Clifty Wilderness

Area Status: Open
This area is Open

Clifty Wilderness offers natural beauty and quiet solitude. This 12,646-acre area has more than 20 miles of trail that take hikers through stream valleys with dense hemlock forest and across ridges with spectacular landscape views. The terrain is rugged and steep, offering plenty of physical challenge and adventure.

Clifty Wilderness supports an unusual array of flora with 750 flowering plants and 170 species of moss that thrive in the area. This diversity is attributed to geographic location, topography and glacial history. Some plant and animal species in this area are listed as endangered, threatened, sensitive or rare. 

Leave No Trace of your visit so others can enjoy the same wilderness experience. 

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Safety note: The cliffs in Clifty Wilderness 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. 

Clifty Wilderness is located in the Red River Gorge on Cumberland Ranger District.

Red River Gorge Brochure (pdf)

Learn more about Wilderness areas...

Red River Gorge 36x36 Map36x36 inch map (pdf; 7 MB) of the Red River Gorge. Includes trails, roads, streams, recreation areas, Clifty Wilderness and other boundaries. You can get this map printed full size by contacting a print vendor with a large format plotter. In some versions of Acrobat, you can print out sections on your home printer. Better yet, download the file for a digital reference.

At a Glance

Fees Permit required for overnight backcountry camping.
Permit Info: Hunting  permits are required. More information is available at Kentucky Department of  Fish and Wildlife Resources.
Busiest Season: Thursday - Sunday, Spring and Autumn
Restrictions: Mechanized transport and motorized vehicles are prohibited. 
Closest Towns: Slade, KY
Water: Water may not be safe for drinking. All water should be treated before consumption.
Operated By: U.S. Forest Service
Information Center: Gladie Visitor Center
3451 Sky Bridge Road
Stanton, KY 40380
859-488-1413 (2020 season)



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