Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
1,023.00 ft (311.81 m)
Trail type
Loop
Distance
6.10 mi (9.82 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The Auxier Ridge Trail, which can be combined with other trails to create a loop, contains some of the most stunning vistas and interesting geology in all of the Red River Gorge Geological Area. It is a beautiful and diverse trail that traverses on top of the ridgeline and sinks down into the thick forest of the gorge. The total mileage of this trail depends on which routes you take to complete the loop. Approximately half a day should be allowed to hike this trail. There are perfect spots along the ridgeline with great views that would provide for a luxurious spot to enjoy lunch. 

The trail starts at the Auxier Ridge Trailhead located at the end of Tunnel Ridge Road. The trail begins by traversing across the ridgeline. This early stretch of trail has beautiful and expansive views of Courthouse Rock and the Red River Gorge. Approximately 2 miles into the hike the Auxier Ridge Trail branches off and allows hikers to choose the way they connect their loop. The two options at the 2-mile marker are to continue along the Auxier Ridge Trail (continue right at the junction) or to take the Courthouse Rock Trail (turn left at the junction). The Courthouse Rock Trail will make the total hike about 0.25 miles longer, but it takes hikers to the beautiful landmark of Courthouse Rock. There is a large crevice in Courthouse Rock where brave hikers can scramble their way to the top and enjoy views from the top. Take note, however, that the scramble to the top of Courthouse Rock is very steep, difficult, and can be fatal if not done properly. Hikers who are not confident in their scrambling ability should avoid the scramble to the top.

Whether you take the Courthouse Rock Trail or continue along the Auxier Ridge Trail, you will end up merging and coming across the Auxier Ridge Branch Trail; this is the next section of the trail. The Auxier Ridge Branch Trail takes you through the next mile of trail. After 1 mile along the Auxier Ridge Branch Trail, the trail ends and merges with the Double Arch Trail. If you continue left, the Double Arch Trail will take you back to the parking area. However, if you are willing to extend your hike, you can follow the signage to the Double Arch, which is one of the most interesting geological landmarks in the Red River Gorge. The side-trail to Double Arch is well worth the extra mileage. You can stand directly under the Double Arch, hike on top of the arch, and peer across the gorge to the Auxier Ridge.  

Overall, the Auxier Ridge Loop can be combined in different ways, all of which are equally beautiful and provide for a phenomenal hike. With beautiful views, interesting geology, arches, and thick forests, the Auxier Ridge Loop is one of the most beautiful hikes in the entirety of the stunning Red River Gorge. For hikers who are willing to spend half a day on the trail, the Auxier Ridge Loop should not be missed.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Beautiful vistas. Arches. Low crowds.

Cons

Drive 4 miles on a gravel road.

Trailhead Elevation

1,100.00 ft (335.28 m)

Highest point

1,310.00 ft (399.29 m)

Net Elevation Gain

210.00 ft (64.01 m)

Features

Near lake or river
Backcountry camping
Wildlife
Geologically significant
Big vistas
Wildflowers

Typically multi-day

No

Permit required

No

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Adventures

Red River Gorge Natural Geological Area

Comments

Have updates, photos, alerts, or just want to leave a comment?
Sign In and share them.