Monday, March 28, 2011

Koomer Ridge Campground, Red River Gorge, Kentucky

Site #54
Let me start off by saying, Koomer Ridge Campground carries a lot of memories for me. I love this place and I know that staying at Koomer Ridge means good times in the Gorge are coming! Koomer Ridge Campground, for me, is synonymous with fun and adventure. Both times I've been to this campground have been in early spring, thus off-season. Keep in mind that what I have to say is from this perspective and things may be different during the summer when campground activities are in full swing.

Fire Pit
Slade, Kentucky, is a fun little town. There is a Shell station, a Marathon, a couple of tourist shops, rest area, and Subway from what I can recall off the top of my head. While you're in town, stop by the Marathon and pick up some Ale8, a locally brewed soda somewhere between ginger ale and sprite on the flavor spectrum yet significantly more delicious than either. Campton Road, 15, heading east out of Slade will take you to Koomer Ridge Campground. Be careful, though, as the twisties quickly turn into blind hairpin turns. You'll know what I'm talking about when you get there, about a mile out. It's a truly beautiful area where rhododendrons droop lazily over the road from sandstone rock outcroppings that sheer vertically from the side of the road.

When you finally arrive at Koomer Ridge Campground (ten minutes, six miles) you'll find a self registration station which will set you back $7 per night. The parks service has (as of Mar 2011) posted a notice of rate increase so expect to see this price rise in the near future. There are, as far as I can tell, only two sites with electrical access and those are sites #5 and #16 marked as Volunteer and Host sites, respectively so don't expect electrical service.

Site #54 has a beautiful location, across a short wooden bridge and down a small hill you'll find the camp pad for this site is tucked away a little from the other campsites and includes a beautiful wild Chive patch for your camp cooking. The manual-pump well is located close by and if you're not daunted by a little walk and pumping your own water, I'd recommend site #54.

Site #54 in the morning
The bathrooms are open-pit style outhouses with just a toilet and paper. No sink or running water. There is running water at select locations so pick your site carefully. On the off season you can sneak into site #5 which is right next to running water, and the bathroom. Very good site, but don't expect to use the electrical service as the box is locked during the offseason. There are bear-proof trashcans located quite frequently around the park.

You'll find fire pits in each camp site. Each site also has a wood-lined gravel tent area and at least one post with pegs to hang your clothes or other odds-n-ends for drying. Each fire pit has a fold-in grate for holding cast iron cooking ware. You'll also find picnic tables at each site, burly lumber tables made from 4"x6" slabs that look like they were stolen from a train track. These tables are solid and well made.

From Koomer Ridge Campground you'll find the Koomer Ridge Trail, Hidden Arch Trail, and Silvermine Arch Trail. The Hidden Arch Trail leads to... Hidden Arch *GASP*. This is a short hike, but even so, is not worth your time. Instead I suggest you go visit Gray's Arch, or any of the other numerous beautiful sandstone attractions in the Red River Gorge. I can't vouch for the other two trails out of the campground.
Gray's Arch Time Lapse

In conclusion, the Koomer Ridge Campground receives a B review from The Adventure Lifestyle Blog. Not having enough sites with electrical access makes it difficult for me to keep my camera gear charged while I'm out there. Without cameras, I can't bring back great review to my readers. The restrooms aren't anything special, nor are they overly dirty by park standards. I think you'll find your time here enjoyable and ultimately worth your $7 for the night. You can see the Forest Service's information and site map of Koomer Ridge Campground here.

Google Map: From Slade, KY to Koomer Ridge Campground


  1. Just FYI, they do have very nice bathroom and shower facilities with running water near the center of the camp aside from several outhouse style restrooms.


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