At first glance, rock climbing in Kentucky may seem like a far fetched idea. Au contraire! Red River Gorge provides great rock climbing areas in KY.
Rock Climbing Areas in KY – Kentucky
Located in the Daniel Boone National Forest, the greater Red River Gorge area is over 26,000 acres. The Red River runs for approximately 20 miles through the area. The area around the river is rife with rock climbing opportunities with multi-pitch walls, boulders and climbing roofs to try out your over vertical technique. The Red River Gorge can be reached by car in about an hour from Lexington, Ky. Trails and camping are plentiful in the area, so you can make a weekend of your trip.
Rock climbing is permitted through most of the gorge, but a few areas are off limits. You can ask the forest rangers for a list, but you generally are barred from climbing or descending on any of the arches. Also, all routes are pre-set and rock climbers are forbidden to start new routes without getting permission first from the rangers. Sorry for the downer, but you don’t want to get arrested.
When rock climbing in Red River Gorge, there are a few areas getting universal thumbs up. For traditional climbing, the following areas get thumbs up:
1. Pebble Beach
2. Sky Bridge Ridge
4. Long Wall
These areas all have epic climbing routes with ratings all well above five.
Sport climbing presents an entirely different challenge and the Red River Gorge area meets it. Top areas include:
1. Global Village with multiple climbs
2. Military Wall
3. Roadside Crag
4. Pebble Beach
5. Sky Bridge Ridge
If you are new to the area, the best two spots to hit are Pebble Beach and Sky Bridge Ridge. Each offers a variety of climbs, which gives you the best opportunity to try out your technique and take on a few challenges.
There are other areas in Kentucky that offer solid rock climbing. The Red River Gorge, however, is the king of the mountain when it comes to rock climbing areas in KY.