Here’s a complete guide to planning a day trip from Lexington to the Red River Gorge


Travelers who love the outdoors and some good southern traditions should visit the Red River Gorge, just over an hour from Lexington, Kentucky. Located in the Boone National Forest, this gorge is home to incredible natural rock formations, cliffs, and waterfalls ideal for travelers to explore.

The Red River Gorge is home to many amazing rock arches. The number of them really makes this gorge stand out. Then there’s the Rouge River itself, where travelers can kayak or canoe down the rapids. Then there is the town of Lexington, which is the perfect starting point for a Red River Gorge adventure.


Start the day in Lexington, KY

Lexington, Kentucky is a charming and vibrant city rich in southern charm. The people of Lexington have a great love for honor, horses, bourbon (of course, it’s Kentucky), and traditions. Travelers starting their day in this city will have a few places to check out while in Lexington.

The first is Spalding Bakery. It’s a great place to grab some delicious pastries to start the morning before driving to the Red River Gorge. The second is Blue door smokehouse. This would probably be the stop after travelers return from the gorge, but travelers definitely need to find a way to fit them into their itinerary.

The best time to make the trip to the Red River Gorge

Depending on what travelers are looking forward to doing, the time they want to visit can vary. The most popular times to visit are spring and fall. This is when the gorge will be best for viewing and weather. Winter is also a good time to visit, but the weather won’t be as pleasant.

For travelers to get the most out of their trip to the Red River Gorge, they should leave early in the day to have the most time possible. Just over an hour from Lexington, probably not worth the many stops on the way to the gorge.

Red River Gorge, Kentucky

Located in east-central Kentucky, travelers will find the Red River Gorge hidden in the Boone National Forest. The Red River winds its way through the state forest carving out the gorge. Over millions of years, more than 150 sandstone arches in the 29,000 acres of geological area have been formed. This is the only place east of the Rocky Mountains where travelers can see so many freestanding arches. There are also many rock shelters, jagged cliffs, natural bridges and waterfalls.

Related: More than Utah: Discover the natural arches of this Kentucky state park

Things to do in Red River Gorge, Kentucky

With hundreds of visitors each year, travelers can expect to find plenty to do in the incredible natural splendor of the Red River Gorge. Outdoor enthusiasts will have a great time exploring mountain biking trails, rock climbing and more. Travelers will always have something to do in Red River Gorge.


Rock climbing is a popular activity at “The Red”, as locals refer to the Red River Gorge. The gorge is home to numerous sandstone cliffs that are around 200 feet high. Travelers will find a variety of recreation reserves located throughout the gorge which are popular rock climbing locations.

Travelers should contact Red River Gorge Climbers Coalition for any questions they may have. The coalition is made up of dedicated volunteers who work to ensure that the gorge will always provide free access for climbers. They act as guardians of the terrain and climbing sites in the gorge.

Red River Gorge Zipline

Travelers visiting the Red River Gorge can visit the Red River Gorge Zipline and enjoy the rush at the gorge’s number one attraction. Travelers will be joined by a professional guide; this tour will take travelers through five separate ziplines 300 feet around the gorge at speeds of up to 55 mph. Travelers will also get to experience four unique canopy bridges as part of the tour.

  • Address – 455 Cliffview Road, Campton, Kentucky 41301
  • Contact – (606) 668-6222
  • Website

Related: This La Grange swimming hole is the best in Kentucky​​​​​​

Cable Equestrian Center

This family stable is an ideal place for travellers, especially if they have children. Travelers can meet their beautiful horses and can also enjoy a relaxing ride on them. The stables are located approximately 10 miles from Natural Bridge State Park. Hikes last about an hour as travelers take a guided tour down a dirt road. The scenery here is breathtaking all year round.

  • Adults – $30
  • Children (8-12) – $20
  • Contact – 606-362-5994, 606-362-4456 or 606-668-7337

Red River Adventure

Red River Adventure offers travelers the only canoe and kayak outfitter located directly in the Red River Gorge. Canoeing and kayaking are popular activities in the gorge. Travelers can simply park their car and let them take them uphill to begin the adventure. After descending the rapids by canoe or kayak, travelers can conclude their experience at Red River Adventures Campground, where travelers’ cars are parked.

  • Address – 394 Sky Bridge Rd, Stanton, Kentucky 40380
  • Contact – (606) 663-1012
  • Website


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