Blackburn Vista (4.0 miles – unmarked)

Blackburn Vista

SUMMARY: An easy hike to an outstanding overlook.  We consider this one of the best vistas in the Red River Gorge.  It is definitely one of the least visited and private vistas you will find in the gorge.  This hike mostly follows a gravel road, and while unmarked it is one of the easier unmarked trails to follow.  However, like all unmarked trails some people will have trouble navigating and may get lost, and as always a GPS is useful. This hike is technically in the Indian Creek area.  This description accesses the hike as from the far side of the park and requires significant driving (about 1 hour) if you are at the Slade exit.  It is possible to access this hike following the horse trail that goes past Powder Mill Arch, but the hike would be a little longer and would require a stream crossing.

RATING: Moderate Hike (about 4.0 miles.)  This hike uses unmarked trails and many people have trouble navigating the hike.  This hike has scrambles/climbs that can be dangerous or deadly.  A quality map, compass and deep woods navigating skills are essential for your safety on this hike.

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.

  1. From rest area at exit #33 off of the Mountain State Parkway Turn left, on Hwy 11 (0.1 miles)
  2. Turn left onto Hwy 15 (1.5 miles)
  3. Turn right on Hwy 77 (5.1 miles)
  4. Turn left on Hwy 77 (9.1 miles)
  5. Turn left onto US-460W (3.8 miles)
  6. Turn left onto Walnut Street (1.2 miles)
  7. Turn left onto KY 713/Indian Creek Road (5.7 miles)
  8. Turn left onto CR-1206/Spaas Creek Gravel Road (0.3 miles)(the road is easy to miss) (across from Fagan Cemetery)
  9. Turn left onto Hatton Ridge Road (1.9 miles)
  10. Park by gate by cemetery where the road ends

ALTERNATIVE DRIVING DIRECTIONS: These alternative driving directions from Interstate 64 will save approximately 30 minutes of driving time each way.  These directions are practical if you are coming from Lexington or Ashland directly to this hike as opposed to coming from the Gorge area.

  1. Take exit 110 for US-460/KY-11 towards Flemingsburg/Mt Sterling from Interstate 64.
  2. Turn right onto KY-11 S/US-460 E/Maysville Road (1.5 miles)
  3. Turn right onto W Main Street (0.2 miles)
  4. Turn left on S Bank Street (0.4 miles)
  5. Continue onto US-460 E/Camargo Road (12.2 miles)
  6. Turn right on KY-713 E/Hawkins Branch Road (4.3 miles)
  7. Turn right onto CR-1206/Spaas Creek Gravel Road (0.3 miles)(the road is easy to miss)
  8. Turn left onto Hatton Ridge Road (1.9 miles)
  9. Park by gate by cemetery where the road ends

Blackburn Crevice

  1. From parking area pass underneath the gate and continue down the unmarked gravel road. (1.5 miles)  After approximately 1.3 miles you will pass the Powder Mill Trail on your left side.
  2. Arrive at a clearing on your right and an unmarked trail after 1.5 miles.  Turn to face the clearing and the unmarked trail is in the back right corner of the clearing.  Turn right and follow the unmarked trail out the ridge to Blackburn Vista (0.5 miles.)  After 0.4 miles you will pass a way point where you need to make a sharp right turn, it is easy to miss this turn and you will end up at a secondary vista, if you miss the turn back track and head out to Blackburn Vista.
  3. You will know you arrived at Blackburn vista because it has a significant crevice.  I do not recommend crossing the crevice, use extreme caution if you choose to cross this gap can lead to significant injury or death.
  4. Return to the gravel road via the unmarked trail. (0.5 miles)
  5. Turn left on unmarked gravel road and return to the parking area. (1.5 miles)
GPS Coordinates of unmarked gravel road starting hike to Blackburn Vista
37, 53′ 29 N
83, 41′ 44 W
 GPS Coordinates of clearing at intersection of unmarked gravel road and unmarked trail
37, 52′ 36 N
83, 41′ 46 W
GPS Coordinates of waypoint.
37, 52′ 44 N
83, 42′ 5 W
GPS Coordinates of Blackburn Vista
37, 52′ 47 N
83, 42′ 8 W