Red River Gorge Geological Area

Area Status: Open
This area is Open

Gladie Visitor Center is temporarily closed. Backcountry camping permits, maps, and information about the Red River Gorge may be obtained at the Cumberland District Office. Call 859-488-1413 (2020 season) if you need assistance or have questions!

View the Red River Gorge Brochure.

The Red River Gorge is a unique, scenic natural area that attracts thousands of visitors each year. Spectacular rock features, including sandstone arches and towering cliffs, are just part of the attraction. Outdoor enthusiasts come to the gorge year-round to enjoy hiking, camping, canoeing, wildlife viewing and other recreation opportunities.

The Red River Gorge is designated a Geological Area, National Natural Landmark and National Archaeological District and placed on the National Register of Historic Places. A portion of the gorge is also designated as Clifty Wilderness, 12,646 acres of rugged forest landscape. It is located on Cumberland Ranger District.

The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources regulations allow hunting and trapping in the gorge. All visitors should take appropriate safety precautions to protect themselves and pets when using the gorge during hunting and trapping seasons. Inspect all backcountry campsites carefully before using the site. Avoid leaving food debris that may attract small animals. 

Learn more about the Red River Gorge Geological Area and Gladie Cabin, Clifty Wilderness and the Red River.

Avenza Digital Maps

A Red River Gorge digital map is available from the Avenza Maps online map store. For the best user experience, use our maps within a GPS-enabled mobile app such as Avenza Maps. To find a map, go to Avenza's Get Maps page and search to locate a map.

At a Glance

Fees 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.
Permit Info: Permits are available at local stores, the Gladie Visitor Center and other Forest Service offices.
Open Season: Open All Year
Restrictions: Food Storage Restriction due to black bears. Dispersed campers must hang food and garbage at least 10 feet off the ground and 4 feet away from any tree or post used for suspension. 
No camping in rock shelters. Camping and campfires are prohibited within 100 feet from the base of any cliff or rock shelter. Dispersed campers must be 300 feet away from any road or trail and 600 feet away from Grays Arch. Watch for areas posted "No Camping." 
No rockclimbing or rappelling within 300 feet of Sky Bridge, Grays Arch, Nada Tunnel or Chimney Rock overlook. Any new climbing routes must be approved.
Geological Area: no motorized vehicles on any trail. Horses are permitted in designated areas.
Clifty Wilderness: no motorized or mechanized equipment. Trails are open to hiking only.
Closest Towns: Stanton
Operated By: U.S. Forest Service
Information Center: Gladie Visitor Center
3451 Sky Bridge Road
Stanton, KY 40380

General Information


From Lexington, take I-64 East to Exit 98 (Bert T. Combs Mountain Parkway). Take the parkway to Exit 33 (Slade exit) and turn left. At the junction of KY11/15, turn left again. Go 1.5 miles west on KY 15 and turn right onto KY 77. Follow 77 through Nada Tunnel.

General Notes:

Recreation Schedule and Fees
Where can permits be purchased
Mail order form for purchasing permits



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