SUMMARY: Some of the best vistas in Red River Gorge; gravel road for the last 4 miles to the trailhead with basic services at the trailhead.
RATING: Moderate day hike (approximately 5 miles total)
BEST TIME OF YEAR TO HIKE:Early spring when flowers are blooming or autumn when you can catch the fall colors. The USDA Forest Office is located in Winchester, Kentucky about an hour from Red River Gorge. For up to date information either stop in the Ranger District Office, visit their website or telephone: (859) 745-3100.
AMOUNT OF TIME NEEDED: Allow a half of a day (3-6 hours) to enjoy this hike. Some can hike it faster, but most arrive on Auxier Ridge and spend time exploring and resting. The scenery is spectacular, the geology is interesting; and, the ridge itself is a perfect place to have lunch and explore. Pack a lunch and enjoy the adventure!
DIRECTIONS TO TRAILHEAD:
- From rest area at exit #33 off of the Mountain State Parkway Turn left, and go to end of road (.3 miles)
- Turn Right onto KY 15 (3.3 miles)
- Turn Left onto Tunnel Ridge Road (3.7 miles)
- Park at the End of Tunnel Ridge Road in the Auxier Ridge Parking Area
- Follow Trail #204 Auxier Ridge Trail (2.0 miles) (do NOT turn left on Trail #202 Courthouse Rock Trail after approximately 1 mile)
- Arrive at Auxier Ridge and Courthouse Rock
- Turn Left onto Trail #202 Courthouse Rock Trail (2.0 miles)
- Turn Right on Trail #204 Auxier Ridge Trail (1.0 miles)
- Arrive at Auxier Ridge Parking Area
BONUS : Did you know you can climb up courthouse rock? Notice: this activity can be extremely dangerous and potentially deadly. Do not attempt without proper training and definitely bringing ropes and safety equipment. The first part begins on the left side and you scramble up the bottom part at which point the path crosses to the other side where you scramble up below the gully pictured below. When you get to this gully it gets dangerous and you need training, equipment and or a guide. To climb the gully you put your back against the right wall and your feet on the other wall and ascend. While it does not look bad in the picture, when you arrive you will realize the gully is over a major cliff and there is no room for error.
BONUS #2: From the exposed parts of Auxier Ridge you will be able to see both Haystack Rock and Courthouse Rock. Courthouse Rock is the large rock at the end of the trail (right). Haystack Rock is off to the left front side sitting in the valley.