This loop offers beautiful views of what is locally known as the "Pinch-Em-Tight Ridge". Visitors will get a brief taste of the Pinch-em Tight Trail #223
, the Rough Trail #221
, a portion of the Sheltowee Trace Trail, and will finish back on the Rush Ridge Trail #227
. The loop features one tough climb on the Rough Trail #221
to get back on the ridge, but aside from that, it's generally smooth ascents and descents in the forest.
Features: Fall Colors — River/Creek — Wildflowers
From Tunnel Ridge Road, watch for the trailhead sign and the white turtle blazes of the Sheltowee Trace, which overlaps with the Pinch-em Tight Trail #223
. From the portion of the Sheltowee Trace NRT, you'll eventually come to an intersection. Stay to the right, and you'll make your way onto the Rush Ridge Trail #227
You'll follow along the ridge, enjoying the regrowth of the tree canopy and some views of the Red River Gorge. The Buck Trail #226
will intersect with the Pinch-em Tight Trail #223
around 1.3 miles, so stay to the left, following the signs to the aptly named Rough Trail #221
. The Pinch-em Tight Trail #223
will then descend to the Rough Trail #221
, and you'll turn left onto the Rough Trail #221
From there, you'll cross the Rush Branch creek a couple of times before climbing up to meet the Rush Ridge Trail #227
. Do not underestimate this climb, it's pretty serious and reminds you of how the Rough Trail #221
got its name.
Catch your breath, then transverse the ridge on Rush Ridge Trail #227
until it connects back with Pinch-em Tight Trail #223
and the return to Tunnel Ridge Road.