Auxier Ridge Trail #204 in the beautiful Red River Gorge Geological Area of Kentucky is an unforgettable hike featuring narrow exposed ridges overlooking sweeping Appalachian vistas of the Daniel Boone National Forest.
Auxier Ridge Trail Interactive Map
Sometimes words fail to accurately describe a place, so we’ll just let the pictures do most of the talking.
Beginning the trail at daybreak may reward early risers with lakes of dense fog pooled on the valley floor.
The first two weekends in November are likely your best bet to see peak fall colors, although some say hiking in winter when the trees are bare offers the most spectacular views..
As with most popular destinations, get to the trailhead early as parking is limited and fills up quickly. Think sunrise as opposed to mid-day.
At about one mile in, the trail makes a 90-degree turn to the right (east), but another trail continues due north (see exclamation point marker on interactive map).
This section can be confusing as both trails look well-defined. Instinct may tell you to continue straight ahead, but the correct way is east. Pay close attention to trail blazes on the trees.
View the heatmap overlay on the interactive trail map to better understand this somewhat confusing trail offshoot, or else you may end up backtracking (like us).
With about a quarter mile before the northernmost portion of the trail, Auxier Ridge narrows to cliff views on both sides known as the Wizard’s Backbone — perhaps the most striking feature on this hike (see main image at the top of this post).
At the far north terminus to Auxier Ridge Trail is stoic Courthouse Rock. Everyone in the town of Slade will tell you that you can climb this beast, but this isn’t an effort suitable for the casual hiker. Leave that to the legit climbers.
From here, you may take the steps built by the Forest Service down to Courthouse Rock Trail and loop back, or simply go back the same way you came. Although it looks like a shortcut, Courthouse Rock Trail actually adds about a mile to the return trip, so choose your route accordingly.
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