Climbing

Camping and Firebuilding prohibited within 100 feet of Rock ShelterRock climbers come from around the world to climb the sandstone cliffs of eastern Kentucky. The overhanging rock faces offer the ultimate climbing challenge. Before climbing, make sure you are properly equipped with the right gear and know-how.

Visit the Supervisor's Orders page for climbing rules in the Red River Gorge Geological Area, Natural Arch Scenic Area and Beaver Creek Wilderness.

Red River Gorge Geological Area is the most popular climbing area on the forest. Rock climbing and rappelling activities are allowed except in areas posted as closed. View Supervisor's Order about areas closed to climbing.

Many rock shelters were utilized by indigenous peoples for living quarters or by early pioneers and settlers for saltpeter and niter mining. Please respect these areas by leaving things as you find them.

View Climbing Leave No Trace for information on reducing climbing impacts. 

Cliffline areas within Daniel Boone National Forest contain many fragile cultural and biological resources. Extensive use can permanently damage these resources. Observe these simple rules to help us protect fragile forest resources and to ensure a safe a pleasurable trip for you and other forest users.

  • No camping and no building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire or stove within 100 feet of the base of any cliff, or the back of a rockshelter. (Order 12-01-10)
  • Within the Red River Gorge Geological Area, no climbing or rappelling within 300 feet of Sky Bridge, Gray’s Arch, Nada Tunnel or Chimney Top Rock overlook. (Order 12-01-10)
  • Leave all rocks, artifacts and wood remnants in rock shelters as you find them. Do not disturb the soil, dig for or collect artifacts. All archaeological sites, artifacts and cultural resources are protected by state and federal law.
  • Respect cliffline closures where fragile resources have been fenced for their protection.
  • Follow existing trails and climb using removable protection or in climbing areas with existing approved fixed anchors or bolts. Development of any new rock climbing, bouldering or rappelling areas and development of any climbing routes involving the permanent installation of new fixed anchors or new trail construction requires prior Forest Service authorization.
  • No authorization process currently exists for new climbing development within Daniel Boone National Forest. However, the Forest Service is working with the climbing community to develop Climbing Management Plans that may include procedures for the review and authorization of new climbing development.
  • No new climbing routes using fixed anchors are allowed within the Clifty Wilderness or the Beaver Creek Wilderness. However, maintenance or replacement of existing approved fixed anchors is allowed by non-mechanized means.