No matter how you do it, getting out on the water is an essential part of summers in Kentucky. There are more miles of water to paddle here than any other state in the lower 48. It doesn't matter your level of experience on the water, either. There are water trails suitable for all variety of paddlers, from beginners to advanced experts. There are also numerous guides and adventure companies just waiting to take you on an extraordinary adventure. If you're looking for a simple place to start, look through the popular Blue Water Trails
. These are some of the best in the state. Otherwise, for just a hint of what your next adventure could look like, here are our favorite places to paddle around Kentucky.
- The Parklands of Floyd Fork includes 4 parks in the Louisville area: Beckley, Pope Lick, Turkey Run & Broad Run. At the center of it all is Floyd's Fork, a great place for paddling. Floyds Fork meanders for 19 miles through the Parklands, and also connects up to a variety of other wonderful recreational opportunities in this Urban paradise.
- Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park is also a great place for a little paddle on the lake. Rentals are available here.
- One of the most popular paddle destinations in Kentucky is the Red River. It's actually the only National Wild and Scenic River that lies completely within the state of Kentucky, and stretches for 97 beautiful miles. Some of the best paddling is the 20 mile stretch from the KY 746 bridge to the mouth of Schoolhouse Branch. If you're looking for a little challenge, there are some Class III+ rapids in the upper portion of the river.
- Travel from Livingston to the beautiful waters of Lake Cumberland along the RockCastle River. You'll find everything here from easy family-friendly floats, to some of the most technical whitewater runs in Kentucky.
- For a seriously adventurous paddle, head to the Russel Fork. There's a 6.5 mile stretch that will test your skills, with class V+ paddling in some sections, and others with class I-III rapids.
- Another ambitious paddle is the Big South Fork of the Cumberland River. It's designated a Kentucky Wild River for a reason, with its Class III & Class IV rapids. It also happens to be one of the most popular paddling destinations in the state.
- Take a guided canoe trip at Carter Caves State Resort Park.
- Paddle in and enjoy the incredible views under Cumberland Falls.
- Float through the serene waters of Dale Hollow Lake State Resort Park.
- Enjoy paddling around the Mammoth Cave Area on the picturesque Green River area.
- Finally, head out onto Kentucky or Barkley Lakes in the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area for an unforgettable journey through one of Kentucky's most beautiful natural areas.
There's no doubt that outfitters and guides are recommended on some of the bigger rivers and rapids. Waters in Kentucky can be swift and deceptive. Look for reputable guides wherever your paddling adventure may take you. Your lodging host will have great recommendations. Other than that, buckle up for some fun on the rivers and lakes of Kentucky this summer! Find
a room at the best Bed and Breakfasts in all of Kentucky so you can start planning that exhilarating adventure today.