Gray’s Arch Loop-Short (4.0 miles)

Gray's Arch

SUMMARY: Gray’s Arch is one of the most popular destinations in Red River Gorge.  On this route and the alternative longer route, visitors arrive at one of Red River Gorge’s most spectacular arches.  In the peak season Gray’s Arch can be busy, we have seen wedding parties and countless families and friends enjoying this feature.  Even on winter days it is rare to be alone at Gray’s arch, but it seems there is always plenty of space for all to enjoy.

RATING: Easy day hike(approximately 4 miles total;)  very spectacular scenery; gravel road for the last 1 mile to trailhead with basic services at the trailhead.

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 (2-4 hours) to enjoy this hike.  Some can hike it faster, but most arrive at Gray’s Arch and spend time exploring and resting. The scenery is spectacular, the geology is interesting; and, the arch itself is a perfect place to have lunch and explore. Pack a lunch and enjoy the adventure!


  1. From rest area at exit #33 off of the Mountain State Parkway Turn left, and go to end of road (.3 miles)
  2. Turn Right onto KY 15 (3.3 miles)
  3. Turn Left onto Tunnel Ridge Road (.9 miles)
  4. Park at Gray’s Arch Picnic Area (on right)


  1. From the Gray’s Arch picnic Area, go back up Tunnel Ridge Road (0.1 miles)
  2. Turn Left onto Trail #223 Pinch ’em Tight Trail (0.3 miles)
  3. Turn Left onto Trail #227 Rush Ridge Trail Trail (1.0 miles)
  4. Turn Left onto Trail #221 Rough Trail (1.2 miles)
  5. Arrive at Gray’s Arch
  6. Continue on Trail #221 Rough Trail (0.9 miles)
  7. Turn Left onto Trail #205 Gray’s Arch Trail (0.2 miles)
  8. Arrive at Gray’s Arch Picnic Area

BONUS : Did you know you can scramble up the back left side of the arch?  Notice: this activity can be extremely dangerous and potentially deadly.  Do not attempt without proper training.