The Auxier Ridge/Courthouse Rock/Double Arch loop is a popular trail in the Red River Gorge area. Sandstone cliff views are unobstructed, arches abound, and the trail is comparatively well maintained. This is where out of town visitors go to gasp and awe and work a little bit for their dinner.
Here’s what the trail map and other blogs won’t tell you.
Auxier Ridge Hiking
Summer hiking? Remember sunscreen because Auxier Ridge Trail those stellar views means few trees. Evidence of a past fire is everywhere, but most especially in the lack of shade along the majority of the ridgeline. The trade-off is snapping those picturesque cliffside photos.
Pets don’t like the stairs. The staircase connecting Courthouse Rock to Auxier Ridge is helpful to humans, but get ready to carry that happy yapper. And no, your dog is not afraid to go down the stairs. Dogs like to have secure footing and the metal grating denies them that comfort. It hurts their paws and weirds out their senses. They’ll scramble the wooden platform stairs on Double Arch Trail just fine.
The map is a lie. What appears to be a loop at the top of Double Arch is a deceptive. It’s actually a hook. You’ll pass the Double Arch from below, then circle around the ridge line as you ascend towards the main attraction.
Spot another arch. If you keep your eyes peeled to the right along the ridge line as you approach Double Arch, there’s a small arch nearby on the rock face. It’s easier to see when the trees aren’t dressed in leaves. Name of arch to be determined.
High-quality H20? If you’re camping, think wisely about your hydration needs when selecting a campsite. The Auxier Branch is your best source of water. The ridge line campsites do have stellar views, but no nearby sources of water if you’re really “roughing it” for an extended overnighter.
Break in the hiking shoes. That walk along the gravel road between Double Arch’s trailhead and the Auxier Ridge parking area? Believe in the adage “distances may be further than the appear.” That’s not the sun shining off a windshield, it’s really just the sun reflecting off a shiny rotting tree trunk. There’s another curve and dip in the road, and another, and another.
BYOTP. Get ready to make some compost. The single stall toilet at the parking area is environmentally-friendly, but be prepared to supply your own toilet paper and hand sanitizer.
Ready for hiking? You’ll need these:
Auxier Area Trail Map (Auxier Ridge, Auxier Branch, Courthouse Rock, and Double Arch Trails)