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Muir Valley

Kentucky > Red River Gorge


Officially known as Muir Valley Nature Preserve, Muir Valley is one of Red River Gorge's crown jewels. Originally the area was privately owned by Rick and Liz Weber, but in March 2015 the Webers gifted the land to the non-profit Friends of Muir Valley (FOMV), a 501(c)3 organization. FOMV is now 100% responsible for the ownership, in addition to already funding and up-keeping the property.
The valley is home to more than 20 separate climbing areas, all open to climbers at no charge.

While there's a smattering of trad lines, the climbing in Muir Valley is mostly sport. Muir has a reputation for soft grading, but don't take it for granted. There's also a lot of variety in the valley; new leaders can have fun at places like the Great Wall or Bruise Brothers, while hard climbers can throw themselves at the 12s and 13s of the Sanctuary.

The Webers are generous with access to their valley treasure, but there are some rules that must be followed. A complete list can be found at…, but the most important are listed below:

  • All climbers must fill out a legal release form before climbing. This can be done online at the above URL.
  • The parking lot described in the directions below is the only permitted parking. Do not park on private drives.
  • No dogs are allowed in Muir Valley (nor left in your car in the parking lot.)
  • No hammocks are allowed to be hung/used in Muir Valley.

Getting There

If you're driving from Miguel's, follow KY 11 south for about six miles to the intersection with KY 715. Take 715 for about 2.5 miles, then turn right onto CR 2016. Follow this road just over a mile past a closed carpet store, then take the first gravel road to the left. Continue down this road, bearing left at each fork. After about 3/4 of a mile, turn right on a gravel drive to the parking area (you'll see a garage). Take the appropriate trail to the area where you plan to climb.


While there is not officially a fee to enter and climb at Muir Valley, donations to the Friends of Muir Valley (FOMV) are strongly encouraged. Climbers can donate online or in person at Muir Valley using the donation boxes at the parking lot.

However, effective March 1, 2016, parking at Muir Valley will cost $10 per car per day. Alternatively, users can purchase an annual parking pass for $120. This parking fee aims to encourage carpooling and help alleviate parking issues on busy weekends. The official FOMV press release on the new parking fee is:

We have some important news to share with you concerning changes for the 2016 climbing season.

As you know, Muir Valley is one of the most popular climbing destinations in North America, with over 40,000 visitors each year. This enthusiastic utilization requires significant resources to maintain and operate the preserve, as well as continue ongoing improvements such as vault toilets in the valley, emergency response system upgrades, and new trail development. FOMV is fortunate to own and steward such an amazing place, and we couldn’t do it without the
dedication and support of the climbing community.

Muir has become so popular, however, that our parking lots are full to overflowing most weekends and some weekdays throughout the climbing season, necessitating the hiring of staff to manage the busy
lot, and occasionally visitors have had to be turned away when we reach capacity.

We have implemented a plan to achieve a fairer distribution of support, and to avoid over-crowding by charging a fee for parking at Muir Valley. Admission to the Valley will remain free, but we will institute a daily parking charge of $10 per car starting March 1, 2016. Visitors may also purchase a 2016 annual parking permit for $120, and we will provide a laminated ID to display on the dashboard while visiting. All revenue raised by parking fees will go to FOMV and will be used to operate, maintain, and further enhance Muir Valley. Parking fees will augment the donations made by our generous supporters, enabling us to continue making Muir such a special place to climb, hike, and enjoy nature.

Beginning in March, there will be a kiosk as you enter the Muir Parking area. We will have staff present as much as practically possible to assist you, to process your cash or credit/debit card payment, and to give you a receipt to display on your dashboard while parked. At other times, when it is not practical to staff the kiosk, the plan will operate on an honor system with instructions and routine monitoring, as is done in many other climbing areas. In case the kiosk is not staffed, please plan to bring $10 cash (per car, not per person) so that you can use the honor system.

Alternatively, you may complete an application on this website for an Annual Muir Valley Parking Permit, and pay $120 by PayPal, credit, or debit card. We will then send a laminated 2016 Annual Parking Permit (good until Dec 31, 2016) to your postal address.

Thank you for your support and cooperation. We value your feedback as well as your support. If you have questions or comments, please contact us at We look forward to seeing you in the spring!

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

Nicholas Hernandez clipping in the rope while climbing "Return of the Manimal" in the Muir Valley section of Red River Gorge
[Hide Photo] Nicholas Hernandez clipping in the rope while climbing "Return of the Manimal" in the Muir Valley section of Red River Gorge
Andrew Messick climbing on Gettin Lucky in Kentucky in Muir Valley of Red River Gorge
[Hide Photo] Andrew Messick climbing on Gettin Lucky in Kentucky in Muir Valley of Red River Gorge
Corey Day climbing "Plate Tectonics" in Red River Gorge
[Hide Photo] Corey Day climbing "Plate Tectonics" in Red River Gorge
Jakob and i after a long day in 90+ degrees...
[Hide Photo] Jakob and i after a long day in 90+ degrees...
Map Of muir Valley climbing area with call outs for different walls
[Hide Photo] Map Of muir Valley climbing area with call outs for different walls
Bolt testing done in Muir Valley.
[Hide Photo] Bolt testing done in Muir Valley.
Zach Adamczyk going for the clip while climbing Getting Lucky in Kentucky in Red River Gorge
[Hide Photo] Zach Adamczyk going for the clip while climbing Getting Lucky in Kentucky in Red River Gorge
Take a left at the carpet store ???
[Hide Photo] Take a left at the carpet store ???
Muir Valley between winter and spring
[Hide Photo] Muir Valley between winter and spring
The hidden Hemlock
[Hide Photo] The hidden Hemlock
Makin Bacon. Indy Wall, Muir Valley
[Hide Photo] Makin Bacon. Indy Wall, Muir Valley
Ascentuality, Stadium, Muir Valley
[Hide Photo] Ascentuality, Stadium, Muir Valley

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

Jim Matt
Indianapolis, IN
[Hide Comment] This area is owned by two climbers, Liz and Rick Weber (two great people). They have a Web site detailing climbing rules, etc. Dec 6, 2006
[Hide Comment] Muir Valley is awesome, many many classic climbs here make the drive(and hike) worthwhile, and then some!! Apr 13, 2007
[Hide Comment] Be aware that most of the ratings in Muir are considered soft(doesn't mean they aren't wicked fun). May 3, 2007
Jim Matt
Indianapolis, IN
[Hide Comment] That is the general feel, although try Cindarella at the Boneyard. Rated 5.9, more like a 10b. On the other hand, I lead "Dyno-Mite" today rated 5.9, more like an easy 5.8. YMMV... May 19, 2007
Paul Corsaro
Indianapolis, IN
[Hide Comment] although many of the routes do have soft grades, it is not a blanket characteristic. some of the harder routes of their grades are at muir, as well as some of the softer ones. fantastic place to climb with very many classic routes. The surf is easily one of the best crags at the Red, and the Sanctuary and Solarium are two impressive walls as well. Sep 23, 2008
Madison, WI
[Hide Comment] My favorite place to visit when in the area, amazing climbing. Nov 14, 2008
chris tregge
[Hide Comment] Hey Remo. I haven't been to Muir but the Red is the shit. Muir is threatened although it seems like it's in the very easy stages of threat. Check here on and here on for details and see what we can do to help. Nov 14, 2008
chris tregge
[Hide Comment] Oops I missed here on mountainproject. Nov 14, 2008
[Hide Comment] Also, don't forget the Friends Of Muir Valley access group. They are often overlooked in favor of the RRGGC, but they do important work maintaining everything in Muir. Nov 18, 2008
Sandwich, NH
[Hide Comment] I just recently made my first trip to RRG and I loved Muir Valley. I would suggest a stick clip, I did find on first bolt that was to high for my stick clip to reach. What a great place to climb. Jun 10, 2010
Bobrunning Running
Madison, wi
[Hide Comment] Parking latitude 37.724558 longitude -83.634783 Oct 31, 2010
[Hide Comment] Liz & Rick are really wonderful people who welcome you with open arms. My favorite area by far. Apr 22, 2011
chopsticktown Moore
Blandon, PA
[Hide Comment] Does anyone know if it is allowed to visit the limestone caves on the Muir Valley property? A buddy of mine told me there are caves there and I would like to mix it up and have a full day of rock climbing and caving.

Thanks! Jan 7, 2013
[Hide Comment] Chopsticktown:

There are no limestone caves in Muir Valley. And, because sandstone doesn't leech away like limestone, there are no caves that are anything like the real limestone caves of Western Kentucky. However there are a few relatively deep "rock shelters"—one of which goes back a hundred feet or so, then turns and comes out a different way. It is located just to the left of the Sunnyside wall. May 27, 2013
[Hide Comment] Although Muir is officially open at "no charge," PLEASE DONATE to the boxes in the parking lot or at… when you climb here!! The Webers have spent many thousands of their own dollars to open their land up to climbers, and now it is time for us all to step in and pick up the slack. Aug 7, 2013
chris tregge
[Hide Comment] Cross Post about Muir Valley:… Jun 4, 2014
[Hide Comment] Talked to the Webers and they are amazing people that donated untold huge THOUSANDS of dollars for all of us to have a outdoor climbing gym. Step up and do the right thing and donate now.

The place is organized, kept up clean, fantastic trails with big signs, each route is marked. Totally amazing the amount of work they put into this area. Jun 16, 2014
[Hide Comment] Due to damage to trees at the base of the cliffs, Muir Valley has requested that people stop hanging hammocks. Please respect the rules of the private property and save the trees.

15. Hammocks are not permitted to be put up anywhere in Muir Valley.… Sep 21, 2015
[Hide Comment] If you're interested in the story of Muir Valley and the clean up it took to make this place what it is today, here's a recent interview with its founders Rick & Liz Weber:… Nov 17, 2015
[Hide Comment] Lost the guidebook for Red River Gorge south (Muir Valley, PMRP etc) in Red River Gorge Muir Valley during Rocktoberfest weekend (Oct 7-9). We had it on Sunday morning. Might have forgotten it in the parking lot or at the crag we were climbing (Boneyard). Please message me if you find it!

Thanks Oct 14, 2016
[Hide Comment] How strict are they about the NO DOG policy? Mar 30, 2017
Jason Halladay
Los Alamos, NM
[Hide Comment]
shea humenik wrote:How strict are they about the NO DOG policy?
It's a strict rule--no dogs in the valley nor in your car at the parking area. Mar 30, 2017
[Hide Comment] Top notch climbing and spaceout. Loved my first trip out there. Would recommend for anyone within 6 hours. I wish the carolinas implemented a similar system at the Bald to reduce impact of cars and overflow of parking. Nov 6, 2018