Muir Valley

Crown Jewel of the Red River Gorge

Welcome Climbers, Hikers, and Nature Lovers


Muir Valley is a nature preserve and rock climbing area owned and maintained by the Muir Valley organization (formerly known as Friends of Muir Valley or FOMV). Muir is approximately 350 acres in size and walled in by seven miles of majestic sandstone cliffs. The Valley is resplendent in Waterfalls, caves, and stone bottom creeks. Mountain laurel, rhododendron, and many other species of wildflowers and plants grace the Valley floor and hillsides.


We ask for no admission fees. You may freely climb, hike, and enjoy the natural beauty as our guests, but at your own risk. If you are not willing to accept full responsibility for your presence in Muir Valley, then do not enter the property.


Understand also that Muir Valley's owner, Muir Valley LLC, its officers and Board of Director members, and the former owners, Richard and Elizabeth Weber are protected from liability claims by the Kentucky Recreational Use Statute.


Everyone who wishes to come into the Valley to rock climb must first execute a WAIVER on this website. By executing this WAIVER, you are acknowledging that you have read and understand the WARNINGS of dangers that exist within Muir Valley and the list of RULES that you agree to follow. These WARNINGS and RULES are listed below.


Muir Valley - Owners/Managers



Warnings for Visitors to Muir Valley

Last amended: March 25, 2017)


It is important that you carefully read and understand the list of warnings of the hazards and potential dangers, both identified and unknown that may exist in Muir Valley. Your presence in Muir Valley signifies that you have read and fully understand these warnings.


Please notify one of the Muir Valley employees, members of the Muir Valley Board of Directors, or volunteers as soon as reasonably possible of any unusual dangerous condition or hazard that you see or encounter in the Valley. A list of the members of the Muir Valley Board of Directors along with their contact information can be found HERE. This includes, but is not limited to, loose, missing, or worn hardware on the rock climbing routes, loose rocks, and any and all activities by other persons that could be considered to be reckless and an endangerment to the wellbeing of other people in Muir Valley.

If you are not willing to accept full responsibility for your presence in Muir Valley, then do not enter the property

1. WARNING: It is virtually impossible for us to be aware of every hazard and dangerous condition that may exist in the 350 acres and 7+ miles of cliff line that constitute Muir Valley. It is, therefore, necessary that you acknowledge a general warning that hidden and unknown dangers may exist in Muir Valley that cannot always be specifically identified and warned or guarded against.


2. WARNING: Rock climbing can be a dangerous sport, participation in which can cause permanent paralysis or other serious injury and death to you or to those around you. You should never climb without extensive training by experienced climbers. You should never climb without proper high-quality rock climbing gear. And, you should never climb if you are not willing to accept full responsibility for the consequences of your participation in this dangerous sport.


3. WARNING: The rock in Muir Valley is substantially Corbin Sandstone. This is a very soft, friable sedimentary rock that is laced with pockets, fissures and soft chossy sections. Even the best of hardware permanently affixed to or temporarily placed into this rock can fail unexpectedly and catastrophically due to the poor structural integrity of this rock, possibly causing your injury or death.


4. WARNING: The rock in Muir Valley contains sections that are either loose or that can be easily loosened. These sections can spontaneously fall off a cliff, or they may be inadvertently or purposely pulled off by a climber. In any case, rock fall poses a threat to visitors to Muir Valley and therefore poses a danger to the climber and/or persons below the climber. All persons participating in rock climbing and/or those present in the vicinity of rock cliffs are strongly advised to wear protective headgear designed specifically for a rock climbing environment.


5. WARNING: Never climb inside the many caves in Muir Valley. The ceilings are often flaky and prone to breaking down and falling.


6. WARNING: Hanger brackets have been bolted to, or glued into, the walls of many of the climbing routes in Muir Valley. Additionally, other hardware, such as slings, quickdraws, chains, rings, cable leaders, and permadraws may be attached to hanger brackets. As is traditional with rock climbing route development, this hardware was installed by many different persons. The specific hardware and installation methods are neither approved by nor monitored by us. Nor, is this hardware routinely inspected. NO warranties of safeness of this hardware have been given by the persons who installed it or the owners of Muir Valley. Hanger brackets have been known to pull loose from the rock. And, rock in which hanger brackets have been affixed has been known to fail. If you climb in Muir Valley and rely on any piece of hardware affixed to any rock surface for your personal safety and/or the safety of others with you, you do so at your own risk and with the full knowledge that this hardware may fail catastrophically and without warning.


7. WARNING:  Be very careful hiking along the tops of cliffs. Most of the seven plus miles of cliffs range from 50 to over 145 feet high.


8. WARNING: As a nature preserve, Muir Valley has wildlife, including, but not limited to: poisonous insects, such as the northern millipede; venomous snakes, such as copperheads and rattlesnakes; and poisonous plants, such as poison ivy and pokeweed.


If you have any suggestions or questions or wish to report any problems, please feel free to contact Zach Davis, Interim Chair of the Muir Valley organization by email:



Rules for Visitors to Muir Valley

(Last updated March 21, 2017)


Willful disregard of any of the following rules may result in your loss of any privilege to visit Muir Valley.


1.  Muir Valley is a privately owned and operated nonprofit Nature Preserve and Rock Climbing Arena.  If you need to reach the management  for questions,notifications,s or special permissions, you can do so by emailing the Muir Valley Interim Chair, Zach Davis  at:


2.  You must read and understand the documents “Warnings to Visitors to Muir Valley” and the “Kentucky Recreational Use Statute”. Your presence in Muir Valley signifies that you agree that Muir Valley has adequately warned you of hazards that may exist in Muir Valley and that you consider Muir to be in full compliance with the provisions of this statute.


3.  You must notify the Muir Valley organization as soon as reasonably possible of any dangerous condition or hazard in the Valley of which you become aware, that is not called out in the Warnings document. At your earliest convenience, please report the issue to one of the Muir Valley staff at the parking lot. If no staff member is available, please email, Zach Davis at:


4.  To rock climb in Muir Valley, you must first submit and have accepted the Muir Valley Waiver. You must either fill out and submit this form on line here on this website or do so on a temporary paper waiver, good for three days, available at the kiosk at the main Muir Valley Parking Lot.


5.  We encourage youth under the age of 18 to be accompanied by their parent, guardian, or other responsible adult. Prior to their climbing in Muir Valley, climbers under age 18 must have on file with Muir Valley a Muir Valley waiver signed by their parent or legal guardian naming the climber as a covered individual.


6.  These activities are permitted in Muir Valley: rock climbing, hiking, trail running, and enjoying nature.


7.  These activities are NOT permitted in Muir Valley: inverted rappelling, bungee jumping, free solo rock climbing, rope jumping (taking long intentional falls - sometimes referred to as “victory whippers”), mountain biking, shooting firearms, hunting, trapping, camping, campfires, or operating motorized vehicles.


8.  Climbing of a type known as free soloing or highballing, which is done without proper and adequate protection in the form of rope belaying, spotting, or using bouldering pads, is unnecessarily dangerous and not permitted in Muir Valley. The only three forms of rock climbing permitted in Muir Valley are sport climbing, wherein the climber utilizes hanger brackets bolted to the rock faces, for protection, trad climbing, wherein the climber provides and temporarily affixes his/her own passive and active gear to the rock faces for protection, and bouldering, wherein the climber, sans rope, climbs routes that finish close to the ground and uses bouldering pads to provide a safer landing. Aid climbing is not permitted in Muir Valley without written permission by the Muir Valley organization.


9.  Do not climb above the anchors or top out on any climb in Muir Valley.


10.  Attach quickdraws or carabiners and slings to the anchor system and run your toprope through them, instead of toproping through the anchor hardware affixed to the rock wall. This means: do not run your rope from the belayer up and through the fixed anchor hardware and back down to the climber. This produces unnecessary wear on the anchor hardware and may increase risk to you or climbers who use this hardware subsequent to your use of it.


11.  The choice to either rappel or have your belayer lower you after cleaning the top anchors on a route is yours and should be made on what you believe to be the safest method for the particular route you are on. Rappelling, when it is safe to do so, causes much less wear on the fixed gear than being lowered. The Muir Valley organization encourage climbers to limit wear on fixed gear when possible. Worn anchor hardware is a safety concern in itself, and gear is expensive and time-consuming to replace. The Muir Valley organization does not  mandate rappelling. There is no expectation by the Muir Valley organization for any climber to rappel on steep overhangs, or routes that are assessed by the climber to be overly challenging to clean on rappel.


12. Unintentional falling is part of responsible rock climbing. Rock climbers are expected to be experienced and skilled in the technique of taking falls, and belayers are expected to be experienced and skilled in safely arresting the falls of the climbers they are belaying.


13. No rock climbing routes of any kind may be put up in Muir Valley without the written permission of the Muir Valley organization. Nor, may hardware of any kind be permanently affixed to any rock in Muir Valley without the written permission of this organization.


14. Practice Leave No Trace ethics, and pack out all your trash, especially non-biodegradable trash and toilet paper. Please do not throw cigarette butts on the ground. And, thank you for carrying out trash left by others!


15. Dogs are NOT permitted in MUIR or left in your car at the parking lot!!


16. Hammocks are not permitted to be put up anywhere in Muir Valley.


17. Harvesting of plants or plant specimens is to be done only with the expressed specific permission of the Muir Valley organization.


18. Please do not damage trees and vegetation. Stay on existing trails. The Valley has been recently lightly logged. In time, the land cut by the more severe logging trails will be restored to its natural state. New footpaths may be established only with prior approval of the Muir Valley organization.


19. Absolutely no digging for relics will be permitted in caves or anywhere else in Muir Valley.


20. Please respect our neighbors' property and privacy. Drive slowly on the approach road. Children are often present. Park only on Muir Valley land in areas designated for parking.


21. Illegal drugs and alcoholic beverages are NOT permitted anywhere in Muir Valley!


22.  Muir Valley is open at no admission charge to the public. The Muir Valley organization that owns and manages operation of the Valley, has issued warnings of dangers—known and unknown—that exist there to visitors. These appear above in this web page, at the information at the kiosk at the Muir Valley Shelter House at the main parking lot, and a numerous locations throughout the Valley.

© Copyright 2017 Friends of Muir Valley LLC. All rights reserved.