Miller Fork Recreational Preserve (MFRP) Rock Climbing
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The Miller Fork Recreational Preserve (MFRP) was acquired in 2013 by the Red River Gorge Climbers' Coalition with assistance from the Access Fund's Land Conservation Campaign. As of 2022, this 309 acre area has nearly 30 crags and over 500 routes.
The parking lot can fill up on popular days. Please be considerate and park close to the car next to you.
A 4WD / high-clearance vehicle is recommended for access to Miller Fork. There are frequent posts requesting condition reports for the hill / road leading to the Miller Fork parking lot. Despite maintenance efforts by the RRGCC, the answer is often that the road is not in good condition.
Heading south on KY11 from Miguel's (or the Mountain Parkway), drive just past Koop's gas station (now a Marathon gas station) and hang a left onto Shumaker Ridge Rd. Follow Shumaker for 3.2 miles until you see two entrances on the right - turn onto the second one which is Hell Creek Rd. There should be a wooden sign that says "MFRP" marking this road. Go down Hell Creek Rd, turning right after 0.8 miles at the bottom of a steep hill, just before the road meets the river for the first time. Drive parallel to the river for 1.2 miles until you see a large gravel parking lot on your left with a kiosk (just before the road crosses the river again). Park here - all area approaches begin from this parking lot. The parking lot GPS coordinates are 37.642204, -83.678900. There is a pit toilet in the parking lot.
Click here for the Google Maps location of the MFRP parking lot.
There is an alternative driving approach that requires driving across a river. Use caution as the water level can be high at times; a high-clearance vehicle is recommended. Sometimes the road on this approach is in better shape than the hill on the standard approach described above. Heading south on KY11 from Miguel's (or the Mountain Parkway), drive past Koop's gas station (now a Marathon gas station), drive past KY498 (the road to the PMRP / Motherlode), and drive past the Lee County Recreation Center. Drive approximately 1.4 miles past the Rec Center and turn left onto 3 Mile Branch Rd. There is no street sign for this road but there is a large sign on the right side of KY11 for the Lee County Saddle Club; there is also a small sign on the left side of KY11 for the Daniel Boone Backcountry Byway (DBBB). 3 Mile Branch Rd will quickly come to a T - turn left onto Old State Hwy 11 and then make a quick right onto Tip Top Rd (note that Google Maps lists this as Holly Rd). After 0.1 miles, bear left at the Y intersection. After 0.5 miles, bear left again at the next Y intersection. After 0.1 miles, turn left onto Hell Creek Rd which is a gravel road that heads downhill. There is a wooden signpost / kiosk here for the DBBB. Follow the gravel road for 0.8 miles, crossing 2 creeks, and turn left at a Y intersection where the right branch heads sharply uphill. This is now joined up with the normal approach described above. Drive parallel to the river for 1.2 miles until you see a large gravel parking lot on your left with a kiosk (just before the road crosses the river again).
Click here for Google Maps directions for this alternate approach from Miguel's.
Here is a trails map from RRGCC showing the approaches to each crag.
There are currently 3 guidebooks that cover routes in Miller Fork.
THE RED 2nd Edition (2022) Brendan Leader. $35.00 ISBN:9780645299915
Covers all sport climbing crags in the Red along with trad climbs within those sport climbing areas. This is currently the most up to date book.
Red River Gorge Select – Guide to the best crags in the North, South, and Miller Fork (2018 Edition) Dario Ventura, Mike Williams $39 ISBN:1938393325
Covers a large selection of the most popular sport and trad crags throughout the gorge.
Best of the Red – Sport Climbing Crags of the Red River Gorge (2017 Edition) Brendan Leader. $20.00 ISBN:9780994278456
Covers a huge selection of the best sport crags in the north, south and Miller Fork Recreational Preserve (MFRP).
Miller Fork Climbing (2015 Edition) Ray Ellington. No longer sold (was $39.95). ISBN:9780692471128
This was the original guidebook for Miller Fork when it first opened. This book is no longer sold but is listed here for historical information.
Waiver and Rules
* As of June 2018, there is no overnight parking allowed on any Coalition properties (PMRP, BRRP, MFRP). Primitive camping is still allowed,
just as long as you do not park a car there (i.e. dropped off or hike in).
* 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 permitted.
* No operation of motorized vehicles off established roads is permitted.
* 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.
Classic Climbing Routes at Miller Fork Recreational Preserve (MFRP)
Days w Precip