Paddling

PADDLING
CANOEING, KAYAKING, & SUP

Laurel County and surrounding areas are in the midst of Kentucky’s best paddling area. Our canoeing and kayaking opportunities range from quiet flat-water streams, rivers and lakes to some of Kentucky’s best Class III and IV white-water.

Sitting between Trail Towns of Livington and Sterns, London-Laurel county also shares the ranks of certified Kentucky Trail Town.  Home to the trio of waterways Rockcastle River, Laurel River Lake, and Wood Creek Lake, you will find ample opportunities to escape on the water to enjoy canoeing, kayaking, and Stand Up Paddle boarding.

Laurel River
Lake

Flat Water
Laurel river lake paddleing
Laurel River Lake

 

With towering sandstone bluffs rising out of crystal-clear water, and old-growth hardwood forests shading secluded coves, Laurel River Lake is a paddler’s dream. Tts convenience and breathtakingly beautiful scenery, it’s easy to find tranquil, remote, spots for a lovely picnic or quiet introspection. There are several boat-in campsites with drinking water and other amenities, as well as primitive sites if solitude is the goal. The lake allows pontoon boats, as well as motorboats, so waterskiers and tubers can get in on the action.

 

Laurel River
Below Dam 

Class III and IV
laurel river below dam
Laurel River Below Dam

 

Spectacular scenery, great rapids but tough to catch in its entirety at runnable levels characterizes this 2 mile section of the Laurel River. Releases can provide about 2 miles of fun rapids in very cold water. Even at the height of the summer, paddlers will want to take along their cold weather boating gear since the release water flows from the bottom of Laurel Lake. Only available when water is relseasedd from the dam.

Holly Bay
Marina

Kayak Rental
Holly Bay Marina (1)
Holly Bay Marina

 

Holly Bay Marina on Laurel Lake  has plenty of fishing, boating, and recreation for your enjoyment. The marina offers Houseboat Rentals, Pontoon Rentals, Kayak Rentals, Fishing Boat Rentals, Boat Slip Rentals, Grocery / Deli, Full Service Marina, Camping / Fishing / Boating Supplies, Fully Equipped Campground, Year-Round / 24 Hour Security, Six-Boat Gas Dock, Safe Convenient Parking. Holly Bay Marina is handicapped accessible.

Wood Creek
Lake

Flat Water
wood creek lake
Holly Bay Marina

 

Situated along 1-75 in Laurel County, Wood Creek Lake is a lake that is widely over looked. Wood Creek Lake is a 672-acre reservoir in Laurel County, Kentucky. Created by impounding Wood Creek in 1969, the lake is in the middle of Daniel Boone National Forest. Wood Creek Lake Dam is a rock-fill dam, 163 feet high and 800 feet long at its crest, with a maximum capacity of 29,101 acre feet.

Rockcastle River
Upper

Class I-II
rockcastle kayake to bridge
Upper Rockcastle River

This section of river is rated as Class I+. Put in is at the Wilderness Road Ford just south of Livingston on U.S. 25. The put in is on private land. Please respect the rights of landowners. The take out is just beyond I-75, on the right side of the river, 6 miles downstream. This take out is also on private land. The trip takes between 1 and 3 hours depending on the water level and the paddler’s ability.

Rockcastle River
Lower

Class II-IV
the narrows
Lower Rockcastle River

The Rockcastle River got its name from the majestic cliffs that tower above the river. The “Rockcastle Narrows” is a precipitous gorge bounded by 100-foot cliffs. The river flows through portions of Jackson, Rockcastle, Laurel and Pulaski counties. The 15.9-mile segment from KY 1956 (old Highway 80) bridge to the backwaters of Lake Cumberland is designated a Kentucky Wild River.

 

Rockcastle Outdoor
Company

Tours and SUP Rental
ROC
Rockcastle Outdoor Company 

 

Rockcastle Outdoor Company located in Livingston, Kentucky offers guided and unguided SUP tours on the Rockcastle River.

Rockcastle
Adventures

Shuttle and Rental
Rockcastle Adventures
Rockcastle Adventures

Discover Rockcastle Adventures, ready to serve you! Need to rent kayaks for your group? Or maybe you have kayaks but just need a lift for a shuttle service? Call to schedule your personal adventure.

 

Cumberland River
3 Mile Cumberland

Half Day Trip
paddle2

A relaxing section of the Cumberland River, you meander down the river following behind the great Blue Herons that call the riverbank their home. Slip along the shoreline for a shaded trip, or out in the open for a sunnier voyage.

• About 1.0 – 1.5 hours on-water time
• Afternoon trips
• No experience required
• Appropriate for all ages (some small shoals)

Cumberland River
5 Mile Ballard Ford

Half Day Trip
all day trips
5 Mile Ballard Ford

A relaxing section of the Cumberland River, you meander down the river following behind the great Blue Herons that call the riverbank their home. Slip along the shoreline for a shaded trip, or out in the open for a sunnier voyage.

• About 2.0 – 2.5 hours on-water time
• Afternoon trips
• No experience required
• Appropriate for all ages (some small shoals)

 

Cumberland River
5 Mile Above Falls

Half Day Trip
3 mile cumberland
5 Mile Upper Cumberland

This is the section of river above Cumberland Falls itself. It has moving water the whole way and is mostly Class I, with 2 rapids that are borderline Class II. The take-out is 1/4 mile above Cumberland Falls, a 68-foot waterfall. Don’t miss the take-out – the last drop is a doozy! Availability dependent on water levels.

• About 2 – 2.5 hours on-water time
• Afternoon trips
• Class I-II; age restrictions vary depending on water levels

 

Cumberland River
11-Mile Upper

All Day Trip
upper 11 (1)
11 Mile Upper

A narrow section of the Cumberland River, you paddle down the river nestled into the riverbank. Trees line the bank overhanging into the river, providing alternating sunny and shady spots. Shallow shoals alternate with deep pools, providing places to swim and cool off. The trip puts in at Williamsburg and takes out at Redbird Boat Ramp.

• About 4-5 hours on-water time
• Morning trip (meets at 10:30am)
• No experience required

Cumberland River
8.5 Mile Croley Bend

All Day Trip
upper 11 (2)
8.5 Croley Bend

A narrow section of the Cumberland River, you paddle down the river nestled into the riverbank. Trees line the bank overhanging into the river, providing alternating sunny and shady spots. Shallow shoals alternate with deep pools, providing places to swim and cool off. The trip puts in at Croley Bend and takes out at Redbird Boat Ramp.

• About 4-4.5 hours on-water time
• Morning trip (meets at 10:30am)
• No experience required

17- Mile Upper
Cumberland River

All Day Trip
upper 11 (3)
17 Mile Upper

This 17-mile trip runs through farm and woodlands with the occasional house for the first 5 miles before entering into the Daniel Boone National Forest. This section of the Cumberland is a wide river with rolling hills, affording excellent birding opportunities. Availability dependent on water levels. The put-in for this section is at Redbird Boat Ramp and the take-out is at Cumberland Falls State Resort Park.

• About 6-7 hours on-water time
• Morning trip (meets at 10am)
• Some experience recommended.

12 Mile Big South
Fork River

All Day Trip
upper 11 (6)
Blue Heron to Alum

This 12.2 mile trip is a combination of 2 half-day trips: Blue Heron to Yamacraw and the Yamacraw to Alum Ford. It is characterized by large boulders and high cliff lines. Early in the season, Lake Cumberland covers most of this section of river, so the section is mostly deep flatwater. Later in the season, as the lake drops, rapids alternate with deep pools, providing plenty of places to fish, explore and swim. When the lake is down, there are several borderline Class II rapids, with one (Duck Rock) that is a Class II rapid.

• About 5-6 hours on-water time
• Morning trip (meets at 8am)
• No experience needed for early season. Some experience needed for later in the season.
• Recommended age for early season levels: all ages
Recommended age for late season: ages 8 and up.

 

50 Mile
Big South Fork River

Multi Day Trip
upper 11 (7)
50 Mile Trip

Any of the various sections of the Big South Fork can be combined to reach the length of trip that you would like. Running all the sections from Leatherwood Ford down to Hwy 927 gives you a 51.4 mile trip. This option is very popular with Boy Scout troops looking to get their 50-miler badge. Most people will take 4-5 days to do the 50-miler. Due to experience level requirements, this trip cannot be booked directly on-line.  

• Combine all the section of the BSF for a total mileage of 51.4 miles
• Morning trip (meets at 7am)
• Class II experience required
• 2 mandatory portages (Angel Falls and Devil’s Jump)
• Recommended age for most water levels: 12 and up

28-Mile Upper
Cumberland River

Multi Day Trip
big south
28 Mile Upper

This 28-mile trip starts in the sleepy college town of Williamsburg, KY and runs through farm and woodlands with the occasional house for the first 16 miles before entering into the Daniel Boone National Forest. The upper section is narrow with Trees line the bank overhanging into the river, providing alternating sunny and shady spots. The river then widens out providing views of the rolling hills and affording excellent birding opportunities. Availability dependent on water levels. The take-out is at Cumberland Falls State Resort Park.

• About 10-12 hours on-water time
• Morning trip (meets at 10am)
• Some experience recommended

24 Mile Blue Heron
to Hwy 927

Multi Day Trip
big south (1)
24 Mile Trip

This 24-mile trip combines the sections of Blue Heron to Yamacraw, Yamacraw to Alum Ford and Alum Ford to Hwy 927 for a 2-day trip. runs through the heart of the Big South Fork National Park. It is charaterized by large boulders and high cliff lines. Rapids alternate with deep pools, providing plenty of places to fish,explore and swim. There can be several borderline Class II rapids, with one (Duck Rock) that is a Class II rapid, which shows once the lake level drops later in the season. The latter part of the trip becomes mostly a flatwater section as you paddle into Lake Cumberland. Depending on the lake level, this section can have anywhere from 5-22 miles with no current.

• Usually done as an 2-day trip, but can be stretched into a 3-day
• Morning trip (meets at 7am)
• Some experience recommended
• Recommended age for most water levels: 8 and up

27 Mile
Leatherwood Ford 

Multi Day Trip
big south (2)
27-Mile Trip

This 27-mile trip runs through the heart of the Big South Fork National Park. It is extremely remote with a number of Class II rapids. It is appropriate for experienced paddlers. Characterized by huge boulders, high clifflines and numerous islands, this is an absolutely gorgeous section of river, but not one to be taken lightly. A damage deposit is required on this section of river. Due to experience level requirements, this trip cannot be booked directly on-line.  

 

• Usually done as an easy 3-day or long 2-day trip
• Morning trip (meets at 10am)
• Class II experience required
• 2 mandatory portages (Angel Falls and Devil’s Jump)
• Recommended age: 12 and up

19 Mile
Station Camp 

Multi Day Trip
big south (3)
19- Mile Trip

This 19-mile trip runs through the heart of the Big South Fork National Park. It is extremely remote with a number of Class II rapids. It is appropriate for experienced paddlers. Characterized by huge boulders, high cliff lines and numerous islands, this is an absolutely gorgeous section of river, but not one to be taken lightly. Putting in at Station Camp rather than Leatherwood Ford allows paddlers to skip one mandatory portage around Angel Falls and also avoid the long pool above Station Camp. A damage deposit is required on this section of river. Due to experience level requirements, this trip cannot be booked directly on-line.  

 

• Usually done as an 2-day trip, but can be stretched into a 3-day
• Morning trip (meets at 10am)
• Class II experience required
• 1 mandatory portages (Devil’s Jump)
• Recommended age: 12 and up

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