SUMMARY: An cool hike to a neat unmarked arch on top of a ridge line with great views. I really like this hike and there are many different ways to access it, including making it part of a larger loop or coming from Rock Bridge. Many people camp in the river bed along rock creek. This description involves a stream crossing without a bridge (1 crossing in each direction.) It is essential to bring a compass and a good map and know how to use them. There are no services available at the trailhead.
RATING: Moderate Hike (about 4.5 miles) This hike uses unmarked trails and some people have trouble navigating the 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) 745-310
AMOUNT OF TIME NEEDED: Allow a half of a day (3-6 hours) to enjoy this hike.
DIRECTIONS TO TRAILHEAD:
- From rest area at exit #33 off of the Mountain State Parkway Turn left, and return to the Mountain State Park – West (8.0 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. (2.8 miles)
- Park in Wildcat parking area on left side. The trail head is across the street.
- From across the street from where you parked follow trail #228 Wildcat Trail (1.8 miles) The trail makes a left hand turn at a small sign shortly after starting and about 0.5 miles into the hike it merges with a dirt road for a few hundred feet. Turn right when you arrive at the road and then split off to the left as the trail leaves the road a few hundred feet later. As with many trails in Red River Gorge it is an official marked trail, but is not that well marked.
- Turn left onto trail #219 Swift Camp Creek Trail. (0.2 miles) The trail will cross a small creek and then passes at a large campsite by the large Swift Camp Creek.
- Leave the trail and head down to Swift Camp Creek passing through the campsite. (100 ft)
- Head left (down stream) beside the creek on a small unmarked trail until it ends. (100 ft)
- Cross Swift Camp Creek and find another unmarked trail heading up the hill. The unmarked trail is another 10-20 feet down stream from where you crossed. It is hard to find, but makes getting up to the arch much easier. Once you find it, it is a good trail. If not you can make your own path up through the forest using a GPS. The arch is basically straight up the hill in front of you. Follow the unmarked trail up to Timmon’s Arch. (0.25 miles)
- Return to Swift Camp Creek by following the unmarked trail (0.25 miles)
- Cross Swift Camp Creek, and head back up to trail #219 Swift Camp Creek Trail.
- Follow trail #219 Swift Camp Creek Trail (0.2 miles)
- Turn right on trail #228 Wildcat Trail (1.8 miles) Remember the trail merges with a dirt road for a few hundred feet, which you then split back off to the left. When the trail arrives at the small sign near the end makes a right hand turn.
- Arrive at the Wildcat parking area.
37, 47, 24.2
83, 34, 6.3