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Daniel Boone National Forest Considers Implementing Fees and Price Adjustments for Red River Gorge Trails and Camping


The Daniel Boone National Forest, encompassing a vast expanse of natural beauty in eastern Kentucky, is contemplating the introduction of entrance fees for the renowned Red River Gorge trails and price modifications for camping within the forest. This move, aimed at addressing infrastructure maintenance and enhancements, is currently under evaluation and subject to public input.

Rationale Behind the Proposed Fees and Adjustments

The Daniel Boone National Forest has experienced a surge in visitation in recent years, exceeding 1 million visitors annually. This increased foot traffic has led to a strain on the trails and camping facilities, resulting in the need for substantial investments in upkeep and improvements.

The proposed fees and price adjustments are intended to generate additional revenue to supplement the existing funding sources for the forest. These funds would be primarily allocated towards maintaining and enhancing the trails, amenities, and visitor services within the Red River Gorge area.

Fees for Red River Gorge Trails

The proposed entrance fees for Red River Gorge trails would apply to both day-use and overnight visitors. The daily fee would be $10 per person, while overnight visitors would be charged an additional $5 per person, per night. The fees would be collected through a self-registration system at designated trailheads.

The implementation of these fees would align with similar practices at other popular outdoor destinations, ensuring that users contribute equitably to the maintenance and preservation of the trails they enjoy.

Camping Price Adjustments

In addition to the entrance fees for Red River Gorge trails, the Daniel Boone National Forest is also considering price adjustments for camping within the forest. The new rates would be as follows:

  • Primitive Campsites: $10 per night
  • Developed Campsites: $20 per night
  • Group Campsites: $75 per night

These adjusted prices reflect the increased demand for camping facilities and the need to cover the costs associated with maintaining and operating these sites.

Exemptions and Discounts

Certain categories of visitors would be exempt from the proposed fees and price adjustments, including:

  • Individuals under the age of 16
  • Active military and veterans
  • Individuals with disabilities and their caregivers

Additionally, discounts would be offered for senior citizens, holders of the America the Beautiful Pass, and groups booking campsites in advance.

Public Input and Final Decision

The Daniel Boone National Forest is committed to gathering public input before making any final decisions. A 60-day public comment period will be open from June 1, 2024, to July 31, 2024. During this time, members of the public are encouraged to provide their feedback and suggestions regarding the proposed fees and adjustments.

The final decision regarding the implementation of fees and price adjustments will be made after careful consideration of all public input. The Forest Service will announce its decision and provide further details on the fee structure and implementation timeline once the public comment period has concluded.

Impact on Visitors

The potential implementation of fees and price adjustments may have an impact on visitors to the Daniel Boone National Forest. Day-use visitors to Red River Gorge trails would face an additional expense of $10 per day, while overnight visitors would pay an additional $15 per night. Similarly, campers would experience an increase in the cost of their camping reservations.

It is important to note that these proposed fees and adjustments are intended to ensure the long-term sustainability of the Red River Gorge trails and camping facilities. The funds generated would be reinvested into maintaining and enhancing these valuable natural assets, ultimately benefiting all visitors.


The Daniel Boone National Forest's proposal to implement fees for Red River Gorge trails and adjust camping prices is a prudent step towards preserving and enhancing the forest's natural beauty for future generations. The proposed measures, subject to public input and final decision, aim to ensure that the trails and camping facilities remain accessible, safe, and enjoyable for all who visit.

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