Cloud Splitter Arch (1.8 miles – unmarked)

Cloud Splitter Arch

SUMMARY: A moderate hike to a unique arch.  There is a split similar to Fat Man’s Squeeze (on Natural Bridge) in order to get to this arch.  However, this split is much narrower, and requires some scrambling, making it much more fun than Fat Man’s Squeeze.  Older children (teenagers) tend to enjoy this hike because of the squeeze. The access to the arch and the views make this arch well worth the hike.  Use extreme caution while enjoying this hike!

RATING: Moderate Hike (about 1.8 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.

The Split (log ladder in background)

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, and return to the Mountain State Park – West (8 miles)
  2. Take Exit 40 for for KY-15/KY-715 toward Beattyville. (0.3 miles)
  3. Turn right at KY-15 N/KY-715 N. (0.7 miles)
  4. Take the 1st right onto KY-715 N (9.7 miles)
  5. Park in a pull of 0.5 miles after the Trail #220 Bison Way Trail Parking Area on right just after bridge after Gladie Historic Site.


  1. From parking area follow KY-715 N in the same direction until you find a small unmarked trail heading up hill on the right side of the road (opposite the river.)  (0.2 miles)
  2. Turn right on the unmarked trail and follow the trail until it intersects Trail #100 Sheltowee Trace Trail. (0.4 miles)
  3. Turn left on Trail #100 Sheltowee Trace Trail. (0.1 miles)
  4. As you come to a small stream turn right on another unmarked trail that heads up the hill parallel to the stream.  Follow this trail to Cloud Splitter Arch. (0.2 miles)
  5. As you approach the base to cloud splitter, you can scramble up the right hand side to enter the split.  Once inside the split it is necessary to go up the log ladder and down the wooden ladder, and scramble a bit (reverse when leaving.)  At the end of the split you are inside of the arch.  If you choose to scramble to the top (beyond the crack,) it is challenging and a rope may be necessary.
  6. Return down unmarked trail back to where it meets up with Trail #100 Sheltowee Trace Trail. (0.2 miles)
  7. Turn left on Trail #100 Sheltowee Trace Trail. (0.1 miles)
  8. Turn right on unmarked trail that heads back down to the road. (0.2 miles)
  9. Turn left on KY-715 N until you arrive at pull off.
GPS Coordinates of unmarked trail starting hike to Cloud Splitter
37, 50′ 07.1 N
83, 37′ 15.3 W
 GPS Coordinates of meeting of unmarked trail and Sheltowee Trace
37, 50′ 10.7 N
83, 37′ 14.5 W
 GPS Coordinates of unmarked trail heading up to Cloud Splitter from Sheltowee Trace
37, 50′ 16.3 N
83, 37′ 22.7 W
  GPS Coordinates of base of Cloud Splitter
37, 50′ 17.5 N
83, 37′ 17.4 W