Red River Gorge Backpacking Workshop

Red River Gorge, Kentucky
Backpacking, Hiking
10 Explorer Chicks
2 Days


Read HERE for info on 2023 Dates.


This Red River Gorge Backpacking Workshop is a hands-on, fully immersive experience in the great outdoors. Over one weekend — Saturday to Sunday – join other women and learn how to backpack in beautiful Red River Gorge, Kentucky.

Yes, your dreams of hiking to a faraway, remote land to spend a few days camping and living in the wild surrounded by mountains can come true! We want you to be able to backpack freely in the wild at your every whim armed with the skills, knowledge, and experience to do so! So welcome to your weekend classroom: the Red River Gorge Geological Area.

Learn How to Pack, Cook, Set Up Camp, Filter Water and More

AKA: This is ain’t no free class at your local outfitter. This is REAL backpacking with you doing all the things: packing, hiking with a full pack, cooking, setting up camp, hanging a bear bag, filtering water, asking a million questions, and if you’re real lucky pooping in the woods 💩—with a supportive group of women and one of our expert guides. That means when you inevitably mess up, no need to feel embarrassed. When you question if you’re doing something correctly, your guide can help you. Let’s learn together in the outdoors, so when it’s time for your big adventure you’ll already have legit, backcountry experience.

Red River Gorge Hiking Trails

It all goes down in beautiful Eastern Kentucky. With the Red River Gorge hiking trails leading to an abundance of natural bridges, sandstone cliffs, rock shelters, and sandstone arches, we couldn’t think of a more beautiful location to teach you how to backpack in the wilderness.

Backpacking and Camping Gear Provided

The best part? We’ll lend you the essential gear to get started! Every Explorer Chick will be provided with a:

  • backpack
  • sleeping bag
  • sleeping pad
  • shared two-person tent
  • shared cooking equipment
  • water filtration

Yep! Give backpacking and camping a try before investing hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars into it. Try out our gear to learn what features you like and dislike. Ask your guide about other brands. Seriously, this weekend is all about learning while connecting to other adventurous, rad women!

  • Explorer Chick lends you the Essential Gear:
    • Shared 2 person tent (Everyone will share a tent with one other person)
    • Backpack
    • Sleeping Bag
    • Sleeping Pad
  • Camp Meals:
    • Saturday: Lunch, Dinner
    • Sunday: Breakfast, Lunch
  • Workshop Closing Lunch on Sunday at a Red River Gorge Local Eatery
  • Hands-on, guided experience from an Explorer Chick expert. You’ll learn everything from correctly packing your backpack, hanging a bear bag, setting up camp, backcountry cooking, Leave No Trace, and much more.
  • Explorer Chick Backpacking Digital Field Guide. Digital Field Guide will be emailed to you containing all of the material covered in the workshop
  • Commercial permits and 1 Day Pass fees for Daniel Boone National Forest
  • Shared Items: Tents, Camp Stove, First Aid Kit, etc
  • A detailed Travel Guide upon booking with everything you need to know for your trip
  • A commemorative Explorer Chick shirt
  • Small Group experience! Your Explorer Chick Adventure is exclusive and limited to 10 women

*You will receive a mandatory packing list when you book your workshop which will include personal clothing, trail shoes, a headlamp, rain gear, and more.

*Packages do NOT include your airfare, airport transportation, transportation to the Red River Gorge, alcoholic beverages, Explorer Chick Leader tips, or costs for additional activities.

*Does NOT include your Explorer Chick Guide’s Tips – Tipping your Explorer Chick Guide is optional, but customary. If you wish to recognize your Explorer Chick Guide for exceptional service we recommend you tip total 10-25% of your trip costs.

*Explorer Chick reserves the option to modify trip itineraries at the discretion of your tour director as necessary due to weather, conditions, illness, injury, group dynamics, or other unforeseen incidents.

Located on the Daniel Boone National Forest under the special use permit from the Forest Service, USDA.

Backpacking differs greatly from casual day hiking and trail running in local parks. We want all Explorer Chicks to enjoy their backpacking experience which is why we find it crucial to set realistic expectations for this workshop.

Hiking Red River Gorge Trails

We will hike a loop that is just over 7 miles round trip with our backpacks (approx 25lbs.) setting up camp approximately 4 miles into our hike. What makes the Red River Gorge absolutely breathtaking also makes it’s trails steep and strenuous at times. It is a gorge after all! You will be hiking some steep sections with a backpack.

The hike up to our campsite will include a short, low exposure, very beginner level “rock scramble”. Rock scrambling is a method of ascending rocky faces and ridges. It’s not rock climbing, but it’s not walking either!

Expect to carry approximately 25 pounds on your back. You will be responsible for carrying your own pack, assigned gear, and necessities.

Just as you would a marathon, you must train for your adventure! You should be comfortable hiking up to 7 miles carrying additional weight, with elevation gains of up to 1500 ft. You should train on rough terrain- no sidewalks here! Find steps, a hill, or the Stairmaster, and get to climbing- your quads, booty, and calves will thank you!

Train your tootsies! Do not show up with brand new hiking boots or trail shoes. You should be spending time in your boots leading up to your adventure to break them in. Better to suffer blisters at home than to miss out on a hike due to painful hot spots on your feet. This is our number one injury. Do not let it happen to you!

When planning the route, we take into consideration the variety of skill and abilities of the women joining us on the adventure allowing ample time to reach camp and to instruct. Keep in mind we will hike together as a group. The pace of the trip will vary based on the group’s overall abilities. (ie. Some may find the trail/pace too slow while others find it challenging. Always support your Explorer Chick sisters!)

Please consider the physical demands carefully as it is for the safety and enjoyment of the group. All Explorer Chicks will be required to sign an Acknowledgement of Physical Demands as part of their waiver upon booking.

Related Reads

Red River Gorge Backpacking: Everything You Need to Know

Explorer Chicks are responsible for their own transportation to/from the Red River Gorge. Depending on your location, you may get to drive through the historic Nada Tunnel to get there!

Plan to arrive at the designated Trail Head early Saturday morning and depart the Red River Gorge late afternoon Sunday. You will receive the trail head location and directions in your Travel Guide upon booking.

You will be responsible for traveling from the Trail Head to the Optional day hike and closing lunch on Sunday. Both are located in the Red River Gorge vicinity.

There are several hotels in the area for an overnight stay in Red River Gorge. If you are flying, Lexington is the closest airport with an approximate 1 hour drive to the Red River Gorge.

You will receive a travel guide attached to your booking confirmation with all the information you’ll need to prepare for your epic trip!

Still not convinced that THIS is the adventure for you?

We’ve rounded up some of our most popular blog posts, so you can get to know us a bit better and learn what really goes down on your Explorer Chick Adventure.

You can always reach us by email with more questions!

To protect your travel investment and your hide, we highly recommend purchasing travel insurance. World Nomads is our trusted travel insurance provider. Receive an no-hassle, online quote in less than 2 minutes.

Questions? We love them! Check out our FAQ’s page first. You’ll probably find your answer there.

You can also send us an email.

Trip Price:

2022: $399

Save $20 with Early Bird Pricing!

See our Discount page for Codes and Expirations!

Non-Refundable Deposit: $100 due at booking to secure your spot

Payment Plans Available: Email after booking to set up your monthly payment plan.

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