Author – Hunter Dycus

Just a few minutes away from all the area’s famous attractions lies a fantastic 300+ acre property. No joke, this place is only 10 minutes from Nada Tunnel! In the thick of it yet hidden away, ‘Birch Hollow’ currently houses 10 of our wonderful cabins. Here you can find babbling brooks, rocky ridgelines, towering trees, whispering waterfalls and so much more. Nearly everything one could hope to find while exploring many of the areas famous trails can be found right here on this private property. Birch Hollow’s winding road will take you from the bottom of the holler, by ‘Brookside’, up to the soaring cliffs, near ‘Wine Cellar’. Spotted with individual cabins in between, you are sure to find the perfect match for you!

On your way to the top, you will run into ‘Mountain Spirit’ – which my wife and I had such a pleasant time staying in. Upon pulling up the driveway we were met with a deck overlooking the beauty around us and a stairway leading to the cabin itself. As we made our way up the stairs, we noticed the hot, bubbly hot tub already to temperature waiting for our arrival. You better believe we took the time to enjoy the hot tub, pure bliss, and it’s under a covered porch! Standing on the deck and looking out, it is obvious why this cabin was built in this location. It has an amazing overlook of Birch Hollow and the surrounding area. Even though you are surrounded by forest on all sides, you’re still high enough to see over the trees and gain sight of the mountains embracing the sky – one of the many reasons why people from around the world flock to the Red River Gorge Geological Area here in Kentucky.

Reaching the interior of the cabin, we found a gorgeously rustic, Native American themed cabin. This cabin is generously appointed with everything needed to have a fantastic time in Red River Gorge – a fully equipped kitchen, washer/dryer combo, two bathrooms (we’ve all had to wait for our significant other to take their time getting ready!), fireplace and a massive window-wall connected to the ½ wraparound porch. Throughout the home we found dream catchers, busts, pottery, and photos – all honoring this amazing land’s beautiful, native people. This area has historically shown obvious markings of Native Americans, and possibly even older civilizations. From rock houses/caves, carvings, leathers, arrowheads and more, it’s apparent that many different types of people have loved and cared for the Red River Gorge Geological Area long before we came along. Relaxing on the edge of a mountain in a cabin honoring these peoples really helps put into perspective the affect that this area has had on so many.

Our favorite part of Mountain Spirit had to be the fact that it’s pet friendly. True to her name, as she is our little shotgun of fun, our wonderful pup, Benelli (aka Spicy Chicken Nugget), had such a blast exploring this new home and everything the area has to offer. One of our favorite family past-times is going hiking and letting Benelli pose for pictures in different holes, caves, crevices, tree branches, stairwells…the list goes on and she is so photogenic! Needless to say, the next thing on our ‘To-Do List’ had to be exploring the 300+ acres that the owners of Birch Hollow kindly offer to all renters.

Just behind the cabin, not even 20 feet into the woods we found this massive boulder with an overhang that would clearly be a wonderful shelter for wildlife during inclement weather. I’m kind of hoping that our next trip here involves a bit of rough weather so I can see if anything is taking advantage of this ideal shelter. Continuing through the woods, we ran into a downed tree that was absolutely covered in mushrooms. Who doesn’t love fungi? A bit further in we found an amazing rock-face with a sheer vertical leading to a quite-high cliff. By no means are we rock-climbers, but we certainly found ourselves setting up Benelli for a pose and attempting to take a family picture.

As prepared as we try to be, we certainly weren’t ready to prop a cellphone against a stick and try to take a family photo. Friendly tip – keep some rocks in your hand or pocket to throw towards the camera to have your dog look in the right direction. Between running back and forth to see if the picture was good enough and shouting ‘Smile!’ at the top of our lungs to have the phone take a picture, I’m shocked that I wasn’t drenched in sweat.  This task obviously became daunting quickly. Someone’s eyes were closed, the phone would fall from it’s wonderful stick prop, Benelli was looking the wrong direction (probably because my rock throwing is subpar)…so many things went wrong here. Brennah laughed as I ran back and forth and tried to grab Benelli’s attention. All I wanted to do was cry!

Aside from the torturous family-photo, we truly had a spectacular time at Mountain Spirit. Birch Hollow has so much to offer, it’s impossible to experience it all in just a few days. Between a fully loaded cabin and 300+ acres to explore, marked trails included – there is no reason to even leave the property! I think we’ll make a stop down the holler at ‘Sundance’ next time!

Do you know the name of the mushroom on the downed tree? Let us know in the comments below!