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Pendergrass-Murray Recreational Preserve (PMRP)

Kentucky > Red River Gorge


Another triumph of climber ownership, the PMRP is a 700-acre area in the southern section of the Red River Gorge. It is owned and maintained by the Red River Gorge Climbers' Coalition. More than 300 routes in 20 separate areas are available to climbers thanks to the efforts of the RRGCC.

Climbing in the PMRP began in the 1990s not long after the discovery of the Motherlode just east of the area. At the time, this sizeable tract of land was owned by the Pendergrass family descendents, and much of it was leased out for oil exploration. As climbers began developing the numerous crags in the area, the RRGCC worked toward an accommodation of the various public and private interests there. Finally, in 2004, the coalition purchased surface rights to the tract, ensuring continued climbing access.

As with Muir Valley, the other major climber-owned section of Red River Gorge, climbers must sign a liability waiver before climbing in the PMRP. For more information and rules on the area, go to the RRGCC web site. Direct link to the liability waiver…

Getting There

To get to the PMRP, travel south on KY 11 south of Torrent Falls. Depending on the area you're heading to, turn off on either Fixer Road or Bald Rock Fork Road. Park only in designated parking areas and steer clear of all oil production equipment.

Please slow down when driving past homes on Bald Rock Fork Road (aka the road that leads from 498 to the Motherlode/PMRP). The speed limit on this road is 10 mph and driving too quickly creates dust which negatively affects the residents along the road.

NOTE: Access to many crags in the PMRP may be problematic without a high-clearance vehicle. 2WD cars should park at the top of the hill before descending down into the canyon and be mindful not to block oil machine and other access roads.

Waiver and Rules

The Red River Gorge Climber's Coalition (RRGCC) asks that climbers at PMRP complete this online liability waiver/rules agreement before climbing at PMRP.

  • Do not park next to oil wells. Do not block oil wells or oil 
workers’ trucks.
  • Please climb responsibly and follow “Leave No Trace” 
practices. Please remove all refuse and bury human waste.
  • All dogs must be leashed or under control of their owners.
  • Stay off all tagged projects and do not touch or use any project 
ropes, draws, or other gear.
  • Hike on established trails and do not mark or damage trees or  other vegetation. Approval by the RRGCC is required prior to  the establishment of any new crags or trails.
  • No hunting, trapping, digging for archaeological artifacts is 
  • No operation of motorized vehicles off established roads is 
  • No open fires are permitted due to the oil extraction activity in 
the area and the enormous threat a forest fire in a region of 
numerous oil wells would pose.
  • Overnight camping (no long­term camping) is permitted as long 
as it is not in a climbing area, along a trail, or near any oil 

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

Climber on KSB in the Red River Gorge
[Hide Photo] Climber on KSB in the Red River Gorge
On the approach to Chica Bonita wall
[Hide Photo] On the approach to Chica Bonita wall
The Shire in Red River Gorge
[Hide Photo] The Shire in Red River Gorge
Joe making his way up "A Wave New World" @ PMRP - Drive By Crag
[Hide Photo] Joe making his way up "A Wave New World" @ PMRP - Drive By Crag
Another of the giant cave between Volunteer wall and the Gallery
[Hide Photo] Another of the giant cave between Volunteer wall and the Gallery
The giant cave in between Volunteer wall and the Gallery
[Hide Photo] The giant cave in between Volunteer wall and the Gallery
Jen on Johnny B. Good, 5.11a
[Hide Photo] Jen on Johnny B. Good, 5.11a
Sore Heel Hollow parking lot sign
[Hide Photo] Sore Heel Hollow parking lot sign
Tom DeFilippo on the rock after a couple of years top roping "Buckswheats Climb for Stef" 5.6 at hte Crossroads, Fixer, KY
[Hide Photo] Tom DeFilippo on the rock after a couple of years top roping "Buckswheats Climb for Stef" 5.6 at hte Crossroads, Fixer, KY

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

[Hide Comment] The steep road down the hill to the Sore Heel parking area is in pretty bad shape, and cars without high clearance will have trouble going down (or back up). According to the RRGCC the Sore Heel hill is "no longer sustainable and will not be maintained going forward" (see the RRGCC FAQ).

However, they have just put in a new parking area that is a nice flat walk to the sore heel parking. See the RRGCC blog post for more details. Park there instead of trying to fit at the top of the hill. Apr 29, 2014
[Hide Comment] Hi all, just posting to say I lost my phone recently, not entirely sure where but possibly in the Flat Holler parking lot. It is an HTC One and in a silver case. If found please call 6038098809 to return it. Thank you Mar 12, 2015
[Hide Comment] The turnoff from route 498 onto the gravel road for Flat Holler and Sore Heel and Bald Rock psrking is at GPS latitude longitude approx (N37.6363 W83.7160).

The new Flat Holler parking in on the left side (just past the turn-off right going up steep-ish hill to the Sore Heel parking) at GPS latitude longitude approx (N37.6466 W83.7200). From there can walk about 500 feet back East on the road to the new trailhead for Sore Heel, turn Left and hike North uphill about 0.25 mile to the Sore Heel parking, and from there to your chosen crag. Nov 13, 2015
Spencer Scott
Kansas City, MO
[Hide Comment] The new parking lot is actually faster to get to by an easy, flat hike out than the problematic/high clearance required Sore Heel parking area. Do the road a favor by hiking in and out. Apr 4, 2016
[Hide Comment] The south guidebook directions for going to Coal Bank Hollow are somewhat misleading. The written directions are correct, but the map has a road drawn and labeled Fixer Road. That road is not Fixer road, but Cave Fork road. Fixer road is north of Cave Fork road, and turns off before Koops. Cave Fork road is all gravel with poor conditions, don't take it. The Oil Tank with a smiley face is also mislabeled in the book. Here is a corrected map. The correct road still runs off the map, but this should help. Apr 11, 2016
[Hide Comment] Just want to second the recc that you part at Flat Holler parking in order to access the Sore Heel parking area, it truly is faster than driving to the Sore Heel parking. Also, the road to Sore Heel lot is getting pretty bad. It is accessible, but even a small bit of rain while you are out climbing and getting back up the hill would be difficult for any car, and probably not possible without good tires - you might be stranded overnight or be setting up a hauling system for your own vehicle! Really, park at the faster and safer option of the Flat Holler lot, too bad the guidebook is just a couple of years too old to include this tip. Jul 27, 2016
Adrian Landreth
Ann Arbor, MI
[Hide Comment] So I left my stickclip against a sign next to the porta-potty at the first parking area for non-AWD or 4WD vehicles. If someone happens to find this and would be kind enough to return this to me I would be rather grateful. Thanks! Sep 25, 2017
Kyle Johnston
Louisville, KY
[Hide Comment] If it's snowy/icy/muddy and you're taking Bald Rock Fork Road, park at 37.641734,-83.712486 instead of some of the lower parking lots. Jan 21, 2018
Daniel Dragolich
[Hide Comment] What is the closest back country camping spot to check out when climbing this area. Any suggestions? Please? Feb 5, 2018