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Auxier - Courthouse Loop

  4.8 ( 41 ) Favorite


4.8 mile 7.7 kilometer loop


Ascent: 669' 204 m
Descent: -669' -204 m
High: 1,293' 394 m
Low: 895' 273 m


Avg Grade: 5% (3°)
Max Grade: 46% (25°)


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Trail shared by Chris Chaney

A quintessential Red River Gorge hiking experience.

Chris Chaney

Features Birding · Fall Colors · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife


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.


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.

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Family Friendly, ADA Accessible, History & Background


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Sep 14, 2019
Stephen Davis
Lots of roots and a little bit of scrambling for the views. The views are absolutely gorgeous. 4.8mi
Aug 9, 2019
Rachel Carden
Jul 22, 2019
Kyle Delph
Jul 10, 2019
Shawn Primm
Jul 9, 2019
Bill Qualls
11h 48m
Jun 29, 2019
Yoki El Gato
Jun 28, 2019
Jordan Garrison
5.5mi — 4h 00m
Jun 27, 2019
Spencer Harris
Some parts of the trail by courthouse rock are not marked very well. 6.2mi — 2h 50m

Trail Ratings

  4.8 from 41 votes


  4.8 from 41 votes
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in Kentucky


176 Views Last Month
6,038 Since Jul 5, 2015



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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