This time of year is perfect for hiking and exploring Kentucky's beautiful state parks and nature trails. The flowers are starting to bloom and all of the cute little critters are out and about as the cold weather makes way for spring.

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Red River Gorge is a Nature Lover's Paradise

If you are looking for a great place to spend a day on the trails, Red River Gorge is a really popular destination. With lots of opportunities to enjoy the water, ziplining through the lush forests, and climbing cliffs, you could even see what it's like to sleep in the treehouses of The Canopy Crew.

The Indian Staircase is One of Kentucky's Most Popular and Most Adventurous Trails

This trail is technically not an official Red River Gorge trail. It is not maintained by the parks (so BE CAREFUL), but it is one of the most popular among hiking enthusiasts. It's a favorite not only because of the challenge, but because of the gorgeous view that is your reward for reaching the top as you can see here.

It's called the Indian Staircase because legend suggests the foot and handholds were carved into the cliff by the Adena tribe of Native Americans. They settled villages along the Ohio River and are known for the mounds and carvings they built.

Tips For Hiking The Indian Staircase in Kentucky

1. First, it's recommended to take a hiking buddy with you. The climb is completely exposed, meaning the risk of falling is high.

2. Wear shoes with plenty of traction

3. As D-Rob mentioned above, don't be afraid to "put it in 4-wheel drive" and use your hands for more control on the ascent.

4. Only take kiddos or pets if they have climbing/hiking experience

5. Allow yourself about 4 hours to get the most out of the adventure.

For more tips and some specific directions that will help you tackle the staircase, visit


@tread_the_red Fear of heights? 😅 #indianstaircasetrail #indianstaircase #rrg #redrivergorge #kentucky #HoldMyMilk #fyp #treadthered #hike #hikers #trail #hiketok ♬ A Moment Apart - ODESZA


Once you conquer the climb, the view is unbelievable. There is a rock that sticks out called "Frog's Head" because it looks like..well...a frog's head. It may be tempting to crawl out and sit on it, but other hikers have cautioned against it. Instead, if you continue the trail, you will reach the Indian Arch. Just one of many beautiful rock formations in the area.

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Have you ever climbed the Indian Staircase? Would you dare to try?

LOOK: Must-do activities at every national park

Stacker lists the must-do activities at every national park ranked by the annual number of visitors. 

Gallery Credit: Angela Underwood

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