Red River Gorge: Hanson's Point in Autumn

Updated on March 1, 2020
Ron Grimes profile image

The Red River Gorge in Kentucky is a 5-hour drive from my Middle Tennessee home. The Gorge is beautiful, and it is well worth the drive.

Red River Gorge, morning, day 2
Red River Gorge, morning, day 2

A Trek to Hanson's Point

October 24th, 2018. The early morning temperature on the bluff was 36 degrees. It didn’t feel too cold though. It was still dark out, but the full moon was still very bright, and it gave the woods an amazing glow. Much of the trail in this area is light-colored sand or light-colored sandstone, so we could see parts of the trail without using any lights.

I got very little sleep last night because my air mattress kept sliding out from under me in my hammock. Without the air mattress under me, I got cold. I had to frequently adjust the mattress so it was under me, and I could stay warm.

I didn’t cook breakfast. I just had some cowboy coffee, a protein bar, and some nuts and raisins. We then packed up our gear and left the campsite on the bluff as we headed to Rough Trail (the trail is actually named, “Rough Trail”). Wow, Rough Trail most certainly lives up to its name. The first mile or so was easy going, but then we came to parts of the trail that are very steep and slippery as it runs through a stream between stone cliffs. I was amazed that I was able to get through that area without falling. In places, it was difficult to determine exactly where the trail was. A few times, I started in the wrong direction, but thankfully Scott had been on that trail before and knew which way to go.

We hiked maybe three miles or so to get to Hanson’s Point. On the way to Hanson’s Point, we passed four camping areas. These camping areas were large and they all had room for several campsites with fire pits. There was a lot of available firewood in the area. We saw several people camping, and they all seemed to be having a great time. Some of the campers had their dogs with them.

Me on Hanson's Point
Me on Hanson's Point

Hanson's Point

Hanson's Point
Hanson's Point

After a couple of hours, we finally arrived at Hanson’s Point. Hanson’s Point is a narrow bluff with amazing views of the Red River Gorge. The trail is one of the unofficial trails in the Red River Gorge. The edges of the cliffs are very steep. In 2017 a man died there. Rescuers estimated that he fell over 200 feet off the cliff. The gorge has many vertical cliffs, and there have been many deaths over the years. There are many signs indicating, “Dangerous Cliffs” and stating that deaths have occurred there.

Once we got to the rocky perch of Hanson’s Point, we took our backpacks off and sat down and enjoyed the view. The day was perfectly warm, sunny, and in the 60s. We had a light lunch. I had some cheese, nuts, and raisins. After about an hour, we decided to head back to the area where we camped at the night before.

Fall Color

24 October 2918
24 October 2918

Supper: Backpacker's Pantry

For supper, I had Backpacker’s Pantry Pasta Vegetable Parmesan. It was amazingly good. We then had a great fire and enjoyed the evening at the gorge. The full moon was super bright.

Backpacker's Pantry Pasta Vegetable Parmesan.  So good!
Backpacker's Pantry Pasta Vegetable Parmesan. So good!

What a Great View!

Backerpacker's Pantry Pasta Vegetable Parmesan
Backerpacker's Pantry Pasta Vegetable Parmesan

Perfect Campfire

24 October campfire
24 October campfire

Heading Home

We got up around 4:00 AM while it was still dark, and decided to pack up and head back to the car. I had a quick cup of cowboy coffee and then packed up my gear. Neither one of us had ever hiked in the dark before. We put our headlamps on and headed down the trail.

I was surprised at how easy it was to traverse the trail in the dark. Of course, the headlamps made all of the difference. I can’t imagine trying to hike in the dark without a headlamp.

As we got near the parking lot, I realized that I had not fallen once the entire trip. If I could make it to the car without falling, this would be my first hike without falling at least once. We reached the cars as daylight was breaking. I made it without falling. I was so thankful for that.

Scott’s car battery was dead. A jump from my car got it going. That is yet another reason that it’s always good to hike with a friend.

October 24 2018 Full Moon

Very bright full moon
Very bright full moon

Autumn in Red River Gorge

Video of November Day at Red River Gorge

Why the view of the Jim Beam truck at the end of the video? Bourbon. Bourbon is a staple backpacking gear item. Bourbon helps to keep the blood thin and it's medicinal against the night air. Yes, that's it - it's medicinal.

Red River Gorge, Hanson's Point

Hanson's Point:
Hanson's Point, Sky Bridge Rd, Pine Ridge, KY 41360, USA

get directions

Red River Gorge Kentucky. Hanson's Point.

Questions & Answers

    © 2018 Ron Grimes


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