You can see a lot of Red River Gorge in East Central, Kentucky on a day trip.
I have so many great memories visiting Red River Gorge as a teenager and young adult.
Red River Gorge is about 2 hours away from where we live near Cincinnati.
We grabbed a quick fast-food breakfast and went to the Rest Area off of the Natural Bridge exit to get a map of the trails in the area.
There is also a train car in the distance that is perfect for a photo opp.
1. Visit Natural Bridge First
We took the trail near Hoe Down Island that led us to the shortest route up the mountain which is a .75 mile trail.
(If you are ever in town when there is a Hoe Down there, you need to go!
It still ranks as one of the most fun I’ve ever had at a dance ever.
Unfortunately, the Sky Lift closed the day before our visit but we needed to work off some Halloween candy anyway.
The trail is definitely a good work out!
The trail takes you under Natural Bridge first. There is also a tight squeeze involved on the way up.
There are no safety fences on top of Natural Bridge so it’s important for everyone to be mindful of the edge. It’s also important to remember not to step back during family pictures.
To get the best views of Natural Bridge you need to take the trail past the Skylift.
On our way down the trail, we ran into Shalee from Shalee Wanders.
You might remember that she was the person that I just met and auditioned for the Amazing Race with.
She just happened to be joining friends from Michigan on a climbing trip that weekend.
What are the odds that we would run into her on that same exact trail, at the same time, on the same day!
2. Next, we went to Gray’s Arch
This was the site of my very 1st rappel and very 1st upside down rappel as a teenager.
You can no longer rappel off of the arch but it was still cool to bring my kids to an area that I have such fond memories of.
3. Dinner at Red River Rockhouse
Three of us ordered the burgers from grass-fed cows along with fries and my other son ordered a burrito.
The restaurant is family owned and sources their food from local farmers and artisans. My family loved this restaurant.
The burger was really juicy and the fries were freshly cut thin and fried to perfection.
I’ve got to say their choice of “Outlaw Country” music added to the experience of the Appalachian backwoods.
Miguels Pizza is another great option depending on what you are in the mood for.
4. Visit Southeast Mountain Guides the first Via Ferrata in the United States
Via Ferrata is a type of climbing with steel cables along a route with hand and foot rungs.
The site also offers guided climbing and rappelling.
Kids have to be 10 years old to try Via Ferrata so this is definitely an adventure that we want to come back and try.
This seriously looks like so much fun!
We learned that you can choose a full or half-day for your adventure and that there are sections of the canyon that range in skill level.
Check out these other unique things to do at Red River Gorge.
5. Last stop was Nada Tunnel
This former railroad tunnel was built in the early 1900s and there is only enough room for one vehicle to pass through at a time in this 900 ft. tunnel.
For time purposes we went through the tunnel and then turned around at one of the nearby trail entrances.
I’d highly recommend a trip to Red River Gorge whether you have a few hours or a week, you find a lot to love here.
You can find out more about Natural Bridge and Red River Gorge from the Natural Bridge website.
More related article about Red River Gorge
5 Things to Do When You Visit Red River Gorge
How to make the most of your Red River Gorge Getaway at Cliffview Resort
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21 thoughts on “5 Places to Visit During a Daytrip to Red River Gorge”
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Hello im having my honeymoon at the gorge and staying in a cabin. do you know of any good spots and things to do. Thanks.
That’s great to hear Tiffany! Thank you so much for sharing and I’m so glad that you found the article helpful for your adventure to Red River Gorge.
Thanks for all the great info! I cam across this blog when searching info out about the gorge and natural bridge. We took our 3 boys (6,7 &9) yesterday and it was a fantastic, memorable trip for each of us. We live in Louisville so the drive to get there was easy and this made for a great day trip before we start school again next week. Thanks again for your suggestions!
Hi Mary Jo- You were right. That’s my husband Dan. Thanks for checking out the post.
Hi Nedra just looking at red river gorge sites as i just went for a day trip this past thurs. not 100% sure but from your family photos your husband looks just like a letter carrier i recently worked with at western hills. my name is mary jo. ps red river gorge rocks.
Hi Traiq- I found a website that has information about wheelchair accessible trails. Hope this helps! https://www.accessiblenature.info/?page_id=73
I am planning a day trip to Red River Gorge in October. I wanted to know if you know of any places that are wheelchair accessible? Great adventure blog by the way!
Thank you! I’ve just started using Instagram to edit with also.
Hi Chasidy- It varies on the image but I use snapseed and instagram for filters when I use them. All of my pics are from my iphone 6. Thanks for sharing the info.
I just got back on here to show my husband your pic from the Via Ferretta area and saw your reply. The Herpetolgy Weekend is April 15-16. They have a Facebook page. We are looking forward to it. What photo editing app do you use? I love your pics from the Gorge. We can’t wait to hike there again soon!
Thank you Chasidy! I would love to learn more about Herpetology Weekend. Do you know the date?
I enjoyed this article about your family’s adventures in Red River Gorge. We live just about 10 minutes from Natural Bridge and LOVE it. Our kids are 6 and 9 and we really started exploring the area with them this past summer. There’s so many short trails that are perfect for them. If you haven’t been yet, Jump Rock is so much fun! And Herpetology Weekend is coming up in April. I bet your family (especially your sons!) would enjoy it!! I took my kids last Spring and they have talked about it all year so we are looking forward to it! By the way, your pictures are beautiful!! I especially love the one taken at the Via Ferrata area!!