Discover Your Adventurous Spirit!
World-renowned for rock climbing and hiking, the Kentucky Rockies, also called “The Red”, offer adventure for everyone – from beginners to experts!
From families to corporate teams, rock climbing is a great way to try something brand new and challenging together.
Try rock climbing on your own or with a group at Torrent Falls Climbing Adventure, located just minutes away from the Red River Gorge and Natural Bridge State Resort Park. Their Via Ferrata system is the first of its kind in the entire country! It aids the climber by using cables and iron hand/foot rungs, and it offers a variety of climbs, from novice to expert, between March and December. Their certified climbing instructors provided guided rock climbing, and both classes and clinics are available, as well as private lessons. Don't know what “rappelling” is? Find out all about it at www.torrentfalls.com.
Customized rock climbing courses and safe, educational, exciting adventures also await you at Kentucky Rock & Adventure Guides, or KRAG, whose guides are certified through the American Mountain Guides Association. Beginner, sport climbing, and traditional climbing options are offered, as well as rappelling. Check out their course offerings to see what resonates with you and your group.
You can also try rock climbing on your own in the Red River Gorge, but please put safety first, no matter where your rock climbing adventure takes you!
First time zip lining and a little nervous? Red River Ziplines in nearby Frenchburg offers a series of seven basic ziplines through the trees for groups. Just a short drive through the Red River Gorge, this adventure is great for kids from 8 to 98, and it’s encouraging to get to know and be cheered on by the members of your group. By the time you finish all seven short zip lines, you’ll be a pro and have some new friends, too!
Hiking is great exercise and an exciting adventure for everyone. Bring your hiking stick and wear good hiking boots, as the rocks can be rugged. Tackle the challenging hike up and down to see the amazing sandstone arch called Natural Bridge for an hour of serious hiking. Want an easier hike, or looking for your very first hike? Ride the sky lift up to top, then hop off for an easy walk out to Natural Bridge, where you can take some great pictures and look over at Lookout Pointe. Then walk back to the sky lift and take another easy hike out to Lookout Pointe, gazing back at the Natural Bridge, where you just hiked! You can keep on going to Lover’s Leap, or head back to the sky lift for the ride back down. Be sure to stop at the gift shop for homemade fudge, postcards, and souvenirs. Print a map of Natural Bridge State Resort Park here.
There are dozens of hiking trails in the Red River Gorge, such as the walk out to Chimney Rock to take in an incredible view you won’t see anywhere else. Enter the Gorge at historic Nada Tunnel, which is an adventure in itself! Drive past incredible rock formations, stop to hike out for a first-hand look at the cottage at Gladie. A really cool map showing 16 hiking trails and the length of each trail can be found and printed here.
Check out the hiking guide for both Natural Bridge and the Red River Gorge for more information.
Do the kids love to swim? The huge pool and picnic area at Hemlock Lodge is a very inexpensive family adventure. Pack a lunch, have a great day swimming and picnicking together – just like in the old days, when you were a kid. There's a kiddie pool there and plenty of lounge chairs for Mom to relax in while watching the kids. There are lots of picnic tables at Natural Bridge State Resort Park near the pool area.
If you or your kids have a streak of the dare devil, head to the Red River in the Red River Gorge for a truly unique experience leaping from the huge rocks into the river below!
Finish the day around a fire pit at your cozy cabin, roasting marshmallows and singing your favorite songs until the kids fall asleep. Memories like these cost very little and will last a lifetime!
There is water adventure at every level in “The Red”. If you love a challenge, head to the upper reaches, and get ready for some excitement that will take your breath away! However, the Red River in the Red River Gorge is also a great place to learn to canoe or kayak, as the lower areas make for a relaxing ride with great views of your surroundings from a unique vantage point! Our friends at Red River Adventure will take care of you and your group, whether you are a novice, a daredevil, or somewhere in between, making for a fabulous adventure over several hours. Adventurous swimmers will love jumping off the huge rocks into the Red River in the Gorge! You can stop along the river bank during your canoe or kayak trip in the lower areas, taking short hikes, swimming or relaxing before continuing down the river. Be sure to call ahead to Red River Adventures, as the water levels may be too low during certain times of the year. Because the Gorge is remote, be sure to take the proper gear and supplies of food and water, and go in groups.
Fishing is available at Mill Creek near Natural Bridge State Resort Park. This beautiful, peaceful lake is a favorite of area photographers, such as John Snell, who captured the autumn image below, as Mill Creek is surrounded by lush forest and sandstone cliffs, with the most famous sandstone arch, Natural Bridge, just across the road and up the mountain. You can fish from the bank or rent a canoe from Red River Adventure and enjoy canoeing and fishing at the same time. Stop by the Daniel Boone Trading Post in Slade, just off Exit 33 on the Bert T. Combs Mountain Parkway, if you need a fishing license and bait, or you can purchase a fishing license online from the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. Be sure to check on the fishing regulations and forecast before you go. You can also fly fish or hop out of your canoe and fish right in the Red River Gorge.
If you have a more relaxing agenda for your stay, you may choose to simply enjoy the comfort and seclusion of one of our deluxe mountain homes in Birch Hollow. Each of the 10 cabins in our private 200-acre development has been custom-designed and furnished with amenities and decor to make your mountain getaway a retreat from the stress and hurry of the world. Catch a great view from a rocking chair or swing on an outside deck.
Make a fire in the fire pit or outside wood-burning fireplace and be mesmerized by the flame long after the sun goes down, then head for the bubbling hot tub to relax, catch a glimpse of a full Kentucky moon, and hear the wondrous sounds of nature occasionally breaking the silence. Sleep in, fix a simple meal with loved ones, play a game of pool or cards, and re-connect with nature and the most important people in your life. Take a stroll or short hike in our own Dale Hollow Hiking Trail, right in Birch Hollow, or wander down to the dock by the catch and release pond. You may stumble upon one of three stone chimneys – all that remains of houses built well over 100 years ago.
If you want to experience the famous Red River Gorge in a relaxing way, enter the famous narrow Nada Tunnel and drive through the 17 miles of winding roads in the Red River Gorge, to see as much of the 28,000 natural acres as you can! Stop along the way at numerous lookout points to catch a stunning view, take some pictures, marvel at incredible outcroppings of rocks, and listen to the soothing sound of the Red River flowing below. If you time it just right, you can catch an awesome sunrise or a spectacular sunset, or marvel at a distant mountain range, like photographer John Snell has captured in these images.
Stop at the Gladie Visitor Center and chat with the friendly staff, pick up some brochures, and see a short film about the hidden treasure known as the Red River Gorge. Park the car and take a short walk out to the Gladie cabin for a peek inside. Depending on the time of year, you may see beautiful blooming red buds, laurel, and dogwoods – or gorgeous orange, red gold shades of Fall leaves. Listen for the sound of wild turkeys and a variety of birds – and drive slowly, in case a deer crosses your path!
If your idea of fun and adventure involves a much slower pace, come experience a Cabins of Birch Hollow getaway.
Our 10 deluxe cabins rest on about 20 acres in a 200-acre private development, with a pond, brooks, and its own 2-mile hiking trail with great mountain views! Enjoy the luxury of a premier cabin like Mane Stay, custom-designed with prize-winning Kentucky thorough-breds in mind. Our guests except amenities like cozy fireplaces, bubbling hot tubs, TVs/DVS, fire pits, game tables, and lots of peace and quiet.
Our private hiking trail is great for beginners or those who prefer an easier hike than the rugged trails in the Red River Gorge or at Natural Bridge State Resort Park. Your dog will love roaming the trails with you! Four of our cabins are pet-friendly. What is really fun is to stumble upon one of the three stone chimneys in Birch Hollow that are the only remains of homes built over a century ago! Grill your family favorites and savor a meal on your deck, breathe in the fresh air mountain air, and enjoy the sounds of nature around you with those you love. Roast marshmallows over the fire pit, bring your guitar and start a sing-a-long. These memories last a lifetime. It doesn't get any better than this!
The newest attraction, just opened in May 2015, is an Aerial Adventure Course called Thrillsville, located less than 10 minutes from Birch Hollow in nearby Slade. With 16 types of adventures to choose from, visitors have made the 40’ high Victory tower the most popular. Full body harness, safety briefings, and practice are required before getting on the course.
Designed for visitors from 70-250 pounds, and currently open Wednesday-Sunday, Thrillsville is an exciting adventure to add to your stay in the Red River Gorge / Natural Bridge area. Tickets can be purchased online or by phone. Get more information and see lots of pictures at www.thrillsville.org. Regular tickets are $49.99, but call for the latest promotions.