SUMMARY: A moderate loop hike to an outstanding overlook. Many people consider a good portion of this trail a climber’s route. The bowl below Eagle Point Buttress is gorgeous and there are several other beautiful areas along the route including the top of the buttress. This hike makes a great loop and there are several spurs off of the hike that could extend it and/or make it fun for backpacking.
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. Use extreme caution along all cliff lines.
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 most of the day (3-6 hours) to enjoy this walk.
DIRECTIONS TO TRAILHEAD:
- From rest area at exit #33 off of the Mountain State Parkway Turn left, and return to the Mountain State Parkway – East (8 miles)
- Take Exit 40 for for KY-15/KY-715 toward Beattyville. (0.3 miles)
- Turn right at KY-15 N/KY-715 N. (0.7 miles)
- Take the 1st right onto KY-715 N(6.3 miles)
- Park in well marked parking area on right side of road just after crossing the concrete bridge.
- From parking area follow the unmarked trail running parallel to the red river. (0.75 miles) The trail is between Osborne Bend Trail #240 and the river.
- Turn left at a campsite and head up hill away from the river and you will begin to follow an old roadbed. (0.2 miles)
- The roadbed will convert into a trail, stay left on trail to enter an impressive cliff system. Soon you will be below Eagle Point Buttress. You are in a “U” shaped bowl, and your goal is to get around to the other side where you will find a steep switch back climber’s trail that will take you to the top of the same cliff. Follow the unmarked trail around the cliff line passing the waypoint marked “under cliffs” and arriving at the point where you begin to climb switchbacks. (0.1 miles)
- Turn left and head up at a sharp cut or cleft between 2 rocks and ascend the steep switch backs to the top of the cliff line. (0.1 miles)
- Turn left and head out a spur trail on top of the cliff line to Eagle Point Buttress. (0.15 miles) The spur trail is labeled in orange on the detail map and is not included on the overview map.
- Return to the top of the switchbacks via the spur trail. (0.15 miles)
- Turn left and continue up hill to an old roadbed. (0.1 miles)
- Turn left on road bed and follow it until ends at Osborne Bend Trail #240. (1.0 miles) Several waypoints are provided to help with navigation.
- Turn left on Osborne Bend Trail #240 and follow it back to the parking area passing Unicorn Arch along the route. (1.6 miles)