Hike the Rough Canyon Trail past the Cattail Pond Junction

Rate this Adventure Rough Canyon Trail Head

Great day hike with variety in climbs and leveled paths that passes beautiful wooded scenery and several creeks. Final destination is a sandstone bench facing a beautiful natural pool for taking a break and having a bite to eat.

Located west of the infamous Robbers Cave, the alleged hideout of outlaws Jesse James and Belle Star, is the picturesque Rough Canyon Trail.

The Rough Canyon Trailhead begins to the west of Robbers Cave and is accessible by parking in the Robbers Cave parking lot. You will begin the hike along Black Gum Creek, before climbing up somewhat steeply for about 0.2 miles and then leveling off again. Prior to reaching the Equestrian Trail intersection at 0.6 miles, you will be surrounded by lots of wooded areas, berry filled vegetation, and many short sandstone bluffs to climb.

After crossing the Equestrian Trial intersection, you will reach the Cattail Pond Loop junction in about 0.4 miles. From there, you can either turn right to continue on the Rough Canyon Trail to Lost Lake and the Lost Lake backcountry camp site, or you can do what we did and take a left heading north along Rough Canyon. Doing so offers much more scenery, especially during the fall with the foliage, as well as the opportunity to go down to the sandstone bench facing a natural pool. You will reach this after going down into the valley for about 0.2 miles.

After taking a break here and enjoying the view, you can either continue on to the Mountain Trail junction, complete the Rough Canyon Trail Loop (additional 2 miles), or head back towards Robbers Cave.

Pack List

  • Daypack
  • Hiking shoes
  • Athletic socks
  • Layered clothing
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Snacks / Meal
  • Water
  • Camera
  • Circular Polarizer
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RT Distance 2.2 Miles
Elevation Gain 980 Feet
Activities Chillin, Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Year Round
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Forest
River
Scenic
Wildflowers

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