Bluegrass Climbing School Blog

Best Restaurants in Red River Gorge

We thought we’d take a break from climbing and talk about our favorites places in Red River Gorge to eat, and have a beer, and hang out with friends! Hope you enjoy our picks!

Places to Eat in Red River Gorge, Miguel's Pizza

Miguel’s Pizza

Not a lot needs said about this one, Miguel’s Pizza is the center of the Red River Gorge Climbing Universe. Since as early as 1984, long before the Red River Gorge was known as the world class climbing destination, Miguel started serving up food to hungry climbers, it has been an oasis for climbers ever since. As the climbing community grew, so too did Miguel’s which now offers more than just pizza, including delicious sandwiches, bowls, salads and an excellent breakfast menu. As well as a great selection of ice cold beer and Margaritas.

The Rockhouse

Located on KY 11, 4 miles past Miguels, the Red River Rockhouse is an eclectic cafe serving up Burritos, Tacos, Burgers, and Salads made with fresh ingredients and staffed by climbers. The Rockhouse is a popular choice amongst local climbers, we recommend coming early for dinner or good luck getting a table on busy weekends. Nonetheless we find the food always comes out fast no matter how busy they are. Their Barbacoa, Carnitas, and Tempeh burritos are the best around.

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The Best Climbing Guidebook for Red River Gorge

When I started climbing in the Red 11 years ago, there was only one choice for a climbing guidebook for the area. Since that time, an explosion of development in the Southern Region of Red River Gorge has prompted new books to be published. With over 3000 climbs now in the area, there was too much to fit into just one book.

There are now six high quality guidebooks available for the Red River Gorge, 3 of which  cover, comprehensively, separate regions of the Red River Gorge. Namely the Northern Region, the Southern Region, and the Miller Fork. Additionally, there are 2 “best of” guidebooks each of which attempt to condense the most classic and popular walls throughout the area into a single book, as well as a comprehensive Sport climbing guidebook. Let us help you sort through all the choices!

Our Top Pick For Traveling Climbers

red river gorge guided rock climbing brendan leader second edition the red climbing guidebook


The Red – 2nd Edition (2022). Brendan Leader. $35.00 ISBN:0958079099

The second edition of the popular “The Red” guidebook includes all of the Sport Climbing crags in the area along with the trad climbs within those sport climbing areas. This book currently leaves out most trad climbing only areas so if trad is your thing you might want to pick up the Red River Gorge “North” guidebook. “The Red – 2nd Edition” is currently the most up to date guidebook for Red River Gorge with the new edition adding about 250 new climbs since the last edition. Overall it’s a great bang for your buck for most Climbers traveling to the region. We really like the format and layout of the book, and how up to date the info is. 







Our Top Pick For Locals

These guidebooks are the most comprehensive for the area, bar none. They’re a great choice for locals and collectors who want to have it all. They are slightly more out of date when compared with “The Red” but offer more detailed descriptions and read more…

The Perfect Trad Climbing Rack For Red River Gorge

Red Rover Gorge Kentucky Climbing Guide Service, Traditional Climbing Clinics, Trad Climbing Clinics, Trad Routes in Red River Gorge, Cams, Nuts, Stoppers, Trad Rack

Photo courtesy Billy Simek

The “Standard Rack”

As climbing guide in Red River Gorge, I often get asked “What is the best trad rack for climbing the area.” You’ll frequently hear that a particular route requires a “standard rack”, but no one one ever defines what a standard rack is. Guidebooks and climbers are reluctant to define a standard rack is because, well.. it is subjective. It depends greatly on the comfort level of the climber on the terrain, and how much gear will use to safely protect the route. Add to that, the fact that each climb is unique and will take a variety of gear and sizes to protect it. 

Disclaimer: Purchasing a Trad Rack is only the first step, one has to then learn how to use it! Seek a qualified mentor or Climbing School to help you along the way. 


RRG Cracks Are Full of Variety

The Red River Gorge is rarely ever “splitter” a term used to describe parallel sided cracks. Splitters stay a consistent size for the duration of the climb. The cracks here in Red River Gorge are filled with variation both from top to bottom, as well as in depth. While a climb may take a #2 Black Diamond Camalot near the surface, further back in the crack may reveal a #1 read more…

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