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Red River Gorge Camping Permit

Callies Lake And Campground In Red River Gorge

Backcountry Campsite Selection at Red River Gorge

Image from The Dyrt camper Lauren M.

Offering RV and primitive tent camping, Callies Lake and Campground is located just five minutes from the Red River Gorge. Set on 50 acres, Callies has over 45 level campsites for both RV and tent campers to enjoy. RV sites have 30 and 50 amp hookups. Aside from its close location to the gorge, Callies also boasts a 4 acre fully stocked lake for visitors to cast their poles in.

Can You Backpack In Red River Gorge

Heck yeah!

There are lots of opportunities for backcountry camping within Red River Gorges scenic natural area.

Whether youre looking for a spot with incredible views or a peaceful wooded setting, backpacking is allowed in most areas 300+ feet from any road or developed trail. The Gladie Visitor Center, located at the Gladie Historic Site, provides information and maps for the Red River Gorge.

Natural Bridge State Resort Park

  • Hike the scenic trail to Natural Bridge or ride the skylift.
  • Explore the Red River Gorge area.
  • Enjoy the Historic Nature Center.
  • Hike Hensons Arch or tour Natural Bridge Cave.
  • Reserve a private cottage or lodge room to view fall foliage.
  • Lodging & CampingSandstone Arches RestaurantRestaurant Hours Sunday 7 10 a.m. 11 a.m. 3 p.m. 4 8 p.m.Monday 7 10 a.m. 11 a.m. 3 p.m. 4 8 p.m.Tuesday 7 10 a.m. 11 a.m. 3 p.m. 4 8 p.m.Wednesday Closed Closed ClosedFriday 7 10 a.m. 11 a.m. 3 p.m. 4 8 p.m.Saturday 7 10 a.m. 11 a.m. 3 p.m. 4 8 p.m.Trails End TavernMeetingsThings to DoBirdingCanoeingFishing

    • Large Mouth Bass 15 minimum size limit, 3 fish daily creel
    • No trotlines, jug lines, or limb lines
    • Use of shad as bait is prohibited

    Gift ShopHikingKayakingMiniature GolfPedal BoatingPicnickingSky LiftSwimming –

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    Backpacking Routes To Take In The Red River Gorge

    With over 600 miles of trails to enjoy, getting the full Red River Gorge experience cant be found in a traditional campground. Sure, established toilets are great, but setting up your own site and having it all to yourself is even better.

    Use these trips to help guide your backpacking adventure, or join us on our group overnight opportunities in the Red!

    Enjoy Red River Gorge Camping

    Red River Gorge/Indian River

    Red River Gorge in Kentucky is the perfect destination for the whole family to witness breathtaking views, tour historic places, learn about different rock formations, and so much more. We recommend Red River Gorge camping for at least a week. With so much to explore in the area, a weekend visit may keep you wanting more.

    But if a couple of days is all you have, prioritize your activities to get the most out of your stay. With so much to do, start planning early!

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    Alerts And Important Information

    Kentucky Campground sites can be occupied by a maximum of 8 occupants. 4 adults, 17 years old and above and minor children are included in the base price. If more than 4 adults are going to be on the site, an additional $5.00 per night per adult will be collected upon arrival at the park.Natural Bridge State Park has different regulations than the nearby Red River Gorge Geologic Area. Park regulations are posted in the campgrounds. For information on the Gorge please call the US Forest Service at 1-606-663-8100.Please note that the Kentucky Department of Parks permits the use of non-licensed vehicles in campgrounds, including golf carts, only by those individuals with a disability. This policy will be enforced for the safety of all guests. This Campground is in Eastern Time zone.

    Please note:

  • New Inventory is made available when the call center opens.
  • There is a 1 night minimum stay during the week at all parks.
  • There is a 2 night minimum stay on peak season weekends at all parks with the exception of the Kentucky Horse Park.
  • The minimum stay on peak season weekends at the Kentucky Horse Park is 1 night.
  • Customers may arrive on a Friday or Saturday and stay a minimum of two nights.
  • Customer service is authorized to fill in any empty spaces caused by the 2-night weekend stay rule.
  • Please note the following:

    Red River Adventure Campground

    The only riverside campground in the Red River Gorge, Red River Adventure Campground is a privately-owned campground on 10 acres of the tree-lined banks of the Red River. The campground is primitive, without power or water hookups, but great for campers that love to play on the watertheres a canoe and kayak take-out on-site. Located in the heart of the Red River Gorge, this campground makes a great home base for exploring.

    What a nice quiet secluded spot. Such a friendly staff, reasonable prices, and well-maintained campground. We spent a great day in the river and an even better night in our hammocks! The Dyrt Camper Josh J.

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    Regulations For The Red River Gorge

    Listed here are some of the regulations that apply to the Red River Gorge Geologcal Area. Federal, state, and local laws also apply.

    Food Storage Restrictions

    Due to an increase in the black bear population, food storage restrictions are in place for the Red River Gorge. Details can be found on this FS Document.

    Dogs are allowed on the trails in the Red River Gorge, but you must have control of your dog at all times.

    Caves in the Red River Gorge are closed to visitors

    Alcohol Use

    Overnight Permits

    The permit is to be displayed through the windshield of a parked vehicle. You only need one permit per car, not per camper.

    Camping is NOT permitted:

    • In any picnic area or parking area.
    • Within 300 feet of any road or developed trail.
    • Within 100 feet of the base of any cliff, or the back of any rockshelter.
    • Within 600 feet of Gray’s Arch.
    • Within any area posted “No Camping”.

    Campfires: Building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire, campfire, or stove fire within 100 feet of the base of any cliff or the back of any rockshelter is PROHIBITED in the Red River Gorge. Be sure your fire is completely dead and out before leaving. Leaving a fire unattended can result in a fine.

    All vehicle traffic

    Parking on Tunnel Ridge Road is limited to designated parking sites only.

    Rock climbing and rappelling

    All archaeological sites, artifacts and cultural resources are protected by State and Federal law. Please help protect these fragile and irreplaceable resources:

    Why Visit Red River Gorge

    Red River Gorge Backpacking – Auxier Ridge (Awesome Secluded Campsite)

    If youre looking for the best kayaking in Kentucky, Red River Gorge is the place to visit. The challenging run of rapids stretching over ten miles down the Upper Red River is what most adventure seekers come to take on. But there are also many Class I paddling opportunities for those looking for something more relaxed.

    The best part about kayaking here is its usually fairly quiet for a popular tourist spot. The river remains fairly narrow throughout and because of the twists and turns, youll usually only find experienced kayakers so some weekends you might even have the water to yourself.

    As well as kayaking, there are so many other reasons to visit Red River Gorge. You wont beat the views at the Gorge, with exposed sandstone sheer cliffs, interesting geological formations, and sweeping areas of flowers, it doesnt get much more Instagram worthy.

    For small children who cant take part in kayaking, there are rockhouses and small streams to explore, as well as incredible waterfalls to see.

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    Kayaking The Red River Gorge

    Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on a link we may make a small commission at no extra cost to you. You can read the full disclosure here

    In the heart of Kentucky, nestled in the Daniel Boone National Forest, youll find the Red River Gorge.

    With world-renowned hiking trails, breathtaking natural beauty, and the best kayaking spots in Kentucky, its clear to see why thousands of people visit this spot every year.

    If youre planning to go Red River Gorge kayaking but youre not sure what to expect, this guide will give you everything you need to know to make the most of your trip.

    Looking for some other great kayaking spots in the US to add to your bucket list? Check out our complete guide on the best places to Kayak in Michigan.

    Hiking Biking & Climbing Galore

    Of course, Daniel Boone National Forest is a great place to go for any of the mainstays of outdoor recreation. The forest boasts more than 600 miles of trails ideal for both day hiking and backpacking, plus year-round bike friendly roads, and sandstone cliffs that climbers fawn over. Considering the sheer size of the forest, youd be hard pressed to have the same experience each time you go. Every visit is a new adventure, no matter your outdoor recreation preference.

    There are a few trails and excursions that stand out above the rest. The Sky Bridge Trail in the Red River Gorge section of the park is short and sweet, but includes views that will stop you in your tracks. The trail is a one-mile loop thats family and dog friendly since much of it is paved. For a path less traveled, try the Rock Bridge Trail. Its a 1.4-mile hike thats rated as moderate but is actually quite easy. The trail is accessible year round and takes visitors past waterfalls.

    Bikers are sure to find a challenge in the park. The majority of the trails were originally designed for hiking only, resulting in several narrow and steep sections. But many of the designated biking trails are shared trails. Among these that are less used by non-bikers, is Section 16 of the larger Sheltowee Trace National Recreation Trail. This section is entirely roadway, which means it provides a more bike-centric trail experience.

    Originally written by RootsRated for Kentucky Tourism.

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    Who Is Going To Love It

    Some trails in the Red are marked, but the way to Indian Staircase isnt among themwhich, with the right map or GPS, makes for a real off-the-beaten-path adventure feel. The occasionally-tricky navigating, combined with exposure on the staircase itself, means its not well suited to families with small kids, dogs, or inexperienced hikers uncomfortable with exposure. The angle isnt as bad as it looksit doesnt exceed more than about 45 degreesbut certainly looks intimidating from afar. Not to worry: theres plenty of exploring to do in the area without climbing the staircase itself.

    An Insider’s Guide To Daniel Boone National Forest

    Red River Gorge Geological Area, KY

    Outdoorsman and folk hero Daniel Boone is far better known than the national forest named after him. That is part of what makes Kentuckys Daniel Boone National Forest so great.

    Its one of those wonderful places that you stumble upon, spend an entire day exploring and enjoying and leave wondering how youd never previously heard of it. The national forest is one of those great spots hidden in plain sight. It spans more than two million acres and 21 counties, yet many people dont know it exists. Read on for the big reveal, as well as tips and tricks from an insider.

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    Plenty Of Places To Stay

    From backcountry camping to RV-style glamping and cabin rentals, the options for places to spend the night in Daniel Boone National Forest are extensive. If youre taking the RV approach, there are spots in the Cumberland District, the London Ranger District, and the Stearns District. If youve got a group with you, there are four specially designated group camping locales that are designed to meet your specific needs.

    Otherwise, the Zilpo Recreation Area has plenty of cabins. Backcountry options abound in almost every area of the park if youre looking for something more remote.

    Whatever your style, keep these key guidelines in mind: dont bring your own firewood, be mindful of the fact that there are bears about and follow the forests rules and regulations to avoid fines.

    All National Parks Passes Golden Eagle Golden Eagle Hologram Golden Access And Golden Age Passports Will Continue To Be Honored According To The Provisions Of The Pass Only Paper Golden Age And Access Passports May Be Exchanged Free Of Charge For New Plastic Passesreservations

    Reservations at some sites are available by calling recreation.gov at 877-444-6777 or visit .

    • Reservations can be made only for the summer recreation season.
    • Reservation can be made up to 6 months in advance for individual campsites and 12 months in advance for group campsites and cabins.
    • Some sites may require two or three nights of minimum stay on weekends and holidays.

    Reservations can be made up to six months in advance for individual campsites and 12 months in advance for group campsites. Some sites may require a two or three night minimum stay on weekends and holidays. A service fee will apply if you change or cancel your reservation. Late cancellations are subject to additional fees.

    Camping and day use reservation policies are subject to change, so check recreation.gov for most recent policy information.

    Cumberland District

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    Backpacking In Red River Gorge: Clifty Wilderness

    Sharing is caring!

    We set out for a bit of backpacking in Red River Gorge within Daniel Boone National Forest in Kentucky not long ago and had trouble finding solid information on how to go about it. So weve rounded up all the information we would have liked to find in one place, including some maps, to make it easier for you. And yeah, were gonna share what the experience was like, too, so lace up and buckle up!

    Do You Need Reservations To Camp At Red River Gorge

    Hansons Point – The Best View In The Red River Gorge (Kentucky Backpacking)

    Make Red River Gorge camping reservations in advance. With any popular destination like the Red River Gorge, its essential to reserve your campsite before arrival. That way, you can alter your plans beforehand if campgrounds are at capacity.

    The campgrounds we list below offer online reservations, so check the booking windows in advance to get a spot when you want to visit.

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    Land Of The Arches Campground

    Well-known as a top climbers destination, Land of the Arches , is a great campground with bathrooms, hot showers, free WiFi and an indoor recreation area with air hockey and table tennis where campers can entertain themselves on a rainy day. LOTA offers tent and hammock camping, a limited number of RV campsites with electric hookups and a dump station, and indoor camping for those that dont quite feel like roughing it.

    This is in the heart of the Red River Gorge and super close to Muir Valley. Great climbing campground that is fairly affordable . The only thing is they dont allow dogs, except at the annual Rocktoberfest festival. The Dyrt Camper Theresa D.

    Recreation Permits And Passes

    The Daniel Boone National Forest offers a variety of activities such as camping, OHV riding, boating and target shooting. Many of the facilities and services associated with these opportunities are free. However, fees may be charged at certain recreation sites or passes may be required to help maintain, manage, and improve the facilities.

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    Our Favorite Special Touches For Backpacking In Red River Gorge

    There are a ton of ways you can personalize your trek while hiking such as keeping an outdoor journal, making your own backpacking meals, or seeking out epic photos. One of our favorite touches especially when at the Red is a sunrise hike!

    Doing a sunrise hike adds a little extra work for you on the trail, but the payoff is absolutely worth it.

    If youre looking for a good sunrise scene to check out, Hansons Point is one of our favorites that you can add onto the Pinch Em Tight one-night trek. If you do plan a sunrise hike on your trek, make sure you pack your essential gear, listed below, before heading out in the dark.

    • Map / GPS

    Want to Learn Even More About the Red River Gorge?

    You can find more information, maps, and opportunities for education at the Gladie Visitor Center and at the Daniel Boone National Forest official site.

    Aside from hiking, backpacking, and established camping , Red River Gorge is also a top destination for rock climbing. The unique sandstone cliffs provide the perfect scene for high-rope adventures. An abundance of established bolted routes draws climbers from all over the world to get their fill of The Red, as many folks like to call it.

    Feeling a little overwhelmed about planning your own backpacking trip in the Red?

    Red River Gorge Kentucky: The Complete Guide

    Red River Gorge Geological Area, KY

    For decades, the Red River Gorge in Kentucky was quietly celebrated mainly for its world-class climbing, but word of this area’s beauty has spread. Each year brings a record number of visitors to the 45-square-mile geological area. While the nearby Natural Bridge State Park offers a more curated outdoor experience, the nationally designated Clifty Wilderness area of Red River Gorge remains wilder and freer. More than 100 natural arches, breathtaking cliffs, and countless rock shelters are just a few of the many reasons to visit.

    Development has progressed slowly in Red River Gorge. Predictably, the pace is increasing with interest. Slade, the nearest town, has a long way to go before becoming the next Gatlinburg, but new options such as ziplines, cabin rentals, and adventure experiences open every year along with restaurants.

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    Sheltowee Trace National Recreation Trail

    This is a 290 mile trail from northern Kentucky to Pickett State Park, Tennessee. Sheltowee, meaning Big Turtle, was the Shawnee name given to Daniel Boone who explored the land in this region. This trail is commonly used by overnight back packers and connects to other trail systems. The section of this trail will have a turtle imprint painted on a tree to designate the Sheltowee National Trail. This trail is maintained by the Sheltowee Trace Association. For more hiking in the Gorge click HERE.

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