Grays Arch Trail #205

Area Status: Open
This area is Open

Grays Arch Trail #205 begins at the Grays Arch Picnic Area off of Tunnel Ridge Road. After 1/4-mile, the trail follows Rough Trail #221 down the ridge and then off into a drain to King Branch. The trail again forks, continuing to Grays Arch. During wet weather, a beautiful waterfall occurs at the arch. Trail is located in the Red River Gorge on Cumberland Ranger District.

 The cliffs in the Red River Gorge are beautiful, but they can be dangerous if you step too close to the edge. Each year, someone is seriously injured or killed from falling off a cliff in the Red River Gorge. Please exercise caution and avoid getting near cliff edges. 

The Red River Gorge Geological Area has more than 100 natural arches, the greatest concentration of arches east of the Rocky Mountains.  

The defining geologic strata of the Red River Gorge were formed about 300 million years ago. Sediment, sand and pebbles eroding from the ancient Appalachian mountains were carried by a great river and deposited as a delta at the edge of a shallow inland sea that covered much of the middle part of North America. Over millions of years, the mountains were worn down, the sediments turned to rock and the inland sea receded. Gradually, streams began cutting down through the relatively flat layers of sedimentary rock. Because sandstone is a harder rock, it resisted erosion better than the shale and siltstone layers above and below. Erosion and weathering over millions of years have sculpted the striking sandstone cliffs and intriguing geologic features that we see today in the Red River Gorge. 

Grays Arch Trail #205 Map (pdf)

Trail Connections: Rough Trail #221 (7 miles)
Trailhead: Grays Arch Picnic Area

Avenza Digital Maps

A Red River Gorge digital map is available from the Avenza Maps online map store.

At a Glance

Fees No fee for trail use. 
Permit Info: A Special Use Permit is required for commercial activities (for example: fishing tournaments, boat rentals, trail rides, outfitter guides, races, etc). A permit is also required for all noncommercial group uses involving more than 75 people.
Open Season: Open all year
Restrictions: This trail is developed for hiking only. 
  • Alcohol use prohibited: Consumption of alcohol is prohibited on national forest land and Kentucky lakes and waterways. KRS 222.202; (Order DB-02-15)
  • Parking is restricted to paved pull-offs marked with large "P" signs, along KY 715 and KY 77. (Order DB-02-15)
  • No camping in rock shelters. Camping and campfires are prohibited within 100 feet from the base of any cliff or rock shelter. (Order DB-02-15)
  • Graffiti is prohibited. Do not chisel, carve or spray paint. Damaging, altering or defacing any archaeological resource or natural feature is prohibited under the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 and 36 CFR 296.4 and 261.9.
  • Food Storage Restrictions are in effect to reduce odors that attract bears. In the backcountry, hang food and garbage at least 10 feet off the ground and 4 feet away from any tree or post used for suspension. (Order DB-02-15)
  • Campfire must be DEAD OUT before leaving. You will be held liable for suppression costs if your campfire starts a wildfire.
  • No camping within 300 feet of any developed road, trail or Tunnel Ridge Road and its associated parking lots; no camping within 600 feet of Grays Arch. (Order 12-02-15)
  • No climbing or rappelling within 300 feet of Sky Bridge, Grays Arch, Nada Tunnel, or Chimney Top Rock overlooks. (Order 12-03-15)
  • Prohibited: Possessing or operating a motor vehicle on roads, trails and areas not designated for that purpose on Motorized Vehicle Use Maps. 36 CFR 261.13.
  • Shortcutting a switchback on trails is prohibited. (Order DB-08-15)
Closest Towns: Slade, KY
Passes: No fee for trail use. All vehicles on KY 15 or in the Red River Gorge and Indian Creek area north of KY 15 must display a recreation permit for backcountry camping between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. $3/day; $5/3 days; $30/annual pass.
Operated By: U.S. Forest Service
Information Center:
Gladie Visitor Center
3451 Sky Bridge Road
Stanton, KY 40380

General Information


Parking is available at the Grays Arch Picnic Area and trailhead parking lot. 


This trail does not meet accessibility standards for persons with disabilities. 

The toilet facilities at the trailhead are accessible. 



Traveling east on the Mountain Parkway, take exit 33 at Slade. Turn left and then right onto KY 15; travel east 3.2 miles to Tunnel Ridge Road on the left. The Grays Arch Picnic Area is less than one mile on the right.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information



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