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Kentucky Scenic Drives: Red River Gorge Scenic Byway

Highlights of the Red River Gorge Scenic Byway

┬ę Sky Bridge Arch is accessible from a trail that passes over and beneath this interesting rock formation.

The forested hills of the Red River Gorge Scenic Byway are interspersed with rocky cliffs and natural stone bridges, offering you a visual treat with every turn. Native trees often tower over the road creating a tunnel-like experience.

Because the byway mostly travels through a gorge that was created by the erosion effects of rivers, the byway is never far from water and wildlife will be more likely to be spotted. If you are in the mood for the unusual spotting of wildlife, at the Gladie Historic Site you can get an up-close view of the resident bison herd.


Use this itinerary as a guideline to catch the highlights of the Red River Gorge Scenic Byway.

Sky Bridge: One of the best known and most accessible arches of this area is Sky Bridge, 75 feet long and 23 feet high. Sky Bridge's arch features a magnificent view of Clifty Wilderness.

Nada Tunnel: Enter the Red River Gorge Geological Area through the 900-foot Nada Tunnel. Open to one-lane traffic only, the tunnel was hand-carved without any modern technology for use by a logging railroad during the early 1900s. The tunnel is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Clifty Wilderness: Within the gorge is Clifty Wilderness, a hardy and untamed area designated as wilderness by Congress in 1985. This 12,646-acre area features arches, rock shelters, and towering cliffs encircling steep, forested slopes and narrow stream valleys.

Gladie Historic Site: Gladie Cabin, a reconstructed log house, is the only structure in the gorge that dates back to the late 19th century.

Raven's Rock and Angel Windows: Raven's Rock offers some of the best views of the Red River Gorge. Angel Windows is another of the most easily reached of the arches.

Natural Bridge State Resort Park: Standing 65 feet high and 78 feet long, the great natural sandstone arch known as Natural Bridge is located in the Natural Bridge State Resort Park. This park is nestled within the Daniel Boone National Forest and pampers patrons with lodging, dining, a gift shop, meeting rooms, a nature center, swimming pool, fishing, camping, and hiking. For a different view of the Natural Bridge and some spectacular Kentucky scenery, try the Sky Lift. The 22-minute ride carries passengers to within 600 feet of the sandstone formation.

Torrent Falls and Via Ferrata: Near the southern end of the byway are Torrent Falls and Via Ferrata. Torrent Falls is actually three waterfalls, the highest being 165 feet high and the tallest in Kentucky. Torrent Falls flows over an immense natural rock house. The Via Ferrata is a European climbing system utilizing iron handgrips and footsteps that are drilled right into the natural rock wall.

The Red River Gorge Scenic Byway offers a journey through magnificent geological features. Get rugged and discover the area the Red River unearthed -- including the perfect backdrop for activities such as canoeing, rock climbing and kayaking.

Find more useful information related to Kentucky's Red River Gorge Scenic Byway:

  • Kentucky Scenic Drives: The Red River Gorge Scenic Byway is just one of the scenic byways in Kentucky. Check out the others.
  • Daniel Boone National Forest: The Red River Gorge Scenic Byway runs through this national forest. Learn about it.
  • Scenic Drives: Are you interested in scenic drives beyond Kentucky? Here are more than 100 scenic drives throughout the United States.
  • How to Drive Economically: Fuel economy is a major concern when you're on a driving trip. Learn how to get better gas mileage.