Perhaps no other rock formation in the gorge is as well known as the Half Moon Rock. It has been climbed, repelled, photographed and admired from every conceivable way possible. It is also mentioned in several versions of the Swift journal. The mention is casual to be sure and there are numerous rocks outcrops that could be claimed to be the Half Moon. The one I am familiar with is in the heart of the Red River Gorge.
The Half-moon rock is located on a ridge parallel to the Chimney Rock ridge spur with a small box canyon between the two massive rock outcrops. They are located at the mouth of Chimney Top creek where it flows into the Red River. This creek is one of the major streams in the heart of the gorge and is full of rock formations.
The Half-moon rock is mentioned in some of the more prominent Swift journals and some of the oldest versions as well. While a number on cliff formations can have the shape as described as a half rounded object, this particular one in the Red River Gorge certainly fits the bill.
Interestingly, a lot of other Swift landmarks are in the general area and certainly a lot of formations that could easily be interpreted as the specific ones that Swift supposedly recalled when recording his journal for the purposes of returning to his hidden mine workings. There is the adjacent Chimney Rock, perhaps the most notable formation in the Red River Gorge. In the distance is the Cloud Splitter. Nearby is the Indian Stairway, Haystack Rock and a host of others that could be the very ones Swift describes.
There is even a small arch at the Half-Moon which once again fits the descriptors in the Swift legend.
|The view of the back side of Chimney Rock across the canyon from the Half-Moon|