Hunters Bluff, Kentucky (KY)


Hunters Bluff, Kentucky
20781 Pennyrile Lodge Rd., Dawson Springs, KY 42408
United States
37° 10' 2.1648" N, 87° 41' 33.0252" W

Settled about 5 miles east of the heart of an historic community, scattered with remnants of the Revolutionary War, a quiet 150 foot wall of stories is waiting to be told.  Dawson’s Bluff, also known as Hunter’s Bluff is a small climbing area with routes ranging from 30 feet to 150 feet.  Although small in comparison to other crags, this location boasts some of the most famous cracks in the Midwest and arguably in the United States.   Neighbored by the Keene Wildlife area and loaded with amazing views of protected flora, fauna, and animals, the sandstone rock itself is sure to mesmerize you.  This privately and state owned crag and is still being developed for all types of climbing and bouldering.  As always please be mindful of this and clean up after yourself.

Climbing Routes

  Park Wall- 5.7-5.11 Five routes make up this wall of intensity.

  • Twinkle Toes- 5.10a This route has a few difficult first moves but once you get past those it is a short fun climb. (Sport)
  • Dancing Feet- 5.10a From the naked eye, the small holds on this wall are almost invisible.  Look closely and climb with intelligence and it will be easier than it looks. (Sport)
  • Skeltar- 5.11a The original crack system will lead the way. (Traditional/Sport)
  • Monster Moss- 5.7 Bring out the big guns and get ready to sweat! (Traditional)
  • Drug Helmet- 5.7 A great warm up route with big jugs and nice flakes. (Sport)

Park Wall 2nd Level- 5.7

  • Unnamed- 5.7 Two walls that are separated by a big crack offer a great route for a classic traditional climb.

Flathead Wall- 5.4-5.10b This 30 foot wall gets a lot of traffic and can be jammed up on a clear day.

  • Wombat- 5.4 This is a great area to get used to multi-pitch or solo climbing.  (Traditional)
  • The Great Roof- 5.10b Although it is sometimes climbed sport, most climbers recommend going traditional all the way on this route to avoid any hidden dangers.  Extra bolts have recently been added. (Traditional/Sport)
  • High Step- 5.8 Most of the time this climb is wet! (Sport)
  • Human Rope Test- 5.9 The roof pull at the top is noted as being the best part of this one. (Sport)
  • Stolen Glory- 5.5 A perfect climb for beginners, though the stolen glory is that of the land, because partyers have left so much litter in this area.  Do your part and help clean it up, even if you did not make the mess.
  • Side Step- 5.10b Bring out your circus skills and get ready to walk the tightrope.  This tricky route will test your balance for sure. (Sport)
  • Shut Up and Climb- 5.10a Here is one of the more exciting sport routes in this section, with a very easy traditional section.
  • Old Nasty Fart- 5.10c Try out a top rope on this one to mix it up a bit. 
  • Left Step- 5.10a This traditional route is a common alternative to the High Step, as it proves to be a little more challenging. (Traditional)

Flathead Wall Level 2- 5.3-5.9 A great set of beginners climbs.

  • Unnamed- 5.3 A simple route with big jugs. (Traditional)
  • Dig it the Most- 5.6 Anchor off of the trees and climb the crack.  Quick and easy. (Traditional)
  • Spitting Face- 5.7 The natural drainage provides an aesthetic top rope climb.
  • Face in the Rock- 5.8 It is almost like looking in the mirror as you traverse the edges and pockets of this route. (Top Rope)
  • Hob Knob- 5.9 Sport route with a great one move sloper-crux over a bulge. (Sport)
  • Rambunctious- 5.7 Good face holds and sturdy anchors make this climb a breeze. (Traditional)

Flathead Wall Level 3- 5.3

  • Kentuckian Exposure- 5.3 An easy climb leads out to an awesome view.  Worth the short send. (Traditional)
  • Mid Bluff Cove- 5.8
  • Green Carpet- 5.8 A great climb for the hermit inside you.  Take a break from the crowds and enjoy some alone time with nature. (Sport)

Montana Wall- 5.10-5.12a Three mixed routes provide some beautiful cracks to sink your fingers in to.

  • Classic Tips and Toes- 5.12a An extremely trying route with very small cracks and footholds. (Traditional/Sport)
  • Banana Man- 5.11a Just next to Tips and Toes, this route is just as difficult with a great top out. (Traditional/Sport)
  • Gorilla Crack- 5.10 The traditional part of this climb is more difficult than the top rope. (Traditional/Top Rope)

Northend- 5.13a This location holds the most valuable and anticipated treasure at Hunter’s Bluff.

  • Thurmonuclear’s Crack- 5.13a This phenomenal roof crack named for the first ascender Jim Thurmond, is over 30 feet long. The full route has only been conquered twice, both times by its namesake.  Many others have tried to defeat this beast with no avail.  Will you tempt fate? (Traditional)

Reggae Rock- 5.4-5.10b/V1 An obvious boulder problem is just the opener for this wall of simple and fun routes.

  • Welcome To The Red- V1 A great warm up problem before you make the climbs.
  • Dirty Crotch- 5.4 This route is quite dirty with a nasty crack you have to fight to the top. (Traditional)
  • The Thing- 5.10b This top rope climb is soon to be bolted but for now you will have to anchor it.
  • Hope Daddy Doesn’t See- 5.8 Finish up on a great ledge and take it all in. (Top Rope)
  • The Bushwhacker- 5.9 Sport climbers delight in a small amount of bolts and lots of extra muscle. (Sport)
  • Old Ironside- 5.6 Dirty and fun with great crimpy holds, an excellent learning opportunity can be made easier or more difficult depending on if you stay right or left. (Sport)
  • Marley’s Redemption- 5.10a Send the first bolt and you’ve got it made. (Sport)

Zion Boulder- 5.7-5.11a Right across from Reggae Rock this dynamic boulder cannot be missed.

  • Another Day Another Doral- 5.11a This is an amazing climb that will probably take a couple tries to traverse. (Sport)
  • Back in a Sec- 5.9 You will have to hug the corner on this one or you might disappear for a ‘sec’. (Top Rope)
  • Fire Pit- 5.8 If you keep left you can push this route to a nine. (Sport)
  • Paratrooper- 5.7 Bad bolt placement makes the crux the first bolt.  After that lots of jugs will keep you swinging.  (Sport)
  • Green Monster- 5.9 Challenging footwork will prove to be the deciding factor on this climb. (Sport)

Camp 4 Overhang- 5.7-5.11/A3/A4 Just past the washed out rock gulleys is a great set of hangs.

  • Rated X- 5.7 Another great route for beginners, as well as a warm up. (Sport)
  • Bear Huggin- 5.13a Be prepared to give those huggin’ muscles a work out with long reaches and hard pulls. (Traditional)
  • Noname- A3  A big crack that needs small heads and lots of insecurity. (Aid)
  • The Purple People Eater- A4 A rough climb even for the pro’s.  This one might stump you. (Aid)
  • Why the Fuk Did that Happen- 5.11a Be aware of Sand Rock.  (Traditional/Aid) 

Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park Camping & Cabins Camping
20781 Pennyrile Lodge Rd., Dawson Springs, KY 42408
Phone- 270-797-3421
Rates- $17-$21 per night

Most people camp at Camp 4 overhang.  It supplies a beautiful view plus blocks wind from the East. You can haul your gear up via the belay anchors atop the ledge. You can also camp on top of the main cliff.  

Hotels The Stratton Inn 534 Marion Road Princeton, KY 42445
Phone- 270-365-2828

From Dawson Springs, go 5 miles west on Highway 62 until you pass the sign for Keene Wildlife Area. Just north of the bridge, turn into dirt package area. Hike road 500 yards to base of wall.