How hard do you Adventure?
My goal is to make sure that everyone that attends Red River Scramble has a good time. One of my worst fears is putting riders on trails that are above their skill or interest level. If you take a look at the “Adventure Map” linked above, you’ll find that I’ve “rated” the local trails based on skill level. These difficulty levels are based on the obstacles riders will find on a given trail (i.e. mud, deep gravel, rock ledges, and water hazards). Before choosing a route it’s recommended that you take a peek at the “How to Measure Adventure Riding Skills” page.
Daniel Boone Backcountry Byway (DBBB)
For folks familiar with sights of Rosie the Scrambler in the Kentucky backwoods, most of these photos were taken on the DBBB. About a hundred miles in length, the DBBB offers challenges for (virtually) all off-road skill levels. To address any concerns about difficulty, I have created 2 separate routes to ride the DBBB; labeled as “DBBB Advanced Loop“, “DBBB Intermediate Loop“, and finally “DBBB Full Loop” in the GPX library. For more information on the DBBB, see my full write-up Here.
DBNF Forest Service Roads
For first-time off-road riders, especially those looking for the ultimate scenic experience, I’ve put together a route that includes all of the gravel forest service roads inside Red River Gorge. These forest service roads primarily provide access to the various hiking trails throughout the gorge, but the gravel is typically in immaculate condition and offers a well-manicured surface for novice adventure riders to get a taste of the unpaved backcountry. At the same time, most of these forest service roads are dead-end trails, so the route will take you to the end of the trail and doubles back to the tarmac to form a loop that eventually drops you off in Slade. Highlights of this loop include Chimney Top Rock, Half Moon Rock, and Skybridge; some of the must-see destinations in the gorge for non-hikers.
Novice Adventure Loop
For novice or casual adventure riders looking for something a little more challenging than the gravel inside the gorge, I’ve put together a hundred-mile loop around Slade and Beattyville that includes narrow rural pavement and several unpaved county roads. This loop contains some of the easier sections of the DBBB, and other well-maintained gravel, offering novice adventure riders a chance to get further out on the backroads without having to be concerned with the challenges of more technical riding.
Intermediate Adventure Loop
If you’re looking to test your skills a little more than gravel and forest service roads, the Intermediate Adventure Loop will take you on a similar loop to the Novice ADV route, but with that addition of “intermediate” level roads in lieu or in addition to the better novice options.
The Kentucky Adventure Tour
While attendees will unquestionably not complete the entire ride in a weekend, off-road and adventure enthusiasts should still check out the entirety of Kentucky Adventure Tour (KAT). The KAT is a 1,000-mile dual-sport route around eastern Kentucky including parts of Virginia, West Virginia, and Tennessee. The DBBB and the KAT overlap for a short section in the north, but the KAT has the previously mentioned “bonus” (hard) sections that are easily within range of the Red River Gorge area. If folks have the vacation time, this weekend is as good a time as any to start out in Slade and tackle the KAT the following week. At a minimum, off-roaders should download the KAT GPS tracks from Facebook so they have access to the hard sections (or download GPX text file HERE).