Hiking Kentucky’s Red River Gorge

I’ll be honest – Kentucky isn’t the first place I consider when I want to travel. For Ohioans like me, most of Kentucky has the disadvantage of being too far for a day trip while being too close to home to be exciting. Nevertheless, I decided to give it a chance for a weekend hiking trip, and it exceeded my expectations.

Specifically, I visited the Red River Gorge area in eastern Kentucky. Situated in Daniel Boone National Forest, the gorge is a little more than an hour from Lexington.

Princess Arch

After driving to the area, I spent the rest of day one hiking to Princess Arch and exploring the surrounding area. The trail initially passes over the arch, and hikers who aren’t paying attention may not notice it at first. The path later looped around and took me under the arch, where it can be appreciated more fully. 

Princess Arch


Double Arch

Day two consisted of a hike out to Double Arch. Double Arch is made up of two arches stacked on top of one another, though the upper arch is quite narrow and takes a little extra effort to see. Unlike the Princess Arch Trail, the trail to Double Arch leads to the base of the arch. For those who want to go a bit further, however, a stairway carved into the stone off to the right of the arch leads to the top of the arch and spectacular views of the surrounding gorge.

The gap between the two arches of Double Arch is thin and can only be seen from certain angles


Looking through Double Arch provides great views of the gorge


A stairway carved into the rock leads to the top of Double Arch


View from above Double Arch

Although I spent my visit hiking, a variety of outdoor experiences, including camping, ziplining, and rock climbing, are available in the area.

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