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blue Pinch-Em Tight Ridge Loop

  4.1 ( 10 ) Favorite


4.0 mile 6.5 kilometer loop


Ascent: 607' 185 m
Descent: -608' -185 m
High: 1,313' 400 m
Low: 847' 258 m


Avg Grade: 6% (3°)
Max Grade: 34% (19°)


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Trail shared by April French

A loop incorporating the Sheltowee Trace, the Rough Trail #221 and the Rush Ridge Trail #227

April French

Features Fall Colors · River/Creek · Wildflowers


This loop offers beautiful views of what is locally known as the "Pinch-Em-Tight Ridge". Visitors will get a brief taste of the Pinch-em Tight Trail #223, the Rough Trail #221, a portion of the Sheltowee Trace Trail, and will finish back on the Rush Ridge Trail #227. The loop features one tough climb on the Rough Trail #221 to get back on the ridge, but aside from that, it's generally smooth ascents and descents in the forest.


From Tunnel Ridge Road, watch for the trailhead sign and the white turtle blazes of the Sheltowee Trace, which overlaps with the Pinch-em Tight Trail #223. From the portion of the Sheltowee Trace NRT, you'll eventually come to an intersection. Stay to the right, and you'll make your way onto the Rush Ridge Trail #227.

You'll follow along the ridge, enjoying the regrowth of the tree canopy and some views of the Red River Gorge. The Buck Trail #226 will intersect with the Pinch-em Tight Trail #223 around 1.3 miles, so stay to the left, following the signs to the aptly named Rough Trail #221. The Pinch-em Tight Trail #223 will then descend to the Rough Trail #221, and you'll turn left onto the Rough Trail #221.

From there, you'll cross the Rush Branch creek a couple of times before climbing up to meet the Rush Ridge Trail #227. Do not underestimate this climb, it's pretty serious and reminds you of how the Rough Trail #221 got its name.

Catch your breath, then transverse the ridge on Rush Ridge Trail #227 until it connects back with Pinch-em Tight Trail #223 and the return to Tunnel Ridge Road.

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Jul 13, 2019
Danica Smith
7h 14m
May 4, 2019
Ziggy Zibrowski
Apr 6, 2019
Zac Combs
4mi — 9h 42m
Mar 2, 2019
Mike Damian
Sep 3, 2018
Doug E
Jul 14, 2018
Kelly P
Watch the turn onto the other part of the loop as we missed it and ended up on the Grey’s Arch trail. Don’t get me wrong, it was gorgeous! 6mi
Jul 4, 2018
Stephanie Shade
Apr 29, 2018
Mason Halcomb

Trail Ratings

  4.1 from 10 votes


  4.1 from 10 votes
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in Kentucky


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3,599 Since Jan 31, 2016
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