Backcountry camping permits are required for those who wish to stay in the Red River Gorge overnight. They are sold at many area gas stations and convenience stores and must be displayed in any vehicle that is parked within the Red River Gorge between the hours of 10pm and 6am. Permits Cost $3 for a day, $5 for three days or $30 for an annual pass. Here are some suggested camping areas.
Backpacking Along a Stream
Red Byrd Arch Area - About 1-1.5 miles to campsite. There are a minimum of 5 fabulous options for camping along this unmarked trail following the Red River. You do NOT need to go to all the way to Red Byrd Arch to enjoy one of these great campsites.
Snow Arch/Deer Creek Arch Area - Less than 1 mile to campsite – You have several good options along the unofficial trail along Copperas Creek. The last spot before turning off along a smaller creak up to the arches is very large and would be perfect for a group or an individual.
Rock Creek/Turtle Back Arch Area (not for large groups) – 2 miles to campsite- There are several smaller campsites after turning off trail #219 Swift Camp Creek Trail onto the unofficial trail up to Turtle Back Arch. There are several other unofficial trails off of trail #219 Swift Camp Creek Trail, just make sure to comply with the rules and regulations.
Backpacking with a View
Ledford Arch Area - 2 miles to campsite- There are a bunch of good options for camping after turning out the unmarked trail off Trail #221 Rough Trail leading out Pinch-Em Tight Ridge. There are also several other unmarked trails off of Trail #221 Rough Trail.
Adena Arch Area - less than 1 mile to campsite. If you hike this in reverse there are several camping options on the unofficial trail near Adena Arch. If you continue to the Indian Staircase we recommend doing it without a backpack as it would be difficult and dangerous to climb the Indian Staircase with a backpack.
Indian Staircase Area 2 miles to campsite. We suggest hiking this loop in reverse as an in and out hike (not loop) if you are backpacking. We do not recommend carrying backpacks over the Indian Staircase. While you will pass through the largest natural shelter in the gorge it is absolutely prohibited to camp there, but there are many other good options nearby.