The Red River Gorge might offer some of the best outdoor opportunities, but there’s also something for your belly
A quick jaunt to the Red River Gorge area, only about an hour away, for a day trip or a weekend camping getaway is a popular recreational pursuit for people in Lexington. The vast canyon system, with its sandstone cliffs and ridges, makes the area inside the Daniel Boone National Forest a renowned destination for rock climbers, and for those taken with thrill seeking, there’s over 600 miles of hiking trails of varying difficulty – just about all of them offer some sort of striking vista along the way. (And even still, if hiking is too much, there’s always the Sky Lift at the Natural Bridge State Park which can cart you to your airy destination.)
And there’s also the food.
Along the side roads off of the Mountain Parkway, a number of restaurants and diners, from greasy spoons to eclectic organic cafes, have become almost as popular of destinations as their surrounding outdoor environs. Notoriously managed and staffed by laid-back climbers trying to make a buck in between their time on the face of a cliff, these “off the side of the road” establishments are personable, and satiating, pit stops after a day’s hike.
The fall, when the cooler weather starts to paint the gorge in vibrant hues of red and orange, is one of the busiest times for the area. If you find yourself in the Red River Gorge, be sure to stop by one of these spots for a bite to eat, it’s almost certain that your server or cook can give you and your company some insider tips on the best places to take in the changing leaf colors.
Red River Rockhouse4000 Rt. 11 Campton, Ky. www.redriverrockhouse.com 3 – 9 p.m. Mon., Thurs. – Fri. 8:30 a.m. – 10 p.m. Sat. 8:30 a.m. – 9 p.m. Sun. Closed Tues. – Wed.
The Rockhouse is one of the newest additions to the assortment of restaurants along Route 11; it celebrated its two-year anniversary in September.
The clean, uncluttered, almost modern, aesthetic inside differentiates this restaurant from other eateries in the area, and so does the food.
With an emphasis on organic and healthy meats and produce, chef and co-owner (and avid climber) Aaron Brouwer puts a gourmet spin on hamburgers, burritos and “porktato pancakes” (look up the description on their online menu).