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Kentucky Guidebooks

Map of the rock climbing areas in Kentucky

The best place to go rock climbing in Kentucky is at Red River Gorge, which is located in eastern Kentucky in the Daniel Boone National Forest, Powell County. The climbing here is steep and pumpy on heavily featured sandstone rock, infused with large amounts of iron. The rock is very hard and offers great friction, but is also plastered with a variety of large holds, from jugs, crimps, huecos, pockets, slopers, crazy flutings, to chickenheads, and horns.

Though new route development is still happening at a great pace, there are over 2,000 routes at Red River Gorge. Roughly half of these are sport and half are traditional requiring the placing of protection such as cams and nuts. There are nearly 100 crags to choose from, each with its own unique character, across a wide range of grades from 5.7 to 5.14 (F5 to 8c+).

The best time of year is October and November when it is usually fairly dry with cooler conditions. The spring has great temperatures but tends to be a little wetter, while the summer is usually too hot. If the sun is out during the winter, this makes the climbing then very pleasurable.

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