Spring and fall are best for climbing in RRG
Lexington, KY, is a one-hour drive away
Half day – 2 days
Beginner to advanced
Climb some of the best single-pitch routes in the country
Located in some of the most wild terrain west of the Appalachian Mountains, the Red River Gorge has more than 3,000 climbing routes. Known primarily for its single-pitch sport routes, you’ll also encounter plenty of trad options and sandstone for every grade. Climbing is spread out across a few massive, biodiverse areas including the Daniel Boone National Forest, Muir Valley, Pendergrass-Murray Recreational Preserve and Miller Fork Recreational Preserve. Due to “the Red’s” diverse offerings, guides are helpful to find the ideal routes for your skill level.
Most Popular Itineraries
A Customized Day of Climbing With a Private Guide
The RRG has so many climbing locations to choose from that a day out with a private guide is the best way to make the most of this area. All levels of experience are welcome. Whether it’s your first time climbing or you’re making the transition from gym to crag, your guide will ensure you’re well-equipped on the ground before a full day of climbing on the rocks. If you’re more advanced, your guide will work with you to create an outing best tailored to your goals.
Half-Day of Climbing With a Private Guide
Don’t have a full day to commit to climbing in the Red? A half-day with a private guide will give you a great taste of what the area has to offer. Serious climbers can hone their skills in a short amount of time. Beginners will get individualized attention for their introduction to rock climbing. Come one, come all — no matter your skill level.
Gym to Crag Transition Class
If you are climbing outdoors for the first time, then this is the perfect choice for you! We will help you make that transition to the crags with confidence. The focus is on safety, cleaning bolt anchors, rappeling, being lowered, belaying and leading theory.
Intro to Trad Climbing Course
Test your traditional climbing skills at scenic Red River Gorge and learn about gear, standard rack, cams, and nuts. Review proper belay, tie-ins, rappelling, double checks, and climbing techniques such smearing, edging, or palm press. By the end of the day, you will pick up on how to easily build an anchor and do mock leads, all while learning from an experienced guide by your side!
Things you need to know
Covid measures in Red River Gorge
57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity.
We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, guides and the communities they’re travelling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in Red River Gorge, please refer to the Kentucky Public Health website.
Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!
What you get in this adventure:
- An experienced, local rock climbing guide with extensive knowledge of the area
- A four to eight-hour rock climbing lesson per day, depending on the chosen itinerary
- All technical climbing gear
How fit do I need to be?
If you can climb a ladder, you’re good to go. Being in good shape is always a plus, but far from necessary. Rock climbing is all about using good movement technique rather than muscling up a cliff using brute strength. So don’t let your perceived lack of strength keep you away from rock climbing — you’ve got what it takes.
What if I’ve never climbed before?
No prior experience is necessary. Whether you’ve never donned a harness or you’re a seasoned climber, a guide will help you meet your individual objectives. Above all, your instructor’s number one priority is your safety.
What do I need to bring?
Here’s a list of the equipment we suggest you bring:
- Day pack large enough to carry all the items listed (around a 40L bag)
- Water bottle
- Food you can eat on-the-go
- Toiletries (sunscreen, bug spray, toilet paper, etc.)
- Camera — optional
Dress comfortably and for the weather in clothes you can move in. We suggest bringing clothing appropriate for the season. Layers are best and don’t wear jeans.
Technical gear list
All technical climbing equipment will be provided by your guiding service. However, if you have your own gear, feel free to bring it. You’ll need:
- Harness with a locking carabiner, belay device, and chalk bag
- Rock shoes* (included in the price, but we recommend bringing your own if you have them)
- Climbing hardware (quickdraws, cam devices, stoppers, etc.)
Why should I book with 57hours?
With us, it’s all play and no work for you! 57hours is an open platform that connects you with trained and certified outdoor adventure professionals all over the world. Using our tech-savvy, we make it super easy to find and book adventures worth tackling, with guides worth booking, all gathered from the first-hand experiences of the locals who adventure in these amazing locations.
What about group sizes and pricing?
- Group sizes are usually between 1–4 people with one guide, but you can also go with a larger group of up to 6 people per guide.
- Costs per person could decrease as the group grows for private tours, so it’s the perfect opportunity to climb with friends and family.
Climbing days can be arranged for bigger groups. Contact us prior to booking.
What is the minimum age requirement?
- If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
- Teens aged 14-17 can go on their own, but a guardian will need to provide a signed waiver before an outing with the guide.
- Kids younger than 14 can go climbing on a case-by-case basis, but must be in the presence of a parent or legal guardian.
If your group has climbers under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.
What about bad weather?
As the saying goes, “there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad preparation,” and you can expect your guides to be fully prepared for anything. Inclement weather can always get in the way of climbing, but your guide will know the best spots to move to if the weather takes a turn.
On the rare occasion of truly bad weather, your instructor will present you with suitable alternatives. The most common practice is to reschedule your climbing to a more favorable day or suitable location nearby, if it exists.
If no options presented were viable to you, you will be issued a full refund.
With 57hours, you benefit from both our own cancellation policy as well as that of the individual guiding service that delivers your adventure. All policies regarding cancellation will be clearly laid out by your guide after booking your adventure, but rest assured that our own cancellation policy will work on top of what is provided by your guide.
For this adventure, 57hours offers a Moderate Cancellation Policy, which states:
If Client cancels the Booking anytime prior to thirty (30) calendar days in advance of the trip contemplated by the booking, Client is entitled to a full refund. For cancellations fourteen (14) to twenty nine (29) calendar days in advance, Client is entitled to a refund in the amount of fifty percent (50%) of the total amount paid when Booking. For cancellations zero (0) to thirteen (13) days in advance, the Client is not entitled to any refund.
For more information on terms and conditions, please visit our Terms of Service page.
Getting there and meeting location
Slade, the closest town to Red River Gorge, is about an hour’s drive from Lexington, KY, two hours from Louisville, and two hours from Cincinnati, OH.
There is no direct connection via public transportation to Red River Gorge. You can, however, take the bus to Lexington, then drive to Red River Gorge. You’ll need to make your way to the Slade Rest Area. This is the best place to collect yourself, meet up with any friends that might be driving separate, and prepare yourself for your adventures.
The meeting point is usually at the Muir Valley parking pavilion. Climbing in the Red River Gorge is spread over a large geographic area, and the exact climbing spot will be discussed after the booking. Guides make location decisions after considering the skill level of the group and factors such as crag traffic and weather.