Tower Rock Trail #229

Area Status: Open
This area is Open

Tower Rock Trail #229 is in the Clifty Wilderness and leaves KY 715 and ascends through lush vegetation to the base of Tower Rock. The trail's main attraction is the ninety-foot sandstone comglomerate pinnacle where many rock climbing enthusiasts practice their skills. 

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 sculpted the striking sandstone cliffs and intriguing geologic features that we see today in the Red River Gorge. 

Trailhead: pull of along KY 715

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 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: Trail is developed for hiking only. Motorized vehicles and equipment, such as all-terrain vehicles and chainsaws, are prohibited in Clifty Wilderness. Mechanized equipment, such as bicycles and wheeled carts, are also prohibited. Forest Service authorization is required prior to development of any new rock climbing, bouldering or rappelling areas and development of any climbing routes involving the permanent installation of new fixed anchors or new trail construction. 
  • Clifty Wilderness: The following are prohibited: motorized or mechanized equipment, possessing or using a wagon, cart, bicycle or other vehicle, and entering or being in a designated Wilderness as part of a group of more than ten people. (Order DB-05-15)
  • 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


This trail is not accessible. 


Exit the Mountain Parkway at Slade, KY. Follow Hwy. 11 north 0.1 miles to Hwy. 15. Turn left onto Hwy. 11/15 and head west approximately 1.4 miles to junction with Hwy. 77. Turn right on Hwy. 77 and follow Hwy. 77 4.9 miles through the Nada Tunnel and across the Red River to junction with Hwy. 715. Follow Hwy. 715 4.1 miles to an unmarked pull-off on right side of the road. Tower Rock Trail begins on the left side of the road; a small wooden sign marks the start of the trail.


There is an unmarked pull-off on right side of the road.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information



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