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  1. #21
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    Red River Gorge is nice and all that----but be prepared for masses of people............and trash.....

  2. #22
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    You'll find a simple free trail maps for NBRSP at the Resort/lodge. Likewise, for RRG at the areas HDQTRS. Can also use purchased maps for the Sheltowee Trace sold in stores in Slade.

  3. #23
    Registered User Siestita's Avatar
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    Perspective about Red River Gorge as a Backpacking Destination

    Living in central Kentucky for the past 31 years has given me many opportunities to backpack, camp, and day hike in the Daniel Boone National Forest (DBNF) and also the Big South Fork National Recreation Area (BSF NRA). I have visited Red River Gorge and Natural Bridge State Park many times and section hiked all 320 miles of the Sheltowee Trace.

    These days I usually limit my trips to Red River Gorge to day hiking ventures, preferring to instead backpack in areas that are considerably further south, either at less visited parts of the National Forest or at places adjoining Cumberland Falls State Park, or within the BSFNRA. My rationale for this preference follows:

    1. The scenery is just as good further south as it is at Red River Gorge (RRG). There are equally attractive forests, gorges, cliff lines, water falls, shelter caves, and natural bridge type formations located many places within DBNF.

    2. As noted by a prior poster, RRG gets "loved to death", receiving a great many visitors. RRG's great popularity stems partly, I believe, from its history. During the 1960s the Gorge became nationally famous when an environmental protection campaign was successfully waged to prevent it from being submerged by a proposed Army Corps of Engineers dam/reservoir project.

    Also, RRRG's location is accessible to visitors who drive there not only from nearby Kentucky cities but also from mid-western locations such as Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan. For backpackers who live on flat, glaciated locales north of the Ohio River, one of their closest (or should we say least distant) good backpacking destinations is RRG. So, after cruising for hours down the interstates, many mid-westerners taking hiking vacations stop driving when they get to Natural Bridge State Park and RRG. Equally attractive and less intensely trampled trails can be accessed by driving several hours further south but not everyone knows about those opportunities or is willing to take them.

    2. Friends of mine employed by the Kentucky State police have alerted me to the fact that many automobile break ins have occurred at RRG trail heads. (Perhaps mass tourism generates extensive thievery by a few local 'bad ole boys'?) So, these days the only places in the RRG area where I am willing to leave my vehicle overnight are the lodge parking lot at Natural Bridge State Park and the Corner Ridge Road trail head that is located in a less visited area of RRG, along it's northern boundary. I have left vehicles overnight at many other locations within the DBNF, and also in the BSF NRA, without mishap.

    3. RRG is the only place in the Daniel Boone Forest that requires obtaining permits and paying fees to do backcountry camping. Also, finding flat places to camp can be challenging in gorge country. That is especially true at RRG because authorities have posted "No Camping" signs at some potential camping spots that would otherwise be viable there. Ostensibly these restrictions have been imposed to protect fragile vegetation from being trampled by visiting hordes.

    The BSF NRA also requires backpackers to obtain permits and pay modest fees. But, BSF makes it easy for that formality to be addressed on-line.
    Last edited by Siestita; 01-11-2018 at 22:37.

  4. #24
    Registered User Siestita's Avatar
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    Coming from south of Kentucky, our original poster and also the recent "thread booster" asked about hiking possibilities in the southern part of the DBNF. I second the specific suggestions that others have offered concerning that region, including the camping and hiking opportunities available in the Bee Rock/Cane Creek Gorge area, the Cumberland Falls State Park vicinity, and the Alum Ford/Yahoo Falls section of the BSF NRA.

    "Bump... What are the must see areas? Looking like snow this weekend! Would be nice to base camp, and day hike from there. Willing to get as deep into the NF as needed(less tourists please). Any suggestions? Thanks!"

    For base camping you'll have three options: (1) Stay at a conventional "full-service" campground at Bandy Creek within the Big South Fork NRA; (2) Stay at a cheaper ($5 per night) but smaller and more primitive Forest Service Campground that has pit toilets but no showers, doing so at either Bee Rock or Alum Ford; or (3) Leave your car at a trail head and walk into the forest for a short distance, perhaps just 1/4 mile or so (for example going southbound on the Sheltowee Trace from the Alum Ford Campground).

    It is also possible to use option #3, base camping away from your vehicle, to legally camp on Forest Service land that adjoins Cumberland Falls State Park and from there day hike on the State Park's extensive network of scenic trails. If by chance that later possibility interests you I can provide you with some logistical details concerning how to accomplish it. Cumberland Falls SP also has a conventional campground but it is not open during the winter.

    Each camping location that I've mentioned above provides good trail access. Alum Ford is just two miles, by trail, from the Yahoo Falls Scenic area. I have had good spring, summer, and fall camping experiences at Alum Ford's tiny campground. It is probably also open during the winter. I like hiking the nine mile loop from Alum Ford that utilizes the Sheltowee Trace southbound, the Negro Creek Trail, the Yahoo Arch Trail, and finally a different section of the Sheltowee Trace, also heading southbound.

    There are various attractive possibilities available to you. My personal favorites: For base camping at your vehicle pick Alum Ford Campground. Or, if you would prefer to base camp a mile or so down the trail from your vehicle, do so on Forest Service Land adjacent to Cumberland Falls State Park.

    https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/dbnf...a/?recid=39604

    https://www.nps.gov/biso/planyourvisit/alumfordcampground.htm


    https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE...prd3827510.pdf

    https://fw.ky.gov/More/Documents/CaneCreekWMA_ALL.pdf

    https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE...rdb5390408.pdf

    https://www.nps.gov/biso/planyourvis...ure-2014-2.pdf

    http://parks.ky.gov/!userfiles/aPark...rlandFalls.pdf
    Last edited by Siestita; 01-11-2018 at 23:04.

  5. #25
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    2. Friends of mine employed by the Kentucky State police have alerted me to the fact that many automobile break ins have occurred at RRG trail heads. (Perhaps mass tourism generates extensive thievery by a few local 'bad ole boys'?)


    when i live sorta in that area----and this was 15 years ago at least-----is that the locals dont like that people come from all over to visit that area....

    they would have rather wanted the gorge to remain a "secret"...

    and apparently the houses around the tunnel (just off the exit)----those people are the ones that really dont like people coming in...

    granted this was 15 years ago, and tourism has gone up since then as more and more people are coming into the area.....

  6. #26
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    Despite its massive popularity, I still just adore the Red River Gorge area. I basically "grew up" in that area in the late 60's and into the early 70's, did all my early backpacking in the RRG, learned how to rock climb, did lots of winter trips there, etc. Even then we didn't own the place or anything, but had so many wonderful memories. One of these days I'll digitize my hundreds of Kodachromes from those trips.

    So, FINALLY, 50 years later, I returned last spring and again had a fantastic time hiking maybe 30 miles of trails. Yes, it was crowded, but not ridiculously so, we got early starts and did three separate day-trips all over the various arch trails. Brought back fantastic memories! If you can get there on week days, it would be definitely a not-to-miss area.

  7. #27
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    Hi all!!
    I'm traveling with Clusterone and we wanted to thank everyone for your comments they are all very helpful.
    Happy hiking!

    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk

  8. #28
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    Be sure to wear the appropriate head gear ;-)

    daniel boone.JPG

  9. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by zelph View Post
    Be sure to wear the appropriate head gear ;-)

    daniel boone.JPG
    the book I read says he wore a beaver hat, not a coon skin cap...but Fess Parker was the man!

    “Boone” an autobiography~Robert Morgan

    https://www.amazon.com/Boone-Biograp.../dp/1565126157

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    Oops, biography

  11. #31
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    Wear a Fess Parker hat and you'll make friends easily ;-)

  12. #32
    Registered User Siestita's Avatar
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    :banana

    I believe the photo is of Fess Parker pretending to be Davy Crockett. That show had a catchy theme song. In reality, Crockett represented part of Tennessee in Congress, attracting attention there by wearing coon skin hats and projecting a rough frontiersman image. He later fought and died at the Alamo.

    Several decades earlier a book by John Filson had established Daniel Boone, who promoted settlement of Kentucky and wore more conventional hats, as America's most famous frontiersman. Today people don't always distinguish between those three iconic individuals: Boone, Crockett, and Fess Parker.
    Last edited by Siestita; 01-12-2018 at 22:55.

  13. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by Siestita View Post
    I believe the photo is of Fess Parker pretending to be Davy Crockett. That show had a catchy theme song. In reality, Crockett represented part of Tennessee in Congress, attracting attention there by wearing coon skin hats and projecting a rough frontiersman image. He later fought and died at the Alamo.

    Several decades earlier a book by John Filson had established Daniel Boone, who promoted settlement of Kentucky and wore more conventional hats, as America's most famous frontiersman. Today people don't always distinguish between those three iconic individuals: Boone, Crockett, and Fess Parker.
    right you are!

  14. #34
    Registered User rmitchell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by clusterone View Post
    Bump... What are the must see areas? Looking like snow this weekend! Would be nice to base camp, and day hike from there. Willing to get as deep into the NF as needed(less tourists please). Any suggestions? Thanks!
    Approaching from Alabama, I would suggest Big South Fork. Bandy Creek campground. The park headquarters is there with books, maps and helpful staff. The area was underused, I haven't been back in a few years though.
    As for a good day hike I would suggest the Grand Gap Loop.
    It could be icy this weekend. Take care.

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