Author – Leah Guggenmos
If you’ve ever visited Nada Tunnel in the Red River Gorge, you may have noticed a steep, paved road marked with a Red River Valley sign that disappears into the trees, directly across from the highway 77 junction. Before I had the reason to travel up into that area myself, I had always wondered what might lie beyond that treeline. With such a mysterious road disappearing up an inviting mountainside, I thought, probably something exciting.
Turns out, I wasn’t wrong. Recently, I was pleased to find my GPS leading me straight up this same, mysterious road while I was on my way to experience StayOver’s ‘Bear Run’ cabin with my partner Thomas, and two long-time friends of mine from Wisconsin, Jessica and Tenzin. In tow were their two Italian Greyhounds, Cleo and Link. Pet-friendly Bear Run sleeps eight people easily, with two private bedrooms downstairs, and a loft with two additional queen beds, so there would be more than enough room for our group.
Once our little cars climbed the hill and made it safely to the cabin (not too difficult, even without four-wheel drive), we easily let ourselves in with a door code, and immediately began to decompress. Exciting it was, and how luxurious! If you enjoy the look of solid wood craftsmanship, the vaulted ceilings, huge exposed rafters, and burled log railings are something to behold. A cute, yet traditional black bear theme decorates the cabin, ceiling to floor. In the corner of the living room sits a gas fireplace, disguised as an old-fashioned wood stove. All of the charm, with none of the hassle!
The kitchen had all the equipment we needed to make dinner that night–orange chickpeas– a take on orange chicken, for any fellow vegetarians out there. I pulled out the provided stock pot and skillet, and got right to work. Meanwhile, Thomas prepared some coffee in the coffee pot to perk us all up some, and set up the smart TV with our favorite Spotify playlist. The sounds of jazzy bossa nova, and the bold aroma of fresh coffee filled the room. It felt just like home, but with the excitement of a getaway, it was even better.
It didn’t take long for Cleo and Link to find the best seat in the house- right in front of the fireplace. The cabin was very cool with a strong A/C system, so while we waited for the temperature to rise to our comfort level, the fireplace was cozy, warm, and mesmerizing. We were all ramping up for the highlight of the evening, the brand new hot tub!
After we finished dinner (yum!), cleaning up was a snap with the built-in dishwasher and garbage disposal. Then it was time for what we were all really waiting for. Cleo and Link went into their crates for a nap, and the “big kids” prepared for a long soak. The hot tub is a short boardwalk away from the back door, and surrounded by a fence for privacy. We brought our bluetooth speaker, climbed in, and let the rest of the evening float away. The tub was not under cover, so we could gaze up through the trees, at the stars. We had to have been in there for at least two hours, and got to watch the sun set in toasty bliss. Pro-tip! You can open the privacy fence gate for a better view of the surrounding woods and sky!
The best laugh of the whole experience was getting to use the brand new dryer. It is so fancy! You can turn a light on inside and watch your clothes flip around. Ok, maybe we’re a bit too easily entertained, but the fact that we all found it so enjoyable was a joy in itself. A shared laugh among friends that we will always remember. Not to mention, it’s always a plus to have efficient, eco-friendly, appliances!
As it always seems to happen on vacation, we lost track of time and got to bed quite late. Thankfully, the beds were extremely comfortable, and I’m a picky one when it comes to beds. They seemed new, with no lumps, and no sagging. Plus, there were plenty of pillows for everyone! None of us had any issues sleeping, and we all awoke well rested for the next day’s adventures in the Red River Gorge.
In the morning, we found that the Rough Trail trailhead at Martin’s Fork is less than 10 minutes away from Bear Run by car. We started around noon, and meandered across the 13 bridges all the way up to the “Daniel Boone Hut”, where it’s thought that Boone himself may have lived for a short time. The area also hosts a patch of protected and endangered white-haired goldenrod, which is found only in this small area of the Red River Gorge. Looking for something short, we only went out and back, but this trail is as long as you want it to be, and connects to many others in the Daniel Boone National Forest. There is a ton to see only a short drive away!
Because we only got to stay one night, we only get to give the firepit and charcoal grill an honorable mention. Though we didn’t get to experience either firsthand, the large fire pit surrounded with Adirondack chairs and the area to grill with a picnic table for outdoor dining were calling to us. Just a few things to look forward to during our inevitable future stay at the beautiful Bear Run cabin.