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Red River Gorge, Daniel Boone National Forest, Kentucky

The Red River Gorge, located at 37°49′N 83°40′W / 37.817°N 83.667°W / 37.817; -83.667, is a canyon system on the Red River in east-central Kentucky. Geologically, it is part of the Pottsville Escarpment.

Much of the Gorge is located inside the Daniel Boone National Forest and has been subsequently reserved as the Red River Gorge Geological Area, an area of around 44 square miles (110 km2). It has been designated a National Natural Landmark. The 20 square miles (52 km2) Clifty Wilderness Area lies entirely within the gorge.

This intricate canyon system features an abundance of high sandstone cliffs, rock shelters, waterfalls, and natural bridges. There are more than 100 natural sandstone arches in the Red River Gorge Geological Area. The multitude of sandstone and cliff-lines have helped this area become one of the world's top rock climbing destinations and is home to the Red River Gorge Climbers' Coalition.

Kentucky's Natural Bridge State Park is immediately adjacent to this area, featuring one of the largest natural bridges in the Red River Gorge.

Because of its unusual and rugged nature, the Red River Gorge features a remarkable variety of ecological zones. It is the farthest southern site where the Canadian yew, Taxus canadensis, is known to grow.

Contents

Geological formations in the Gorge

Red River in Wolfe County, Kentucky
  • Angel Windows
  • Chimney Top (View from)
  • Court House Rock
  • Creation Falls
  • Cloud Splitter
  • Double Arch
  • Eagle Point Buttress/Eagle's Nest
arch in Red River Gorge
  • Gray's Arch
  • Half Moon
  • Hanson's Point(View from)
  • Haystack Rock
  • Hidden Arch
  • Indian Staircase
  • Moonshiners Arch
  • Pinch 'em Tight
  • Princess Arch
  • Ravens Rock
  • Rock Bridge
  • Sky Bridge
  • Silver Mine Arch
  • Star Gap Arch
  • Whistling Arch
  • Whittleton Arch

Nada Tunnel

Today the tunnel is a one-way section of a two-way road, drivers must watch for the headlights of oncoming vehicles

Nada tunnel is a 900 foot long and 12 foot wide logging tunnel built between 1910 and 1912. Rock and dirt were removed by dynamite, steam drills and hand tools. One man was killed during tunnel construction when he attempted to thaw frozen dynamite which exploded when he set it near a fire."Nada Tunnel on Cumberland Ranger District". http://www.fs.fed.us/r8/boone/districts/cumberland/nada_tunnel.shtml.  

History of the Proposed Red River Gorge Dam

Decades of flooding by the Red River offered downstream residents much misery. In 1962 the "Great Flood of Clay City," the worst seen in 102 years, moved both government officials and local communities to lobby the Kentucky State Legislature and the Kennedy administration for immediate construction of a flood control dam. The United States Congress would ultimately approve the measure and provide funding. The Army Corps of Engineers set about their business of making the structure a reality; however, many felt that such actions would destroy the unique ecosystem residing there. Spearheaded by the Sierra Club, an opposition to the dam was formed. It was this group that obtained the help of Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas by participating in a Dam Protest Hike which drew local and national attention to the situation. The Dam Protest Hike took place on November 18, 1967 at the Clifty Wilderness area, junction of Swift Creek and the Red River, Highway 715.

Loop road seen from high above

The struggle of wills lasted several decades, involved two proposed Dam sites and finally concluded with Red River's entry into the National Wild and Scenic River system on December 3, 1993. President Bill Clinton signed the declaration into law which provides federal protection for a 19.4 mile section of the river. This effectively eliminated any further possibility of a dam being constructed and preserved the Red River and its Gorge as we know it. For more information see RRS: History of the Red River Valley Dam

Motion Pictures

The Red River Gorge's Sky Bridge appears in the 1955 film "The Kentuckian", starring and directed by Golden Globe and Academy Award winner Burt Lancaster. It was also the first major motion picture to be filmed in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Rock Climbing

The Red River Gorge is also known as a popular destination for rock climbers. The vast number of bolted routes in overhanging, pocketed sandstone draws climbers from all over the world to "the Red" as it is known. The route difficulty ranges from 5.2 (2) (very easy) to 5.14c (8c+) (very difficult, for only the best climbers) in the Yosemite Decimal System.

There are also a number of published guides to rock climbing in the area.

External links








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