Red Byrd Arch (3.2 miles- unmarked)

Red Byrd Arch

SUMMARY: A difficult short hike via land to Red Byrd Arch.  Red Byrd Arch is a spectacular site, and while it is labeled on official maps the lack of a trail make it a very secluded site.  There are 2 ways to arrive to Red Byrd Arch, the other route is a little longer and more beautiful, but requires a crossing of the Red River, which for part of the year would be difficult, miserable or both.  This route could be completed year round.  None of this route is on marked trails or official trails making it difficult.  You will absolutely need a GPS and a compass and you will know how to use them.

RATING: Difficult day hike (approximately 3.2 miles total;)  This hike uses unmarked trails and many people have trouble navigating the hike.  A portion of this hike does NOT have any trail.  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.  This hike is also nice in winter as it is easier to find the “trail” without all of the growth.  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 (4-6 hours) to enjoy this hike.  The scenery is spectacular, the geology is interesting; and, the arch is a perfect place to have lunch and explore. Pack a lunch and enjoy the adventure!

Start of Red Byrd Arch Hike


  1. From rest area at exit #33 off of the Mountain State Parkway Turn left, and return to the Mountain State Park – West (10.0 miles)
  2. Take Exit 43 for KY-15 toward Campton. (0.8miles)
  3. Turn left onto KY-191 East- at Shell Station. (1.5 miles)
  4. Turn left onto KY-746 (1.9 miles)
  5. Turn left onto Calaboose Ridge Road. (3.4 miles) After 2.0 miles you will pass a church on your right and about 0.75 miles later the road becomes a dirt road.  At 3.4 miles you can park at a traffic circle.  The road continues off to your right.  The trail is 0.1 miles to your left up the unmarked road.  Depending on the type of vehicle you are using, you may drive another 0.1 miles or leave your car here and start here.
  6. Turn left onto the unmarked road and go to the gate on your right side that says foot travel welcome. (0.1 miles)
GPS Coordinates of start of hike to Red Byrd Arch
37, 48′ 47.2 N
83, 33′ 10.2 W 

Rocks blocking vehicle travel on road


  1. From gate at parking area that says foot travel welcome.  Go under gate and proceed up old forest service road (0.4 miles)
  2. Arrive at a large pile of white rocks that were placed in the road to prevent vehicle traffic.  Continue on this road (200 feet) Shortly after the rocks there is another old logging road (on your right) that connects into the road you are following. It is very difficult to find logging road, and then be able to follow it, but it is the easiest way to get to the ridge above Red Byrd Arch.  We found it and lost it several times along the way.  The logging road is particularly bad at the beginning, as you get closer to Red Byrd the road is in better condition.  At the bottom are some GPS coordinates to help.
  3. Turn right onto and follow the old logging road and your GPS and compass to the point of the ridge above Red Byrd Arch.  You will most likely not be able to find the road for part or all of this journey. (1.2 miles)
  4. Red Byrd Arch

    Arrive at point on ridge above Red Byrd Arch and looking out over the Red River.  Descend to Red Byrd Arch. (200 feet)  We were able to find a route down to the arch this way, but use extreme caution on these dangerous rock faces.  It took us several attempts before we found a route that did not end at a cliff.  You will go down into an area and find a little stream or creek.  The trail descending does not go in a straight line.  Be careful and enjoy, this is an amazing area.

  5. Enjoy Red Byrd Arch.
  6. Climb back up to point above Red Byrd Arch (200 feet)
  7. Return using GPS, compass and old logging road to forest service road (1.2 miles)
  8. Turn left on forest service road and follow it back to your car (0.4 miles)
GPS Coordinates of start of hike to Red Byrd Arch
37, 47′ 45.0 N
83, 33′ 30.3 W
GPS Coordinates of approximate point where logging road meets forest service road.
37, 48′ 3.3 N
83, 33′ 31.0 W
GPS Coordinates of waypoint campsite in route.
37, 48′ 47.2 N
83, 33′ 10.2 W
GPS Coordinates of point on ridge above Red Byrd Arch.
37, 48′ 55.4 N
83, 33′ 3.2 W
GPS Coordinates of Red Byrd Arch
37, 48′ 54.4 N
83, 33′ 1.6 W