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blueBlack Rockcastle Narrows East Trail #401

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5.1 mile 8.3 kilometer point to point


Ascent: 806' 246 m
Descent: -738' -225 m
High: 1,275' 389 m
Low: 744' 227 m


Avg Grade: 6% (3°)
Max Grade: 27% (15°)


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Waterfalls, creeks, water crossings.

April French

Features Cave · Fall Colors · River/Creek · Spring · Waterfall


This trail is in a remote area, which can be access off KY 192 to FS 56 and FS 119. Remote is right - don't plan on cell service or Google maps to help you find the trailhead. Parking is limited to the area off the gravel road.

As mapped the trail starts at the intersection with Seltowee Trace NRT: Section 25, but the trailhead is actually off FS 119, past the gate and this is where the description begins. You'll need to park off the road and work your way along the road down to the trail (it will be off to the left heading east. After some easy descending, the trail follows along Yuel Branch Creek. With some looking, you'll be able to see the creek in places. At about 1 mile, you'll cross Yuel Branch and intersect the Sheltowee Trace NCT - Section 25. (As mapped this is the endpoint of the trail). To reach the rest of Rockcastle Narrows East Trailhead south on Seltowee Trace NRT: Section 25 for about 1.5 miles.

You'll see a couple of trail signs to turn off to Van Hook Falls. The 0.8 mile trek to Van Hook Falls is well worth the time, as the falls drop off a rock shelf well over three stories in height.

The Rockcastle Narrows East Trail however goes off to the right and runs along Cane Creek. You'll go past boulders as big as cabins and have easy access down to the sandy beach in various places. Once the trail reaches the Rockcastle River, it turns north, following the shore. You'll enjoy numerous views of the Class 2 whitewater as it works through the Narrows. When the trail turns away from the water for the return, you'll climb a steep ridge line.

While the trail ends when it lets out on FS 119, you still have a short trip of around 0.5 mile back past the trailhead where you started from and to the gate where you left the car, adding some distance onto the trip.

Flora & Fauna

Holy trees, blueberries, snakes.


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Nov 29, 2018
Jonathan White
Mar 5, 2018
John Carr
Jul 8, 2017
Lindsey Kou
Apr 2, 2016
April French
6.7mi — 5h 07m

Trail Ratings

  4.7 from 3 votes


  4.7 from 3 votes
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in Kentucky


24 Views Last Month
949 Since Apr 2, 2016
Intermediate/Difficult Intermediate/Difficult

Kenny Dunn
Hazard, KY
Kenny Dunn   Hazard, KY
A very nice trail, with Van Hook being the prize, but there are a lot of other nice spots including several smaller falls and the Narrows. The Winding Stair trail isn't shown, but its a really nice trail also that bisects this one down the middle. It offers some nice rock formations and can be used as a shortcut if needed, its on the forest service map. I love mountain biking this loop Jan 1, 2019

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