forest land and the mountain views beautiful, but the Red River Geological Area is also home to some truly unique natural bridges and caves. These form the backbone of an intricate cavern system that is found around the Red River.
You bet it is.
In this post, we’re going to cover all the ways you can explore the Red River Gorge and why it attracts so many hikers, climbers, and photographers each year.
Exploring the George
The main highlight of the Red River George is the natural sandstone bridges and arches. It’s estimated there are over 100 of them all over the park. These also extend into the adjacent (and aptly named) Natural Bridge State Park too.
It’s these sandstone features that attract rock climbers from all over the world to Red River George. “The Red” as it’s called is so popular with climbers there are dozens of routes that are already bolted into the sandstone and ready to go. If you love to climb, you want to add this part of Kentucky to your bucket list. The best times of the year to climb here is in the spring or the fall.
Camping and Hiking
All of the various cliffs and caverns are popular with hikers too. The Red River George has over 60 miles of hiking trails that cover every ability. The Grey’s Arch route is one of the more popular hikes, and the route to Creation’s Falls is another.
When it comes to camping the set up here is on the more primitive side of the scale. There are several rules around where visitors can and can’t camp, so check with the park to make sure you’re following the proper guidelines.
Archeologists have studied quite a bit of the area in and around Red River George and have discovered many artifacts including cookware and moccasins. They estimate that indigenous and native people often used the cave areas for dwellings over generations. You can explore many of these caverns, some of which are located along the hiking paths.
The Red River George is only one hour east of Lexington, and it’s less than two hours from both Cincinnati, Ohio and Huntington, West Virginia.
The closest major highway is Interstate 64, which runs east to west across Kentucky. From there, head south towards Stanton, Kentucky. For a slower, yet more scenic, route you can take the Bert T. Combs Mountain Parkway which cuts right through the Daniel Boone National Forest.
This area of Kentucky has a lot of hidden gems, and Red River George is one of them. So be sure to add it to your list of places to see in this part of the state.