This one requires THREE different videos, y’all. It is a doozy, but one of the most magnificent trails in the Red! This one requires EXPOSED rock scrambling. There is nothing to correct a fall on the “staircase” portion of this trail. I’m not trying to scare anyone off from hiking this, but I also want everyone to be prepared for this one, because it is one of the more extreme unofficial trails of the Red. With that being said, if you approach the staircase and don’t think it’s for you, there’s no shame in turning back! For these reasons, it is my opinion that this is not the trail for kids or dogs.
Anyway, assuming you do the staircase and complete the trail as seen in the videos below, you are in for a serious treat! The canyon rim is incredible and there is so much to explore and see. Don’t miss Shawnee Arch (not shown in video, but is located along the rim at the top of the staircase), Frogs Head (pictured), and the Council Chamber (a huge rock shelter as you traverse around the edge of the rim to connect back to the Sheltowee Trace! I’ve also included the side trail to Adena Arch (you should totally hike this if you’re already in the area), and the way back to complete the loop, passing by Indian Arch (one of my favorite “colored” rock walls is through and to the left of this arch!
You start this loop hike by parking at the Bison Way Trailhead (before the bridge over where Gladie Creek flows into the Red River before turning right into the Gladie Visitor Center…if you are coming from the Nada Tunnel side of Route 715). The entire loop with the added extension out to Adena Arch is roughly 4.5 miles.
Have fun, & be prepared and safe!
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