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Swift Camp Creek to Wildcat Trail Loop

  4.4 ( 12 ) Favorite


5.3 mile 8.6 kilometer loop


Ascent: 624' 190 m
Descent: -625' -190 m
High: 1,264' 385 m
Low: 876' 267 m


Avg Grade: 4% (3°)
Max Grade: 19% (11°)


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Trail shared by April French

A loop incorporating Swift Camp Creek Trail #219 and Wildcat Trail #228, connected by KY 715.

April French

Features River/Creek · Wildlife

Backcountry camping requires a permit in the Clifty Wilderness area.


This loop traverses part of the 7 mile Swift Camp Creek Trail #219 to its connection with Wildcat Trail #228 at mile 3. Enjoy the rhododendron shaded forest as it descends to Sons Branch Creek. Watch for the points where the trail becomes very thin with the steep ridge drop-offs.

Need to Know

There is a creek crossing at 1.5 miles. The trail runs on the ledge, so be careful where you step!


From the Rough Trail/ Swift Camp Creek Trailhead, cross KY 715 and enter the forest. The trail is easy for a bit, as it descends the ridge to Sons Branch Creek. The trail then turns sharply so you can head up to the other side of the creek.

You'll then go over a number of rollers, and you'll traverse the ridge line next to the creek. Watch where you step, as the trail gets thin in places. You'll traverse a series of rollers as you follow the Swift Camp Creek. You'll also get to see a nice boulder garden along the way.

At mile 3, Swift Camp Creek Trail #219 meets up with Wildcat Trail #228, where you can either continue on Swift Camp Creek Trail #219 or make the loop on Wildcat Trail #228 back up to KY 715.

Wildcat Trail #228 follows under some rock shelters as it climbs to the top of the ridgeline. The trail levels off about 0.3 miles from the junction with Swift Camp Creek Trail #219, as you've reached the top of the ridge. You can work your way all the way to the Wildcat Trail #228 trailhead and parking lot or, like us, use the Forest Service road to loop back up to KY 715 and take the pavement back to the start point.

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Family Friendly, ADA Accessible, Flora & Fauna, History & Background


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Oct 9, 2019
Handholds ( on plants) and poles needed in a couple places after some rain. Rough deserted and one of the best hikes in KY.
May 12, 2019
Mircea Damian
Mar 10, 2019
Katelin Palmer
Mar 10, 2019
Carleton Sloan
walked in Direction opposite of recommended 5.3mi — 4h 30m
Aug 4, 2018
Charlie Johnson
Jan 3, 2018
Vu Luong
Aug 20, 2017
Cristi P
Mostly deserted, but enjoyable - nice rock features throughout - very eroded and muddy though. — 2h 44m
Jun 25, 2017
Pat Rodriguez
Pleasant hike. Great weather. Quite a few places to sit and enjoy nature and very few other hikers on the trail. Well worth the visit.

Trail Ratings

  4.4 from 12 votes


  4.4 from 12 votes
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View of Swift Camp Creek from the trail.
Mar 13, 2016 near Campton, KY
Sons Branch Creek crossing.
Mar 13, 2016 near Campton, KY

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