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Red River Gorge: Rocktoberfest and Beyond


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DrRockso · · Red River Gorge, KY · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 356

October is upon us, sending temps, good times, and Rocktoberfest is just around the corner! This all means big crowds and potential for impact for the Red.

Access has become a little more complicated over the past years, if we can follow some simple guidelines we can keep all these areas open for everyone.  I've compiled a list of the most up to date info so everyone can be on the same page. Please educate yourself and don't be that group/gal/guy that ruins access for everyone.

Roadside/Graining Fork Nature Preserve - Access here is by permit only! Permits can obtained atgrainingfork.org/newpermit/ You can usually obtain permits for your trip in advance so don't wait until you are in the parking lot with no reception to try to get one. Roadside is ACTIVELY POLICED, those without a permit will be asked to leave and it will be at the landowner's discretion to charge you with trespassing. *Additional concerns: Absolutely no dogs allowed (legitimate service dogs must have vests and paperwork, NO EMOTIONAL SUPPORT DOGS) groups of 10 or more must be with a guide from Kentucky Rock and Adventure Guides, no exceptions.

Muir Valley - Liability Waiver Required, available atmuirvalley.com/waiver.html No dogs allowed, legitimate service dogs must be registered with Muir, no hammocks allowed, bring $10 cash per car for parking, cards are also accepted but slow things down a bit.

Pendegrass Murray, Miller Fork, and Bald Rock Fork Recreational Preserves - RRGCC liability waiver required, available at smartwaiver.com/w/51c2134a2…  Additional concerns: I would currently recommend all non-AWD cars to not go down the Motherlode/first PMRP hill, instead park at the top of the hill if spots are available, taking care not to block other cars or fence gates. About a dozen cars have driven off the hill this year trying to get back up and no one likes being stuck behind a car that takes 3 tries to make it up. Those planning to visit Miller Fork on October Saturdays, plan on arriving early in order to get a spot in the parking lot. The Hell Creek crossing and mudholes after are deeper than ever, driving past the parking lot is not advised, keep in mind tow trucks cannot go past the parking lot.  

Turn any traction control off and keep momentum going up gravel hills, second gear is right for most cars if you have overdrive.

Torrent - Access is strictly limited to cabin guests and guided clients, more information is available atredriveroutdoors.com

National Forest and Clifty Wilderness Areas (The North) - fs.usda.gov/activity/dbnf/r…
Most of the gravel pull offs have recently been blacktopped, hooray! Keep this in mind when reading directions and please park in a way that maximizes parking since many of these pulloffs are quite small.

Natural Bridge - No Climbing Allowed.

Whether a rule or just common courtesy, throughout the Gorge it's considered respectful to keep group sizes at 6 or below, in order to lessen our impact as well as prevent particular crags and climbs from becoming monopolized by a single group. Additionally, if you are the leader of your group consider it YOUR responsibility to ensure all those in your group have the necessary waivers for the areas you plan to climb at.

Everyone be safe out there this fall! If you're just getting started or need to brush up on your skills consider one of the local guiding outfits.

http://www.kragky.com Kentucky Rock and Adventure Guides
https://redriveroutdoors.com/guide-service/ Red River Outdoors
https://www.southeastmountainguides.com/ Southeast Mountain Guides

Fitz · · Rogers, KY · Joined Dec 2010 · Points: 20

Thank you very much for all this info, I really appreciate it and hope others will as well.  I will pass on the word!

Jeff Mekolites · · ATL GA · Joined Jan 2007 · Points: 4,607

Make this thing sticky and put it on the Red page!  Great info.  Thanks.

Beth Santoro · · Chattanooga, TN · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 75

Last weekend they were not checking permits at Roadside and there were two dogs...

DrRockso · · Red River Gorge, KY · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 356
Beth Santoro wrote: Last weekend they were not checking permits at Roadside and there were two dogs...

Though the owner is there checking permits nearly every weekend, unfortunately it's not possible for the owners and volunteers to check permits every day, multiple times a day. A little self policing is going to be necessary to make things work, if you see folks breaking the rules or overhear folks not having permits, say something to them or ask them to leave. 

Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 195

The directions for Long Wall are now a bit out of date, as the road is paved.  The pull off, unfortunately, is now much less obvious and the trail was pretty overgrown when I visited over Labor Day, so make sure to reset your odometer when you cross the bridge and use the mileage listed in the Guidebook.

DrRockso · · Red River Gorge, KY · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 356
Ted Pinson wrote: The directions for Long Wall are now a bit out of date, as the road is paved.  The pull off, unfortunately, is now much less obvious and the trail was pretty overgrown when I visited over Labor Day, so make sure to reset your odometer when you cross the bridge and use the mileage listed in the Guidebook.

The pull off for Long Wall is located here tinyurl.com/y77szw3s

amarius · · Nowhere, OK · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 20

RRG has an excellent online guide - redriverclimbing.com: red river gorge guide 
There is an app as well, they do not have off-line mode
For iOS - RRC
For Android - RRC App

I made Excel sheets for all crags, get them here - Google Drive/RedRiverGorge. zipped files are all topos in one place. Excel sheets are formatted for printing. With Android, all can be saved to the phone for the offline usage.

DrRockso · · Red River Gorge, KY · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 356
amarius wrote: RRG has an excellent online guide - redriverclimbing.com: red river gorge guide 
There is an app as well, they do not have off-line mode
For iOS - RRC
For Android - RRC App

I made Excel sheets for all crags, get them here - Google Drive/RedRiverGorge. zipped files are all topos in one place. Excel sheets are formatted for printing. With Android, all can be saved to the phone for the offline usage.

Thanks for the links! Ray says offline mode is coming soon.  It will be a great resource and stays more up to date than mp with new routes.

Bryan · · Minneapolis, MN · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 346

Thanks for all the info. I am heading down to the Red and am planning on climbing Friday 12th - Monday 15th. Friday and Saturday look good for weather. Sunday and Monday look like rain. My forecast says 0.5" Sunday, 0.75" Monday. Is that a reasonable amount of rain where we can still find dry crags to climb at? I did want to check out Chocolate Factory/Undertow Wall and I've heard those can stay dry in the rain. My partner is more psyched on trad down there though. Don't want to break off holds on any classics. So, feasible to climb sunday/monday?

Chris Ritna · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 0
Bryan wrote: So, feasible to climb sunday/monday?

Yeah, gotta just look for the protected crags. I have gotten a full day of climbing in downpour conditions from crags like the Zoo or Solarium

Thaddeus Reid · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2018 · Points: 1

I'm hoping to climb on Saturday (Oct 13th) and am in search of a partner. I've a single rack, rope, and sport gear. Would prefer North Gorge (trad), but down for anything. Holler at me if you'd like a catch :) 

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Southern States
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