The Gorge, often referred to as the Rockies of Kentucky offers some of the most scenic trails you can find in the area. On top of having some of the best views, it also contains an enormous amount of trails including part of the massive 268 mile Sheltowee trail. This article focuses on the area surrounding the Auxier Trail, and includes the Aux. Brank Trail, Double Arch Trail, and Courthouse Rock Trail. Hit up the Read More link to read about my experience and find the links for maps, gps, pictures, and resources.
Getting to these trails is deceiving based on local maps. At first glance, you would think that you could make it to these trails off of 77, however a one lane tunnel passes under the trail entrance. To get there, you need to follow take 15 off of the Mountain Parkway and follow it down to Tunnel Ridge Road. Map This map will take you from Nada, which is just off the Mountain PKWY, to the parking area for the Auxier Trail. A half hour walk could take you to the other side of the tail if you want to catch the Double Arch first. We started at Auxier though.
Trail 204: Auxier Ridge Trail
This is the first trail you’ll come to right out of the parking lot. The main feature of this trail is the of course the Auxier Ridge that gives you a nice scenic lookout giving you a view of Haystack Rock, Auxier Branch, and the Double Arch. It leads to the Courthouse Rock and loops with Trail 202 which makes for a shorter trip if you’ve got less time to work with. The choice between taking 204 all the way to Courthouse Rock, or splitting off and seeing Haystack Rock up close is up to if you choose to continue the loop to the Double Arch. We opted to follow it all the way.
Trail 203: Auxier Branch
Whichever path you take, they will both lead to this trail. It connects the Courthouse with the Double Arch Trails, and follows a nice scenic walk along the Auxier Branch. The walk features a shaded walk through some wetlands. There were a couple of muddy spots along the trail, but for the most part, the trail was high and dry.
Trail 201: Double Arch Trail
Completing the Trail 203 will bring you to your final choice of the trip. If you’re feeling a bit worn from the trek so far, you can opt to go left and head home. Otherwise you can venture to the right and witness the Double Arch. Unfortunately, we opted to call it day. Although, I’m sure the added couple of miles would have been worth it.
The final leg of the trip is a tough uphill venture feature a mean hill and some stairs. But just making it up the hill isn’t going to get you home just yet. You still have about a 30 walk on a gravel road back to the parking lot. Luckily it’s a flat one.
The first mile or so of this trail really isn’t all that scenic, although it is a well kept trail that is plainly marked along the way. Enjoy this walk though, you’ll need your energy for the end. Halfway to the Courthouse Rock you can opt to take the Courthouse Rock Trail which will take you to Haystack Rock. , you have an option to take the Upon getting closer to the Courthouse rock, you’ll be presented with a beutiful lookout that looks out over the Double Arch. The trail will eventually take you over a narrow rock ridge and the scenic overlooks continue all the way up to your first Point of Interest, Courthouse Rock.
RedRiverGorge -KMZ File for Google Earth
Red River Gorge Trail Map (pdf)