The Red River Gorge
TodayThe Red River Gorge is a unique area of the Daniel Boone National Forest that is designated as a National Natural Landmark. Located in eastern-central Kentucky, within the sandstone belt of the Pottsville Escarpment, this area has been beautifully sculpted by millions of years of wind and water erosion.
Today, the Red River Gorge is a popular place for hiking, exploring, camping, and climbing. Yet despite the popularity, you can easily find yourself in the solitude of nature, given 29,000 acres of spectacular cliffs, rock shelters, waterfalls, caves, swimming holes, and over 100 natural arches.
The Gladie Cultural-Environmental Learning Center, located at the Gladie Historic Site on KY 715, provides Red River Gorge information, maps, and educational opportunities.Winter is a special season for some visitors to the Red River Gorge. The colder temperatures that discourage many from hiking and camping this time of year render a vast outdoor playground that is practically void of other people, and the lack of foliage provides for outstanding views of the terrain that are obscured in the warmer seasons. Another big plus: no snakes!
So go ahead, throw on some layers of clothes and enjoy this unique time of year in the Red River Gorge! If you are prepared and stay safe, you will leave with fond memories and a grand feeling of accomplishment. Happy trails!
Red River Gorge News
Living with Black Bears
With the growing population of black bears in the Red River Gorge over recent years comes a growing need for us to learn how to safely share the forest with them. Although there are very few bear attacks on record, reports of mauling and mortalities are a reality, and that is why bear safety education is important for all of us.
By nature, bears are afraid of humans. But unfortunately for both them and us, bears can become habituated to human food sources by our carelessness with our food and trash. The Red River Gorge is densely covered with trash-laden fire rings, seemingly convenient garbage pits for those who are too lazy to pack out their own garbage, and this problem goes beyond just being an eyesore.
When we give bears access to our garbage, even burnt garbage, they can begin to associate the scent of humans with the reward of food, and can lose their natural fear of us, which is bad news for everyone.
After a hiker was mauled by a bear off of Tunnel Ridge Road in 2010, the Forest Service issued a food storage order for the Red River Gorge that is now in effect for the entire Daniel Boone National Forest. Following that order is an important step toward everyone's safety. So what else can we do? Here are some bear-safe suggestions:Avoid camping and hiking alone in the backcountry.
Wear bells or otherwise make noise to avoid surprising a bear.
Do not hike after dark.
Carry EPA registered bear pepper spray.
Never store food, soap, toothpaste, or other bear attractants inside of a tent.
Comply with the Food Storage Order in effect for the DBNF.
Keep your dog on a leash. Dogs will confront bears and may get seriously injured.
If a bear is seen nearby:Pack up your food and trash immediately and vacate the area as quickly as you can.
Do not feed or toss food to a bear.
Keep children close at hand. Stay in a group.
Do not try to take pictures of the bear.
If a bear changes its natural behavior (feeding, foraging, or movement) because of your presence, you are too close and the bear is going to respond.
If a bear approaches you:Playing dead is not appropriate. Attempt to scare the bear away with loud shouts, banging pans together, or throwing rocks and sticks at it.
Never run away from a bear - back away slowly and make lots of noise.
A bear can run up to 30 mph, so again, do not run. Not only is running futile, it will excite the bear's response.
In the extreme case that you are attacked by a black bear, try to fight back by using any object available. Act aggressively and intimidate the bear by yelling and waving your arms. Read the Rest...