50 Wilderness Sites Across America
A rock climber in Clifty Wilderness (Ryan Creary)
Hiking the trails in Red River Gorge (Courtesy of Flickr user code poet)
Princess Arch in Red River Gorge (© David Muench/Corbis)
Creation Falls, Clifty Wilderness (Courtesy of Karen Roussel via Flickr)
Solidago albopilosa, one of the rare species found in Clifty Wilderness (Courtesy of Dr. Thomas G. Barnes via Wikimedia Commons)

Clifty Wilderness

Hemlock thickets, sandstone arches and scenic river vistas

smithsonian.com

Location: Kentucky
Size: 13,379 acres
Year Designated: 1985
Fast Fact: The Clifty Wilderness Area contains at least 15 species of sensitive, rare or endangered plants.

The Clifty Wilderness Area is located within the Red River Gorge Geological Area, a uniquely rugged, isolated area within Kentucky. Because of its unique geology—featuring hundreds of miles of cliff lines with rock shelters and rock arches—the Clifty Wilderness supports an unusually diverse cast of flora, including over 750 distinct species of flowers, 170 species of mosses, and 15 species of particularly sensitive, rare or endangered plants, including the whitehaired golden rod, which only grows in rock shelters in the Red River Gorge.

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