Red River Gorge/Red Byrd Arch Packraft Trip - Kentucky

BJett

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The Red River Gorge in Kentucky has the second highest concentration of arches outside of Arches NP, and many of them are off trail and hard to access. Red Byrd arch is elusive, but there are a few options. I've been mapping out packraft adventures around the state, most are not obvious but if you get creative there are good routes out there.

For this day trip I hiked up the Red River about 3 miles (lower end of the National Wild & Scenic section), inflated the packraft and ferried across the river. I bushwacked up thru the rhododendron tunnels to a cliff wall which I followed to the arch. Snapped some pics, found a better route back to the boat and paddled the 3 miles back to the car. Water level was just high enough (100 cfs) to get down, could have used more lube though. Regardless, it was a perfect day and a route that probably hasn't been done before.


Hiking up the Red River
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Inflate and ferry across...
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Red Byrd Arch
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My ride back to the car
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caught some invasive Swedish Fish
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The beautiful paddle back to the car.
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Janice

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Wonderful! We enjoyed Red River Gorge on a fall weekend some years back, but we did much more typical on-trail stuff. Looks like you had a fun adventure!
 

Reef&Ruins

Colorado Plateau is calling...
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Looks amazing. And I totally approve of Swedish Fish consumption. The snack of champions (along with Sour Patch).
 

wsp_scott

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Good way to get to Red Byrd. The Douglas Trail is probably my favorite trail in the gorge, I've thought about doing this short paddle but never get around to it.

thanks for the pics
 

BJett

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Good way to get to Red Byrd. The Douglas Trail is probably my favorite trail in the gorge, I've thought about doing this short paddle but never get around to it.

thanks for the pics
It would still be good to go at 80 cfs on the Hazel Green gauge. Much lower might be iffy. The bushwack from the river was tricky but there is a very faint path to the cliff then its easy to the arch.
Headed to the BSF for another packraft trip, upstream of yours I think. paddle Leatherwood to Station Camp, hike the JMT back to the car.
 

RyanP

Formerly bob32
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Mar 1, 2015
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The Red River Gorge in Kentucky has the second highest concentration of arches outside of Arches NP
I had heard that the Rattlesnake Canyon area in CO has the 2nd-highest concentration of arches... I'm sure it depends on how you measure that! In any case, thanks for the awesome report!
 

wsp_scott

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It would still be good to go at 80 cfs on the Hazel Green gauge. Much lower might be iffy. The bushwack from the river was tricky but there is a very faint path to the cliff then its easy to the arch.
Headed to the BSF for another packraft trip, upstream of yours I think. paddle Leatherwood to Station Camp, hike the JMT back to the car.

Are you planning on portaging Angel Falls? Should be a good day paddling under those cliffs.
 

BJett

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May 3, 2013
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I had heard that the Rattlesnake Canyon area in CO has the 2nd-highest concentration of arches... I'm sure it depends on how you measure that! In any case, thanks for the awesome report!
west of the Rockies, you are correct. The RRG has the highest concentration east of the Rockies. I should have specified. Good catch!
 

BJett

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May 3, 2013
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Are you planning on portaging Angel Falls? Should be a good day paddling under those cliffs.
yessir. I dont have the WW packraft yet, its on order. Even then I'd probably still portage unless its super low.
I'll post the TR here next week.
 
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