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Auxier - Courthouse Loop

Intermediate/Difficult
 4.7 (50) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A quintessential Red River Gorge hiking experience.


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Map Key

4.8

Miles

7.7

KM

Loop

1,293' 394 m

High

895' 273 m

Low

669' 204 m

Up

669' 204 m

Down

5%

Avg Grade (3°)

46%

Max Grade (25°)

Dogs Off-leash

Features Birding · Fall Colors · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Overview

The Auxier - Courthouse Loop has been a natural attractor for hikers for years. The ridge has magnificent views and challenging terrain and it naturally makes sense to return via the different and interesting Courthouse Rock Trail.

There is a lot of foot traffic along the ridge. The lower trail is starkly different and gets far less. It is a bit more remote and if you get into trouble it's unlikely someone will come across you quickly on Courthouse Rock Trail #202.

Need to Know

There are a series of manmade steps at the end of the ridge. If you do this loop clockwise you'll have a grunt climb. Clockwise there is a quasi-scramble to gain the ridge.

Description

This hike is quintessential Red River Gorge. The ridge is rolling and tough at speed. The views are nothing less than amazing. You pass Haystack Rock, Courthouse Rock and overlooks along the way.

The lower section of the loop along Courthouse Rock Trail #202 is distinctly different from the ridgetop portion (Auxier Ridge Trail #204) and feels remote and isolated.

A variation of this hike is to traverse across Auxier Branch on the Auxier Branch Trail and gain Tunnel Ridge Road to return to the trailhead. You can also detour to Double Arch on this variation.

Flora & Fauna

You will likely see birds, maybe snakes, and possibly squirrels. Deer and bear live in the area as well as bobcats, but they are rare and you have to be darn lucky to see them. This is the Red River Gorge so flora is diverse and amazing.

Contacts

Shared By:

Chris Chaney

Trail Ratings

  4.7 from 50 votes

#136

Overall
  4.7 from 50 votes
5 Star
76%
4 Star
22%
3 Star
2%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#1

in Kentucky

#136

Overall
166 Views Last Month
7,230 Since Jul 5, 2015
Intermediate/Difficult

0%
0%
26%
9%
65%
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Photos

View of Courthouse Rock from Auxier Ridge near Haystack Rock
Jul 9, 2015 near Stanton, KY
Red River Gorge
Jul 9, 2015 near Stanton, KY
Courthouse Rock looms over the trail below.
Dec 31, 2016 near Stanton, KY
The view from Haystack Rock is pretty exceptional.
Dec 31, 2016 near Stanton, KY
Fall colors in the gorge.
Jul 9, 2015 near Stanton, KY
Looking down on the trail
Jul 9, 2015 near Stanton, KY

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Check-Ins

Oct 26, 2020
Steven Yankay
Sep 21, 2020
Beth Jenkins
Started Monday evening and finished Tuesday - nice, non crowded day. 5.1mi
Jun 13, 2020
Michael Klaas
Mar 8, 2020
Matt Kilgore
Jan 19, 2020
Anna Fatta
7mi — 4h 00m
Nov 24, 2019
Jessy Harding
4.8mi
Nov 16, 2019
Holly Brown
awsome 5.4mi
Sep 14, 2019
Stephen Davis
Lots of roots and a little bit of scrambling for the views. The views are absolutely gorgeous. 4.8mi