For one reason or another, I have never hiked to Grays Arch until now. I have lived here in Powell County for almost 13 years and I can't begin to try and calculate all the miles that I have hiked in the Red River Gorge. But for the life of me, I cannot figure out why I have let this gem of a hike sneak by me! I love this trail! So much so that I came home and told my husband that we HAVE to do this together soon!
As you pull into the parking area, you instantly see picnic tables scattered around and all of them in a beautiful setting, If you don't want to hike and are just looking for a new picnic spot, this is really nice. There are even 2 bathrooms close by.
This trail was absolutely wonderful and easy for the first, I'd say, 2/3rd's of the way. Extremely flat with no uphill or downhill whatsoever. It is around 2 1/2 miles from the parking lot to the arch and back. I didn't do the loop trail because Ranger is good for about 2 miles. Any further I would probably have to carry him.
The wild rhododendrons were blooming and you can see some pretty views if you take one of the short paths that veer off the trail. But! Only if you stay a good distance from the edge! I saw we had another serious injury this week in the gorge. Please be safe y'all.
Once you notice you are starting to go downhill, you will pretty much continue that until you arrive at the arch. The cool thing though, is that when you head back you know that it is smooth sailing once you get up top to level ground.
The next few pictures are of the rocks, steps and you guessed it...stairs. SHEW!
When I came to this next spot, I thought I was there! There is a wooden fence with a very well worn path on the other side of it. And if you look real close, you can see the arch. So I just figured you must go around the fence, stay on that path and quickly get to the arch. But my instincts kicked in, saw the diamond on a tree and I continued on the same trail I was on. It sure confused me though. The arch was right there! Why was the trail going away from it?
I cannot stress enough to stay away from the cliff edges. If I would have taken this other path, I would have been on top of a huge rock wall, that you will see when you get to the arch, that is extremely high. One slip of the foot and it's all over. I am so thankful I stayed on the trail. It did eventually lead to Grays Arch.
I was absolutely in awe of the size of this arch! I was bummed because I couldn't get a good picture of it no matter where I stood. It is so massive! It is pretty difficult getting up underneath of it, though. My puppy-dog, Ranger, even had to think about his next steps. So when you do get there, grab a seat and take it all in. Drink your water and grab one of those snacks you brought. It is stunning.
Take advantage of this AMAZING cool weather we are having! Grab that camera, be safe and have fun!