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Author Topic: Other Gorges in KY  (Read 3238 times)

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ShifuCareaga

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Other Gorges in KY
« on: September 07, 2015, 11:25:00 PM »

Hey there,

After rumbling around Pendergrass Murray and Miller Fork Recreational Preserve, I got to thinking... how many other independent or slightly linked gorge formations are in KY, especially DBNF?

So I was trolling the Google Earth/Sat and I found this beauty at Ano (call Salt Log Hollow, or Canoe Hollow):
https://www.dropbox.com/s/a8v4min8r0o46i4/Screenshot%202015-09-07%2023.20.56.png?dl=0
https://www.dropbox.com/s/ayma36xr6c7v2ae/Screenshot%202015-09-07%2023.21.25.png?dl=0

I was wondering if anyone had been there/ had photos, etc... It's not near the ST trail. What initially caught my eye were the strange amount of ponds in Ano, especially odd shaped ones. And then I saw that Bolthouse Ridge, which I cannot imagine is open all the way to the end of the road that, like most DBNF roads is closed and you have to hoof it. So at the very least there might be some nice shots.

If you have any info, or just have other gorges around KY you want to share (that haven't been turned to lakes! Can you image what Herrington and Cave Run were like!?) feel free to post or get "off topic"

edit- in my quest to find the old growth of the Angel hollow/Baylor-Hickman, I was flabbergasted to see no simple way in, so I passed over 80 and looked North and was treated to this shot (attached):
IOW - I had better really want to see those old trees to get at them. HAHA, that's not just an ankle sprain awaiting the searcher of these old trees. That's serious cliff.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2015, 11:31:17 PM by ShifuCareaga »
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groundhogday

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Re: Other Gorges in KY
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2015, 03:50:48 AM »

Laurel Gorge in Elliot County very close to Sandy Hook.  Tygart Gorge in Carter County near Carter Caves.  Bad Branch Gorge in Letcher County.  Don't know if any of the gorge at BIP is in KY or if it's all in VA?
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Mark W

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Re: Other Gorges in KY
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2015, 11:57:27 AM »

After rumbling around Pendergrass Murray and Miller Fork Recreational Preserve, I got to thinking... how many other independent or slightly linked gorge formations are in KY, especially DBNF?

More than you can shake a stick at, brother man!

Kentucky is full of gorges, mini-gorges, pseudo-gorges, has-been-gorges, also-ran-gorges, etc. It really just depends on how broadly or tightly (no pun intended) you define a gorge. Basically, the entire Cumberland Plateau (and thereby almost the entire DBNF) is basically one large gorge system. There are other gorges along the Kentucky River and some in western Kentucky, but access is trickier to those due to private property.

Here are a few off the top of my head, in addition to those mentioned:

- Pounder Branch Gorge (off the ST near Cane Creek and one of my absolutely favorite places in Kentucky . . . I've done a few trip reports from that area and posted plenty of pictures).

- Jessamine Creek Gorge on the Kentucky River.

- Bylew Creek Gorge at Mammoth Cave National Park.

- Beaver Creek Wilderness is pretty much a 5,000 acre gorge.

- Rock Creek (tributary of the Rockcastle River near the Cumberland confluence) is a nice gorge, only been on the rim of it but I hear it is incredible down in the gorge itself. Big regret of mine that I never followed through on a backpacking trip I had planned there.

Lots to explore!

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ShifuCareaga

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Re: Other Gorges in KY
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2015, 09:01:56 PM »

Thanks guys I'll dig up what info I can on these and hopefully create something for the Hidden Destinations Map

If people have trail data, btw, I welcome it, and can import it as layers into the map.

Thanks!!
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RCKT_RCCN

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Re: Other Gorges in KY
« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2015, 04:24:25 PM »

I found this thread to be interesting so I did a little digging. The one that interested me the most was Bylew Creek Gorge because it's not too far from where I live. I don't know if anyone has been there lately, but from my research it seems that the portion of this gorge that isn't on parkland has turned into an ATV paradise - Blue Holler Offroad Park. If you google it you'll find hundreds of videos of rock crawling, people driving off-road vehicles into sand caves and rock shelters, ripping through creeks, and other shenanigans. It's apparently very popular - they host races and competitions regularly.  http://www.blueholleroffroadpark.com/

I'll resist giving my opinion on this - it is on private land after all - just wanted to share an FYI for anyone else interested in visiting the portion of the gorge inside the national park.
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ShifuCareaga

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Re: Other Gorges in KY
« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2015, 11:06:30 PM »

Oh wow, thanks for posting that!!

So I went out to Bolthouse Ridge and Stepping Rock Ridge and what I am thinking is named Pounder Branch Gorge - if it has a name.

First of all, Bolthouse Ridge is great to visit for 3 reasons. 1) it is fully paved to the overlook, and if you have 4x4, you can take the gravel road down into the gorge. Not many people out there, and beleive it or not, it was fairly clean
2) There is a little waterfall on the drive in, keep your eyes to the right. It's about a 30' falls, totally unexpected. I also think there are going to be a lot of unexpected gems when I get down into that gorge on foot. IT's HUGE
3) the cliffs are spectacular drops, in many cases near to Red River gorge heights. We parked at the end of the paved section and offtrail hiked to the end of Bolthouse Ridge, and sat on the rocky outcroppings. Very plush forest floor, and definitely best to do now while vegetation is less, and with jeans on. But the view was ... gorgeous... see attached.

Stepping Rock Ridge: first let me say you will absolutely need either to backpack or 4x4/offroad or a horse to get back in there. The road is in terrible condition. But the Stepping Rock was an interesting formation AND a convenient way for, say a mountain biker, to get into the gorge and have a lot of fun.
Just FYI when you turn onto Stepping Rock Ridge Rd, you only go about 100 yards and then on teh left there is a FADED sign says "530" on it and what appears to be a driveway, but actually a DBNF road that runs between the trailer and the barn to the right. You follow that back... way back... and at the end is the rock formations.

These are two things I highly recommend to visit and I will be going back as I am convinced there are hidden falls in this gorge system and the nearby other 2 systems, based on finding one just off the side of the Bolthouse Ridge Rd.
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ShifuCareaga

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Re: Other Gorges in KY
« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2015, 11:08:33 PM »

site won't upload this file, easier to share link:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/k9rwvdtttu4ksae/20151127_111507.jpeg?dl=0
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KyDan

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Re: Other Gorges in KY
« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2015, 07:20:06 AM »

I might have missed it but did anyone mention Green River thru Mammoth Cave NP??  Some great hiking in the back side and not so bad views right down
from the lodge.
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.....and your little dog TOTO too!
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ShifuCareaga

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Re: Other Gorges in KY
« Reply #8 on: November 30, 2015, 08:47:55 AM »

that is a very pretty little gorge. The blue holler link above is not far from there, either. I do plan to enjoy those areas a lot more in the future.

I'm just thinking of how many more hidden waterfalls (especially in spring and winter) there must be throughout KY...
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Mark W

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Re: Other Gorges in KY
« Reply #9 on: November 30, 2015, 01:53:45 PM »

Oh wow, thanks for posting that!!

So I went out to Bolthouse Ridge and Stepping Rock Ridge and what I am thinking is named Pounder Branch Gorge - if it has a name.

First of all, Bolthouse Ridge is great to visit for 3 reasons. 1) it is fully paved to the overlook, and if you have 4x4, you can take the gravel road down into the gorge. Not many people out there, and beleive it or not, it was fairly clean
2) There is a little waterfall on the drive in, keep your eyes to the right. It's about a 30' falls, totally unexpected. I also think there are going to be a lot of unexpected gems when I get down into that gorge on foot. IT's HUGE
3) the cliffs are spectacular drops, in many cases near to Red River gorge heights. We parked at the end of the paved section and offtrail hiked to the end of Bolthouse Ridge, and sat on the rocky outcroppings. Very plush forest floor, and definitely best to do now while vegetation is less, and with jeans on. But the view was ... gorgeous... see attached.

Stepping Rock Ridge: first let me say you will absolutely need either to backpack or 4x4/offroad or a horse to get back in there. The road is in terrible condition. But the Stepping Rock was an interesting formation AND a convenient way for, say a mountain biker, to get into the gorge and have a lot of fun.
Just FYI when you turn onto Stepping Rock Ridge Rd, you only go about 100 yards and then on teh left there is a FADED sign says "530" on it and what appears to be a driveway, but actually a DBNF road that runs between the trailer and the barn to the right. You follow that back... way back... and at the end is the rock formations.

These are two things I highly recommend to visit and I will be going back as I am convinced there are hidden falls in this gorge system and the nearby other 2 systems, based on finding one just off the side of the Bolthouse Ridge Rd.

Awesome you got out that way exploring. . . I always wanted to explore over there but was so enamored with the Van Hook Falls/Cane Creek/Pounder Branch area that I spent most of my time there. It's a special place, for sure.

I pored over the Ano quad map for hours and remember being intrigued by Stepping Rock Ridge and Bolthouse Ridge.

The Pounder Branch Gorge is in Pounder Branch along the Sheltowee Trace headed towards Cane Creek; doesn't sound like that's where you were exploring but it is one of my favorite places in the world and well worth the effort to explore.

There is a lifetime of hidden waterfalls and scattered gems in Kentucky, which made it a hard state to leave in certain regards. Also many nice arches waiting to be stumbled upon . . maybe not huge spans, but remarkable features nonetheless.

One area I REALLY wanted to explore and even had some rough-outline-routes sketched out was south of Cumberland Falls State Resort Park in the Buzzard Creek drainage. I rode out some of those forest roads once and the views into the drainages were knock-your-socks off stunning. A few small arches were near the road as well and no telling what is down in the hollers . . . arches, rock shelters, waterfalls . . . you should get down there and get some pictures!

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ShifuCareaga

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Re: Other Gorges in KY
« Reply #10 on: November 30, 2015, 04:24:11 PM »

Oh wow, thanks for posting that!!

So I went out to Bolthouse Ridge and Stepping Rock Ridge and what I am thinking is named Pounder Branch Gorge - if it has a name.

First of all, Bolthouse Ridge is great to visit for 3 reasons. 1) it is fully paved to the overlook, and if you have 4x4, you can take the gravel road down into the gorge. Not many people out there, and beleive it or not, it was fairly clean
2) There is a little waterfall on the drive in, keep your eyes to the right. It's about a 30' falls, totally unexpected. I also think there are going to be a lot of unexpected gems when I get down into that gorge on foot. IT's HUGE
3) the cliffs are spectacular drops, in many cases near to Red River gorge heights. We parked at the end of the paved section and offtrail hiked to the end of Bolthouse Ridge, and sat on the rocky outcroppings. Very plush forest floor, and definitely best to do now while vegetation is less, and with jeans on. But the view was ... gorgeous... see attached.

Stepping Rock Ridge: first let me say you will absolutely need either to backpack or 4x4/offroad or a horse to get back in there. The road is in terrible condition. But the Stepping Rock was an interesting formation AND a convenient way for, say a mountain biker, to get into the gorge and have a lot of fun.
Just FYI when you turn onto Stepping Rock Ridge Rd, you only go about 100 yards and then on teh left there is a FADED sign says "530" on it and what appears to be a driveway, but actually a DBNF road that runs between the trailer and the barn to the right. You follow that back... way back... and at the end is the rock formations.

These are two things I highly recommend to visit and I will be going back as I am convinced there are hidden falls in this gorge system and the nearby other 2 systems, based on finding one just off the side of the Bolthouse Ridge Rd.

Awesome you got out that way exploring. . . I always wanted to explore over there but was so enamored with the Van Hook Falls/Cane Creek/Pounder Branch area that I spent most of my time there. It's a special place, for sure.

I pored over the Ano quad map for hours and remember being intrigued by Stepping Rock Ridge and Bolthouse Ridge.

The Pounder Branch Gorge is in Pounder Branch along the Sheltowee Trace headed towards Cane Creek; doesn't sound like that's where you were exploring but it is one of my favorite places in the world and well worth the effort to explore.

There is a lifetime of hidden waterfalls and scattered gems in Kentucky, which made it a hard state to leave in certain regards. Also many nice arches waiting to be stumbled upon . . maybe not huge spans, but remarkable features nonetheless.

One area I REALLY wanted to explore and even had some rough-outline-routes sketched out was south of Cumberland Falls State Resort Park in the Buzzard Creek drainage. I rode out some of those forest roads once and the views into the drainages were knock-your-socks off stunning. A few small arches were near the road as well and no telling what is down in the hollers . . . arches, rock shelters, waterfalls . . . you should get down there and get some pictures!

I agree, that sounds really pretty damn awesome. My goal is to get as much known and protected as possible...
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ShifuCareaga

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Re: Other Gorges in KY
« Reply #11 on: November 30, 2015, 04:32:42 PM »

ah ok, you're talking about down near Thunderstruck Shoals and the Steps... yeah yeah that area is really mysterious, I have no doubt it is chalked full of riches and gems.

I need a JEEP!
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Mark W

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Re: Other Gorges in KY
« Reply #12 on: November 30, 2015, 05:19:07 PM »

ah ok, you're talking about down near Thunderstruck Shoals and the Steps... yeah yeah that area is really mysterious, I have no doubt it is chalked full of riches and gems.

I need a JEEP!

EXACTLY!

"The Steps" . . . man, did that name intrigue me. That area would be so fun to spend a few nights in . . . one of my trip ideas was to have Sheltowee Trace Outfitters drop me off there, and then I'd spend four nights hiking back to the road leading to Cumberland Falls State Resort Park and try to get a ride back to the park or walk back to my car, I even thought about stashing a bike. Never ended up pursuing it though, too much else to explore.

Whole other conversation, but it's interesting to speculate on the best way to protect these amazing features and document them without making them "destinations", if that makes sense.
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RCKT_RCCN

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Re: Other Gorges in KY
« Reply #13 on: December 02, 2015, 07:57:03 AM »

I just love this conversation! Thanks to Mark W and Shifu for pulling back the veil on a few spots I've never heard of before. So many wonderful treasures in our state, you could spend an entire life exploring and never see it all.

Perhaps this question will lead to the creation of a new thread, per Mark's last comment, but I am curious: Shifu, how do you go about discovering and working toward protection of our natural treasures?
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ShifuCareaga

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Re: Other Gorges in KY
« Reply #14 on: December 02, 2015, 08:32:04 AM »

I just love this conversation! Thanks to Mark W and Shifu for pulling back the veil on a few spots I've never heard of before. So many wonderful treasures in our state, you could spend an entire life exploring and never see it all.

Perhaps this question will lead to the creation of a new thread, per Mark's last comment, but I am curious: Shifu, how do you go about discovering and working toward protection of our natural treasures?

I have a 3 part strategy.
First... I find and visit, catalog/rate the locations based upon a simple 100 point data. full 20 points have to do with preservation, and another 10 or 20 have to do with funding. I've rated about 300 places so far, not all natural locations, and the data clearly shows why we have tourism issues in KY... while being a very affordable and family friendly state, we score too low in revisitability, preservation, historical data, and maintenance.

Second ... by utilizing this data I intend to leverage the point in the state government, when the time is right. ALSO I have a theory that proper level of preservation is diversity. IF more people go to a place, by a small but important degree, and there is funding, the state will have to ensure protection, safety, and security of a location. IF EVERYONE goes to the same locations, it harms the locations, and also that's all that is protected. Example: Natural Bridge SP. Overtime the generations forget what is there, and the government is justified in closing things (like caves) and not protecting things (like waterfalls and arches). Meanwhile, kids get more ignorant, and people more fat, and Red River Gorge more and more worn out (literally loved to death).

Third... by increasing tourism from out of state over a diverse region and locations... example: say I got funding to fix the mill at Falls of the Rough, then it became a SHS, then people visited it... or another example, people going to our other Shaker village rather thank only Pleasant Hill... by increasing these we a) increase funding and taxable dollars, b) enhance local economy and encourage entrepreneurship and stewardship (example: cleanup of Jackson county as people go to visit the waterfalls, and the getting rid of runoff sources and broke down cars), and c) increase education. Currently there are only a few pockets of education, mostly in already affluent areas. Think Bernheim (louisville) and Parklands (Shelbyville), and Raven's Run/Floracliff (Lexington)... meanwhile educational opportunities that exist (like Blanton) are missed/forgotten and ones which should exist are not explored.

When an area is only known by locals it is endangered by ATV riders (Forever Wild Offroad) and graffiti (Lakiji Rock), as there is no regulatory oversight. But if people like us go out there, picking up trash, watching over places, reporting abuses... there is at least some kind of hope.

That's my theory anyways... we've tried the other ways and they just keep slashing funding, so at least it is something.
Here's the latest graph on my data. KY scores about 84% overall, with mostly over 90, but an appalling group below 60%. 84% in my system is B, Bronze.
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1u9PZKDSlesetrKtkWLo5lVK2gl-kZVaA4lKm0V5F9zI/pubchart?oid=1657128486&format=interactive
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1u9PZKDSlesetrKtkWLo5lVK2gl-kZVaA4lKm0V5F9zI/pubchart?oid=1088734492&format=interactive
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