Explore Kentucky’s Red River Gorge

Next Trips: October 16-21 & Oct. 23-28, 2022
Trip Cost:$2,585

Trip Rating: Challenging Maximum Daily mileage: 4-8
Terrain: Hilly with uneven patches, rocks, and roots. Walk along drop-offs (while never unsafe, these drop-off might frighten those very afraid of heights)
Elevation gains: Up to 250 feet

October’s superb weather & autumn colors make it
the best time to visit "The Red."


Kentucky’s Red River Gorge treats us to towering cliffs, 150+ natural arches, lush wilderness forests, the wild & scenic Red River, waterfalls and scenic byways. Nicknamed "The Red" by rock climbers, it’s one of the world’s top climbing sites.



  • Trek stunning clifftop trails.
  • Kayak in an underground gorge.
  • Soar through the forest on a zipline.
  • Hike over, under & through sandstone rock arches.
  • Rock hop across woodland brooks & dip your toes in a waterfall.
  • Rappel (with experienced guides).
  • Strap onto the exhilarating Via Ferrata rock climbing course.
  • Marvel at Kentucky’s vibrant autumn colors.
  • Relish our gorgeous private lodge with your own bedroom/bath, catered dinners, lakeside decks, hot tubs, home theater & much more.
  • Learn fun info about the area from a local adventurer.
  • Meet other fun outdoor women.
Day 1

Fly into Lexington, KY, where we’ll rendezvous & drive you one hour to our lodge near Slade, KY. Or, opt to drive, rather than fly. (It’s a 7.5-hour drive from the Chicago area.)

Settle into our Cliffview Lakeside Lodge after 4 pm. Relax on the deck, soak in the hot tub, or stroll the pretty grounds. We’ll enjoy a home-cooked Italian dinner together at 6 pm.

Day 2

Hike 4.2 miles (250’ elevation change) on the Auxier Ridge Trail to Courthouse Rock. This out-and-back trek offers the stunning clifftop views and rock formations that made the Red River Gorge famous. Enjoy a cliffside trail lunch with a fabulous view of the valley.

After lunch, we’ll drive a scenic byway and stop by the Gorge visitor center...at an 1800’s log cabin?to views of Devil?s Gulch?and then to Sky Bridge. One of the Gorge’s prettiest arches, Sky Bridge perches on a ridgeline along the deep ravine that divides Swift Creek Camp Creek and Devil’s Canyon. Hike on top of the bridge, and then hike under it to discover its hidden 2nd arch.

Return to our lodge for a catered dinner of hearty soups, salads and desserts; game night, and soaking in our deck’s hot tubs

Stand atop Natural Bridge for awesome views ...
and photo ops.

Channel your inner "flying squirrel"
and zoom through treetops.

Paddle by the light of headlamps inside
a mountain gorge!

Day 3

You?ll love the pretty 2.5-mile loop trail (450’ elevation gain) at Natural Bridge State Park: admire Balanced Rock, Fat Man’s Misery, the Rock Garden, Laurel Ridge, Lover’s Leap, Battleship Rock and the park’s namesake, Natural Bridge. Walk this flat 30-foot-wide rock bridge for breathtaking views 65 feet above the autumn-painted forest.

Enjoy lunch at the casual Overhand cafe. Then "get your speed on" with optional ziplining near our lodge. On this exhilarating 2-1/2hour adventure, "zip" up to 55 mph on 5 ziplines that cover nearly 5,000 feet...and you’ll cross 3 sky bridges! If you opt not to zip, enjoy a hike at our property or relax at the lodge.

Our yummy catered chicken dinner will feature classic Kentucky dishes. We’ll enjoy local storyteller Joe "stilt man" Bowen, as he talks about his adventures and some defining issues for the area and its people.

Day 4:

Trek 5 miles (500’ elevation gain) on the Gray’s Arch loop, which treats you to a hut built by Daniel Boone, deep forests, lovely vistas, woodland brook and towering Gray’s Arch. Gray’s Arch, which spans 80 feet and stands 50 feet, is believed to be the biggest arch in the Red River Gorge area.

Then take a 1-hour underground kayak adventure! Strap on a headlamp and paddle placid waters in the dark mountain tunnels of Gorge Grotto. Our guide will explain the cave’s history, as we look for rainbow trout and overhead tree roots!

It’s dinner & movie night - Red River Gorge style! Choose your favorite slices of pizza and your favorite fixings from our salad bar & ice cream sundae bar. Then head to our home theater for a slide show of this week’s adventures, and a movie. (The scrumptious pizza is from locally famous Miguel’s.)

Hike to Creation Falls on the Rock Bridge Trail.

Day 5

Hike through a cathedral-like forest on the Rock Bridge Trail, considered one of the most scenic trails in the Gorge. This 1.3-mile out-and-back trail (252’ elevation gain) also leads to two area icons: Rock Bridge Arch and Creation Falls. Creation Falls is a small, lovely waterfall. Rock Bridge Arch is the Gorge’s only "true arch" because it’s the only one with a creek flowing beneath it. Set beneath a stand of towering hemlocks and pines, it’s an ideal rest spot.


Enjoy a trail lunch on the porch of Southeast Mountain Guides, with a view of towering red sandstone cliffs. Then, choose one of the below fun bucket-list adventures and tackle those cliffs (no experience needed for either of these). Both offer great photo ops and "tales from the trails" for friends and family.

  • Via Ferrata Option: Experience Via Ferrata, ideal for beginner rock-climbing. You’re secured to cables, and have iron hand- and foot-rungs to hold and step onto. You can also walk a tight-rope and swinging bridge while safely strapped to cables. (You’ll have Via Ferrata training and practice.)
  • Rappelling Option: Rappel down a 120-foot cliff face, while securely strapped into a harness and assisted by guides.

Relax on our last evening together with a yummy catered dinner, hot-tubbing, games, plus stories and slide shows of our week together.

Day 6

Enjoy breakfast and coffee on our lakeside deck before checking out at 11 am. We’ll shuttle our "flyers" to the Lexington airport. Return home with amazing memories and stories, new confidence, warm friendships, and a renewed love for the great outdoors...and "The Red".

Rappel a 120-foot rock face.

Rock climb on Via Ferrata, safely secured to cables.

Our Cliffview Lakeside Lodge

Our trip cost includes:

  • Private lodging at Cliffview Lakeside Lodge, nestled along a lake in a lovely wooded setting. Our lodge has:

    - 12 bedrooms & baths

    - 2 decks stocked with benches & gliders

    - 2 hot tubs on the deck

    - Laundry room and game room

    - Movie room with theater seating for 12

    - Modern kitchen with multiple fridges, stoves, dishwashers & microwaves

    - Dining area with enough room for us to all sit and eat together!

  • Your own bedroom with king bed, adjoining full bath, closet, and HDTV with extensive channels
  • Five yummy catered dinners in our lodge
  • 4 exhilarating hikes led by friendly, experienced female guides
  • Underground gorge kayaking
  • 2-1/2 hour zipline adventure
  • Guest storyteller
  • Rides to our hikes, activities and Lexington’s airport, within designated time frames
  • Park entrance fees, permits and parking
  • Trip memories in our online photos, which you can download, share and print for free
  • Guided discussions, based on the outdoors, that foster warm camaraderie and help you view nature and yourself in new ways
  • Booklet filled with fun info about the area’s history, weather, plants, and wildlife; descriptions of our hikes and optional activities; gear and packing tips; and more
  • Amazing memories & stories, renewed love of nature, warm friendships and new confidence
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