Blue Heron Loop
The Blue Heron Loop combines history, geology and scenery in one moderate 6.5 mile hike. The hiker can get a glimpse of what life was like in a company owned coal mining camp by visiting the Blue Heron Mining Camp and its extensive exhibits. The opening to old coal mines may still be seen. Part of the trail actually follows an old mining tram road. The trail also climbs to the gorge rim where it passes by two spectacular overlooks. The trail goes through a natural opening the cliff known as “Cracks in the rocks”.
Yahoo Falls Loop
The Yahoo Falls trail provides access to and allows good views of 113 foot Yahoo Falls. The trail is easy with the exception of some very steep metal steps. The trail actually passes behind the falls under one of the largest rock shelters in the area. As with most waterfalls in the region, water volume is significantly reduced during periods of dryer weather. The loop is one mile in length.
Split Bow Arch
Split Bow Arch is one of the most accessible arches in Big South Fork. A quick view from an overlook is only one hundred feet from a small parking area. However, to go to the bottom of the arch a short hike of .64 miles can be taken from the Bear Creek Overlook trailhead. The hike is easy and the 1.28 mile round trip only takes a few minutes.
Bear Creek Overlook
Bear Creek overlook is arguably one of the prettiest views of the Big South Fork River anywhere. An easy walk of one fourth of a mile takes you to one of the longest views along the river gorge. The area visible to the south from this overlook is one of the most remote sections of the Big South Fork River.
This overlook is named for the abundance of Catawba rhododendron found here. The1.6 mile (one way) hike begins at the Blue Heron Mining Camp on the west end of the tipple bridge. It follows the old mining tram way once used to haul coal from the mines to the coal tipple for sorting and loading. The trail has one moderately steep uphill section before reaching the overlook. This trail is part of the long distance Kentucky trail.