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Backpacker Magazine – January 2014

Multisport Playgrounds

Going by foot is only one way to see what’s best in the South. Bring your climbing gear, fins, or mountain bike to find the rest.

by: Stuart Peck


Rock climbing
Red River Gorge, KY

Enjoy the Red’s famous sandstone two ways: on a big-view hike, then a big-thrill climb. Start your two-fer weekend by hiking the 14.2-mile loop from the Rock Bridge trailhead connecting the Rock Bridge, Rough, and Swift Creek Camp Trails. This area has some of the most rugged terrain in the gorge, traversing several ridges and creekbeds, says Phil Roberts. Pass Creation Falls—a 20-foot-wide flume of water sliding over sandstone—and find a dispersed campsite near Rock Bridge (pick up a $5, three-day permit at 12187 Campton Road, Stanton). Next day, head to Funk Rock City, a roadside crag off KY 715, for your vertical fix—from easy 5.6 trad climbing to a classic sport climb on 90-foot 5.10a Manic Impression. 

Trailhead 37.808123, -83.657885*; 60 miles southeast of Lexington on Tunnel Ridge Rd. info (859) 745-3100; Website




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