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A Long Weekend in Kentucky's Red River Gorge

Wondering how best to experience the magnificence of the Red River Gorge? Or how to spend a weekend soaking up the spectacular views while making sure to sample some of the best culinary flavors that Kentucky has to offer?  You are not alone!  Here’s a sample full and fun packed itinerary for the moderately adventurous to enjoy anytime between spring and fall. 

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Day 1: Check out the treasures within the historical town of Clay City

  • 2:00 PM: Arrive for an early check into your charmingly comfortable accommodations at the Clay City Inn and after a short break to replenish your energy, hit the road to the nearby Red River Museum where visitors can muse over our Appellation past and view an extensive collection of historical mill wheels.


  • 5:00 PM: Take an early dinner at the local Mexican Restaurant Mi Hacienda VII while contemplating your next move…


  • 6:00 PM: Pull on your hiking boots and head over the Pilot Knob trail head in time to reach the top for the spectacular sunset views.  Be ready to the uphill haul and be sure to have water as this hike is quite strenuous for some.  Alternative option: Head back to the comfort of the Clay City Inn and enjoy a relaxing beverage with smores by the fire pit.

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      Day 2: Exploring Natural Beauty of the Red River Gorge

  • 8:00 AM: Start your day off right with a hearty breakfast at the highly acclaimed local gathering place Daniel Boone Coffee Shop located at the gateway to the Gorge, saving a little time to enjoy the delights of the onsite gift shop.


  • 9:00 AM: Head to the Slade Welcome Center to pick up maps, get information about trails, and learn about the area's geology and history.  Enjoy a photo opportunity at the famous caboose.


  • 9:30 AM: Begin your adventure with a hike on the Auxier Ridge Trail. This moderate hike offers breathtaking views of the gorge and its unique rock formations.  Alternate option:  Swing by Thrillsville Adventure Golf and experience the thrill of adventure mini golf on the 18-hole course brimming with features like ponds, waterfalls, bridges, mystery holes, and an exciting water wheel to complete the adventure!


  • 12:00 PM: Enjoy a light lunch at Hop's for some farm to table local and eclectic foods, and a full bar (with the very best selection around).

  • 1:00 PM: Drive to the Sky Bridge parking area and take a short hike to the iconic Sky Bridge Arch. Take in the stunning vistas and walk across the natural stone bridge.

  • 2:30 PM: Continue your adventure by driving the spectacularly scenic look around the Gorge, stopping at various rest areas and enjoying a selection of short trails through the Clifty Wilderness area.  Be sure to keep your eyes open for the Legendary Bigfoot who is believed to thrive in the area.

  • 4:30 PM: Head back to the Clay City Inn to refresh and while enroute; pass through the Nada Tunnell, a historic 900-foot (270 m) long tunnel which rumor has it is haunted by a ghost of a former tunnel construction worker who perished when a stick of dynamite exploded when being thawed at a nearby fire.

  • 6:00 PM: Replenish your fuel with a visit to the iconic Miguels Pizza Restaurant where climbers and hikers alike gather and share stories of their day’s adventures.

  • 8:00 PM: As darkness falls, sit back and relax on an evening custom boat tour or clear bottom kayak through the 100-year-old flooded limestone mine and discover the rich history and hidden secrets of The Gorge Underground.

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Day 3: More Action Packed Adventure and Exploration

  • 8:00 AM: Grab a quick breakfast on the go and get an early start to make the most of the day.


  • 8:30 AM: Drive to the Natural Bridge State Resort Park.  Explore the famous Natural Bridge, a huge and impressive sandstone arch formation by taking the moderate original trail or the lighter option of the chair lift.


  • 11:00 AM: Visit the beautifully scenic Mill Creek Lake and consider renting kayaks and spending a leisurely hour on the exploring the water.


  • 12:00 PM: Enjoy a nearby lunch under the bright and refreshing covered patio of La Cabana Restaurant, where Bigfoot has also been known to make an occasional appearance.


  • 1:00 PM: For more atmospheric scenery, visit the favorited Rock Bridge Trail which has the bonus of not only a natural bridge to admire but the startling Creation Falls and creak to cool off your tired feet.  Be sure to stop for ice cream or a pastry along the way at The BrickAlternative Option: Amp up the thrills and soar through the Gorge at Red River Gorge Ziplines.


  • 4.30 PM: Return to the comforts of the Clay City Inn to relax and freshen up.


  • 7:00 PM: Head out to the highly acclaimed Red Point BBQ for a delicious evening meal. Many restaurants in the area offer locally sourced ingredients and a cozy atmosphere but at this hot spot, you will also enjoy the best brisket you have ever tasted in your life!

Please keep in mind that if you are travelling early in the week; some restaurants take their rest days on Mondays and/or Tuesday as these are quieter days for tourism.


Remember to check the trail conditions and weather forecasts before embarking on your hikes. Additionally, make sure to pack essentials like water, snacks, comfortable hiking shoes, appropriate clothing, and a trail map.


The Red River Gorge is a natural wonder, so take your time to soak in the stunning landscapes and enjoy the outdoors to the fullest and at the end of it all… there is still so much to offer so be sure to come back soon!

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