Climb at the Red River Gorge

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Added by Courtney C

World class climbing at the Red River Gorge in Kentucky! Sport, trad, bouldering... they have it all! 

The Red River Gorge, located about an hour southeast of Lexington, KY is known for its world class climbing and breathtaking views from atop some tall walls. With over 1600 climbs in the area, it is easy to find plenty to do no matter how long you plan on staying. The hikes out to the walls can vary from 5 minutes to about an hour depending on where you choose to go, but there are many options for guidebooks to the area to help you get where you want to be. 

When discussing the Gorge, it can sometimes be helpful to break it down into some of the major areas that make up this very expansive location: 

Miller Fork:

The Miller Fork area features mostly sport (with some trad) routes with the majority being in the 5.10- 5.12 range. This area was acquired in 2012 and continues to grow! If you plan on climbing here, be aware that the trek to the parking lot may be difficult if your vehicle doesn't have high ground clearance as you'll be riding on non-paved roads. There is work being done to improve these conditions, but I highly suggest reading up on it further online before trying to venture out to this location. 

For information about the routes, check out the newly published Miller Fork Guidebook or Miller Fork- Mountain Project page.

Muir Valley:

Climbing at Muir Valley is very friendly to those who may be new to climbing outside and want to have a fun experience on some great outdoor walls. Most routes can be identified by a metal tag at the beginning of the route that has the route name and grade listed. Also, trail signs along the well-maintained routes help guide climbers through the area as well. If you choose to climb here, you'll be required to pay a $10 donation to the Friends of Muir Valley who continue to work hard with the founders and former owners, Rick and Liz Weber to make sure that this area is well-maintained and enjoyable for all who come to visit. There is also a waiver form that will also need to be filled out. More information about the routes can be found at the link: Muir Valley- Mountain Project.

PMRP (Pendergrass-Murray Recreational Preserve):

Over 400 routes that offer a  great mix of sport and trad climbing in the 5.10- 5.14 range, the PMRP has a lot to offer many climbers. The hikes out to the walls here can be longer than some of the other areas in the RRG, but they are definitely worth it. These tall walls provide lots of great and unique features that make the climbing both challenging and visually stunning. Warning- when driving out to the PMRP, it is suggested that you have a high clearance vehicle as the roads in can be quite treacherous in areas. Also, make sure to visit the Red River Gorge Climbers Coalition site to sign a RRG Climbing Waiver before heading out to this area. For more information about the climbing available here, visit: PMRP- Mountain Project

Roadside Crag (Graining Fork Nature Preserve):

The Roadside Crag (aka Graining Fork Nature Preserve) was reopened to access from the public in 2015 and has lots of great sport climbing for those in the 5.7- 5.12+ range. Being a privately owned crag, it is important to make sure that you read up on the rules and regulations of the area, and make sure to acquire a permit which can all be found on here: Graining Fork Nature Preserve Permits. More information about the climbing in the area can found here: Roadside Crag- Mountain Project.

The descriptions above are just the beginning of what is available in the Red River Gorge, but I highly suggest checking out the Red River Gorge- Mountain Project site and purchasing the two guidebooks for the area if you wish to embark upon a climbing adventure in this area. 

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